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The discovery of slowness: Al-Rajhi/Gottschalk with a strategic start at the “Dakar”

5. January 2024

Further contributions

  • Looking at the starting position: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk finish 41st with a deliberately cautious and calculated drive.
  • Real start to the Dakar Rally on Saturday – with the first tricky and rocky stage from Al-‘Ula to Al Henakiyah
  • Prologue: 27 kilometers against the clock, northwest of Al-‘Ula – on sand, through gorges and between rocks

Al-‘Ula, Saudi Arabia (January 5, 2024) – Stop once, take a deep breath – all with sights set to a good starting position: Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk deliberately slowed down on the Dakar Rally prologue. Although the time of the prologue does not count towards the overall standings, the result was still important. The top ten duos were allowed to choose their starting position for the first stage. The aim was not to finish in the top ten in order to have a good starting position for the first stage. A lot of stones are expected – especially on the final kilometers. The more competitors who have passed these passages before, the clearer the line. The Saudi-Arabian-Brandenburg duo finished 41st in the prologue classification with their tactics.

The prologue led northwest of Al’Ula between rocks and through a number of canyons – here the co-drivers were particularly in demand, as navigation errors were inevitable.


“We have created a good starting position for tomorrow, that was the goal. But there could have been a few less teams waiting to overtake. But it was difficult to estimate how much we had to slow down to avoid finishing in the top ten. Nevertheless, the grid position could help us enormously tomorrow.”


“We deliberately slowed down today and even stopped once. We certainly didn’t want to finish in the top ten, but perhaps we overdid it a bit – it was also difficult to estimate in advance. The time doesn’t count towards the overall standings and now we have a few teams ahead of us. That can be good, because the first stage has a long stretch of rocky passages at the end.”



… a large portion of “multi-culturalism”. The Overdrive Racing team, which fields the Toyota Hilux DKR for Yazeed Al-Rajhi and Timo Gottschalk, has 107 team members – from 21 different nations.

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