Toyota Gazoo Racing completed the inaugural FIA World Rally-Raid Championship (officially abbreviated to W2RC) by delivering a dominant performance in every category: for drivers, co-drivers and as a manufacturer.
The title treble was secured when Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel (below) brought home their GR DKR Hilux T1+ in second place on the final round in Spain. It was a result that ensured a clean sweep of all available titles and a fitting conclusion to a year that began with victory in the Dakar Rally.
In a testament to its toughness, the racing Hilux only suffered one mechanical issue throughout the gruelling season, and that was the result of an extremely hard and unlucky landing. Other than that, the team’s progress was only hampered by punctures.
Matt Harrison, president of Toyota Motor Europe, commented: “The challenges of W2RC have given us insights into the toughest conditions imaginable, allowing us to build ever-better cars for the people who prefer to take the road less travelled. Winning the inaugural championship demonstrated that we are on the right track.
“I’d like to extend my gratitude to Nasser and Mathieu, and to every member of the TGR W2RC team, for the personal contributions made in the development of the GR DKR Hilux T1+ at every test and rally. Despite facing many challenges and setbacks, your dedication ensured that Toyota Gazoo Racing became the first World Rally-Raid Champion.”
A brief recap of the 2022 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship
The inaugural W2RC featured four tough rounds on three different continents. The total timed distance for all rounds came to nearly 5,000 miles, thoroughly testing both team and machine across terrain ranging from rocky tracks, mud and sand to endless dunes.
|ROUND 1||Dakar Rally
1-14 January 2022
|Al-Attiyah and Baumel got their campaign off to an excellent start, winning three stages and recording five further podium finishes. This gained them 35 stage points, plus 50 points for their overall victory in the world’s toughest automotive event|
|ROUND 2||Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
5-10 March 2022
|Here the crew suffered a hard landing that damaged the Hilux suspension and forced retirement from the opening stage. A resulting 20-hour penalty meant that victory was out of reach, but the crew fought back, winning each of the remaining stages to secure 20 stage points and six points for an 11th place finish|
|ROUND 3||Rally of Morocco
1-6 October 2022
|Multiple punctures put paid to the crew’s hopes for victory in Morocco. Al-Attiyah and Baumel continued to push despite the setbacks, resulting in 13 stage points and 20 points for third position overall. By this point of the season, the TGR crew had overtaken their nearest rivals, who had been holding a slender lead in the championship standings|
|ROUND 4||Andalucia Rally
18-23 October 2022
|On the final round of the season, the weather became a key factor. Despite the conditions, Al-Attiyah and Baumel brought their Hilux home in first place on the final stage, sealing second place in the overall standings and securing enough points to claim the inaugural W2RC title|
2022 FIA World Rally-Raid Championship final standings:
|1||Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT)||Toyota Gazoo Racing||GR DKR Hilux T1+||169 points|
|2||Sebastien Loeb (F)||Bahrain Raid Xtreme||Hunter||149|
|3||Yazeed Al-Rajhi (SAU)||Overdrive Racing||Hilux||121|
|4||Jakub Przygonski (PL)||X-Raid MINI JCW Team||MINI||77|
|5||Francisco Lopez (CHL)||South Racing Can-Am||Can-Am||71|
|1||Mathieu Baumel (F)||Toyota Gazoo Racing||GR DKR Hilux T1+||169 points|
|2||Fabian Lurquin (F)||Bahrain Raid Xtreme||Hunter||149|
|3||Dirk von Zitzewitz (D)||Overdrive Racing||Hilux||121|
|4||Timo Gottschalk (D)||X-Raid MINI JCW Team||MINI||77|
|5||Alex Haro Bravo (E)||South Racing Can-Am||Can-Am||71|
|1||Toyota Gazoo Racing||GR DKR Hilux T1+||163 points|
|2||Bahrain Raid Xtreme||Hunter||135|
|3||OT3 by Overdrive||OT3||102|
|4||X-Raid MINI JCW Team||MINI||92|
Looking ahead to the 2023 championship
The team is now turning its attention to the 2023 Dakar Rally in January 2023, with a final shakedown test scheduled for December in Namibia. The engineers are busy creating solutions to the lessons learned from this season’s stages, together with data captured from the Hilux’s participation in the South African Rally-Raid Championship.