Toyota Gazoo Racing will field two new lineups for next year’s Dakar Rally, with American Seth Quintero set to make his World Rally Raid Championship top-flight debut.
The recently crowned T3 Lightweight Prototype W2RC champion will team up with Brazilian Lucas Moraes, one of the breakthrough performances on the 2023 Dakar, taking a podium in a privately entered Toyota Hilux by Overdrive Racing.
Quintero will continue his established partnership with navigator Dennis Zenz, while double Rally dos Sertoes winner Moraes will sit alongside former biker Armand Monleón for the marathon event which takes place between January 5-19.
The pair will make their debuts with TGR in this weekend’s Dubai International Baja.
“Looking back over our W2RC and Dakar journeys, which started with our commitment to enter the inaugural W2RC season, I can’t help but be extremely proud,” said Andrea Carlucci, Vice President, Toyota Motor Europe.
“We started with a two-year commitment with a single entry and could never have imagined the results we attained.
“Thanks to our GR DKR Hilux T1+, which proved highly reliable and robust; together with the skill and experience of Nasser and Mathieu, we attained a perfect set of results over the first two seasons of the W2RC: Manufacturer’s, Driver’s and Co-Driver’s titles in both seasons.
“Now, we are in a position to confirm TGR’s continued commitment to the FIA’s W2RC, starting with the Dakar Rally 2024.
“Furthermore, we are working towards the goals as set out by the Dakar Future 2026 project, but more than that, we will be stepping up our engagement by adding two new crews to the team.”
Toyota had been looking to fill the void left by five-time Dakar winner and double W2RC champions Nasser Al-Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, who left to join the Prodrive-run Bahrain Raid Xtreme operation.
A TGR spokesperson told DirtFish following Al-Attiyah’s departure that the team was concentrating on attracting up-and-coming drivers, which the announcement of Quintero and Moraes appears to confirm.
In Quintero, Toyota now has a prolific talent making the logical step up the ladder to the T1+ category. The Californian became the youngest driver to win a Dakar stage in 2021 and set the record for total stage wins in a single edition in 2022, taking 10 of the 12 scratch times.
For Moraes, the standout performer of the 2023 edition behind Al-Attiyah and Sébastien Loeb, it has been a rapid ascent to the top table, having spent the majority of his time racing in the Brazilian rally raid championship, which he won three times.
Having previously run with the Belgian outfit Overdrive Racing at the Rallye du Maroc in 2022 before his Dakar debut, Moraes gained promotion to the main team, forming a balanced line-up with Quintero.
No word has been given yet on the remainder of the TGR lineup for the Dakar Rally and the subsequent W2RC season, but it is expected before the end of the month.
Henk Lategan and Giniel de Villiers were Toyota’s other drivers alongside Al-Attiyah this season.