Toyota HiLux has scored its second Dakar rally stage victory in as many days with two-time champion Nasser Al Attiyah taking the honours overnight.
Al Attiyah won the 12th stage by 2 minutes 3 seconds after 523km of competitive driving over sand, fast tracks and rocky terrain between Chilecito and San Juan in Argentina.
It was the Qatari driver’s third stage victory this year, adding to his successes last week in the first and third stages, and his 30th win in 14 Dakar rallies.
Al Attiyah’s front-running pace was closely matched by his Toyota GAZOO Racing SA teammates, Giniel de Villiers in third place and Bernhard Ten Brinke in fifth.
Ten Brinke, who was victorious the previous day, opened the stage and led by 1 minute 30 seconds at the 90km mid-stage road section, before Al Attiyah powered to the lead.
The Toyota GAZOO SA HiLux team maintains a stranglehold on the top three placings in the 4×4 class for naturally aspirated petrol vehicles.
Al Attiyah heads the all-Toyota battle for the final position on the 2018 Dakar podium.
He has built a gap of more than 11 minutes to Dutchman Ten Brinke and a further nine minutes to South African de Villiers, who won the 2009 event.
A privately entered HiLux driven by Peter van Merksteijn is ninth outright, giving Toyota four vehicles in the top 10 positions of the world’s toughest motorsport event.
Dakar 2018, which covers more than 4,500km of competition through Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, ends this weekend in Cordoba, Argentina.