The three-time Dakar winner lost eight minutes to his direct rival in the overall standings, the French Sebastien Loeb, having completed most of the eighth stage with only the front-wheel drive of his Toyota, but also suffered a puncture in the start of the special.
The Qatari driver, who finished 11th, explained that his Toyota’s rear differential was overheating, and that this forced him to switch to front-wheel drive, with fears that a more serious mechanical problem would cause him. could force the withdrawal.
“We only had front-wheel drive, because we had a problem with the rear, so I was very scared throughout the stage,” said Al-Attiyah.
“The last 50km I tried to push a little bit, but it wasn’t easy with the front wheel drive alone, even if it went well. I’m lucky to still be here and have only lost a few minutes on Seb.”
During the stage, Al-Attiyah realized that the rear differential broke and feared that there could be further damage, as he could smell oil inside the cockpit.
The Dakar leader is confident that the damaged part can be located and replaced overnight, but is also eager to investigate the problem as Toyota installed new parts to the rear differential before stage seven.
“We did a good job from the start, now we have some problems, but I think we have to sit down with the team and understand why it happened,” he said.
“It’s a new rear differential, we’ve only been using it since yesterday, so I think there was something wrong with the assembly, but we’ll see what the mechanics say.”
“Losing seven minutes is nothing, because I could only drive in third and fourth, going very slowly on the dunes. We didn’t push because there was a lot of noise and the smell of oil. So I’m really happy that I managed to finish without losing too much. weather”.
# 201 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota: Nasser Al-Attiyah
Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool
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