It was a day of consolidation for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Nasser al Attiyah and co-driver Mathieu Baumel. The Qatari and his French navigator posted the second-fastest time of the day, trailing Stage 3 winner, Carlos Sainz (MINI) by just 3min 31sec.
However, Al Attiyah/Baumel’s performance was tempered by a penalty that was awarded post-stage, due to an infringement at one of the speed control zones in the stage. This has seen the crew drop down to 5thon the stage, but they are still second in the overall standings – 7min 55sec behind Sainz.
The pair drove their South African-built Toyota Hilux through the spectacular scenery of the 427 km-long special stage, which started and ended at the future city of Neom on the Red Sea coast, suffering only a single puncture on the day.
The stage was opened by Giniel de Villiers and his Spanish co-driver, Alex Haro, who won Stage 2. Picking their way through the rock-strewn landscape was tricky, and the pair were forced to adopt a slower pace. They managed to clear the stage without any punctures, but dropped 16min 21sec on the day. This leaves the South African motorsport legend in 7thplace in the overall standings, with plenty of racing to come.
Dutch driver Bernhard ten Brinke, together with his Belgian co-driver, Tom Colsoul, were hamstrung by their starting position on Stage 3. They started as the 15thcar into the stage, after a poor result on Stage 2. This put them amongst some slower competitors, losing time in the dust. They also suffered two flats, but managed to restrict their time loss for the day to 16min 43sec. As things stand, the pair are in 8thplace in the overall standings, and are upbeat about their chances going forward.
Fernando Alonso and Marc Coma had a spectacular day. The Spanish duo went 4th-fastest on Stage 3, and even though they remain well out of contention in the overall standings, the former F1 champion was excited by a good day in the Toyota Hilux.
“Overall, it was a really solid day for the team,” said TOYOTA GAZOO Racing Team Principal, Glyn Hall, from the bivouac at Neom.
“Nasser and Mathieu are in the perfect position, and we are really happy with Fernando and Marc’s performance. Giniel and Bernard both did well, despite facing some challenges on the day.”
Stage 4 is up next, and will see the crews travel from Neom to the city of Al Ula, via a stage of 672 km. This includes a special stage of 453 km, which will be run on a mix of sandy tracks and rocky traverses. The race is scheduled to finish in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Friday, 17 January.
2020 Dakar Rally Day 3 Results:
4th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +6min 14sec
5th No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +6min 31sec
9th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +16min 21sec
10th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +16min 43sec
2020 Dakar Rally Overall Results After Day 3:
2nd No. 300 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Mathieu Baumel, +7min 55sec
7th No. 304 Giniel de Villiers/Alex Haro, +23min 42sec
8th No. 307 Bernhard ten Brinke/Tom Colsoul, +33min 23sec
30th No. 310 Fernando Alonso/Marc Coma, +2hrs 40min 24sec