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Dakar Rally: Solid performance for SA's Toyota Gazoo on stage 2

Teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz was fourth-fastest, and are currently in fourth place.

Teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz was fourth-fastest, and are currently in fourth place in the overall standings, 02:05 behind new rally leader Sebastien Loeb. Picture: Toyota.

SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMÁN, ARGENTINA – Stage 2 of Dakar 2017 saw Toyota Gazoo Racing SA bank another good performance, with Nasser Al-Attiyah and navigator Mathieu Baumel posting the second-fastest time of the day.

Teammates Giniel de Villiers and navigator Dirk von Zitzewitz were fourth-fastest and are currently in fourth place in the overall standings, 02:05 behind new rally leader Sebastien Loeb.

The 275km-long stage was preceded by a liaison of 444km, taking the crews from the Argentine town of Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucuman. The stage itself offered a mix of surfaces, and took place at only 200m above sea level.

Al-Attiyah/Baumel, who won Stage 1 of Dakar 2017 on Monday, pushed throughout the stage, but saw their overall rally lead slip into the hands of Peugeot rival Loeb.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing SA crew is only 28 seconds behind the new rally leader, despite the Frenchman winning Tuesday’s stage by 01:23.

Al-Attiyah/Baumel’s race vehicle suffered a small engine fire at the end of Stage 1, which was reason for concern as much as their opening stage victory was reason for celebration.

De Villiers/Von Zitzewitz felt confident after recording the fifth-fastest time on Stage 1. This gave them a good road position for Stage 2, and the pair were happy to record the fourth-fastest time of the day.

Next up is the climb to altitude, as Stage 3 takes the crews from the bivouac at San Miguel de Tucumán up to San Salvador de Jujuy, with the altitude peaking at 5,000m near the end of the stage. The total stage distance for the day is 512km including a special stage of 416km. The stage brings the first high altitude dunes, which will equally challenge both the drivers and the navigators.

This will be the final stage in Argentina, before the Dakar crosses the border into Bolivia for five more days of high altitude racing, as well as the rest day at La Paz.

For more on Dakar Rally 2017, click here

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