NASSER AL ATTIYAHDakar
The world of cross-country racing has been dominated by Al Attiyah for the last four years, as the Qatari star won the FIA’s Cross-Country World Cup in 2015, 2016 and 2017 – the last two behind the wheel of a South African Toyota Hilux. He has won the Dakar Rally three times, most recently in 2019 (Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa), and has also competed in the World Rally Championship, Complete World Touring Car Championship and a multitude of other global race series. The affable racer is also an accomplished Skeet Shooter, and won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He won the Rally of Morocco for a record fifth consecutive time in 2018.
French navigator Mathieu Baumel has partnered with Al Attiyah on many occasions, and have notched up three FIA Cross-Country World Cup titles with the Qatari superstar. Baumel, who hails from Manosque in France’s Luberon region, specializes in cross-country racing as well as rallying, and recorded his first title in the Dakar Challenge of 2005. Since then, the approachable Frenchman has notched up six championships in a variety of disciplines, including the 2015 and 2019 Dakar Rallies, WRC2 class of the World Rally Championship and the FIA World Cup.
GINIEL DE VILLIERSDakar
De Villiers has become a household name in many parts of the world, thanks mainly to his victory in the 2009 Dakar Rally. However, the quiet Stellenbosch racer has also notched up numerous championships in a wide variety of racing disciplines, including the 2017 and 2018 South African Cross-Country Series titles. De Villiers has raced in 15 Dakars to date, and only finished outside the Top Ten on one occasion (2007, due to an engine fire). He has recorded eight podium finishes on the Dakar Rally, five of those behind the wheel of a South African Toyota Hilux. He has also won the Rally of Morocco four times, most recently in 2019.
Alex Haro is firmly entrenched as one of the top cross-country navigators in the world. The diminutive Spaniard has racked up numerous accolades in the sport, most notably a second place finish at Dakar 2019, alongside Nani Roma in an X-Raid MINI. He teamed up with Giniel de Villiers later in 2019, making the switch from MINI to Toyota Gazoo Racing SA. The pair’s first international outing together was the 2019 Rally of Morocco, which they won.
GLYN HALLTeam principal
Glyn Hall’s motorsport career started in the United Kingdom after he joined Chrysler UK as a student apprentice in 1975. He progressed through many departments in the company during his training, but it was the...
Glyn Hall’s motorsport career started in the United Kingdom after he joined Chrysler UK as a student apprentice in 1975. He progressed through many departments in the company during his training, but it was the competitions department that captured his imagination the most. He joined the competitions department on completion of his training and enjoyed what he describes as “three great years”. This period enabled him to meet many influential people in his life such as Tony Pond, Henri Toivonen and Jean Todt, to name but a few, as well as to be involved in the prototype Lotus Sunbeam rally car. Hall blossomed in South Africa, a country the quiet Briton adopted in 1980 when he came here as a 22-year-old to work for Geoff Mortimer Motorsport. Tony Pond was driving for Mortimer at the time, in addition to his European commitments. Today, Hall can look back on a distinguished contribution to the history of motorsport in South Africa and a career full of achievements, which have placed him at the very forefront of motorsport management in this country. His achievements have been recognised by the Guild of Motoring Journalists (in 1999, 2007 and 2012) with the Colin Watling Award for outstanding contribution to motorsport by a non-competitor. In 2012, four Toyota Hilux pickups designed and built by Hallspeed made history when they competed for the first time in the Dakar. Two were entered by the Imperial Toyota South Africa Team supported by Duxbury Netgear and the Innovation Group and crewed by 2009 Dakar winners Giniel de Villiers and German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz as well as Duncan Vos and Rob Howie. One was in the hands of Argentine privateer Lucio Alvarez and the other was run by top Belgian Dakar team Overdrive for Argentine. Since their first foray in the Dakar Rally, Hall’s team has evolved into Toyota Gazoo Racing South Africa, and recently to TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, forming part of the Toyota Motor Corporation’s international racing division. The crowning glory for the team came in 2019, when Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel won the Dakar Rally, behind the wheel of a South African-built Toyota Hilux.
Lategan, born on the 5th of May in Vanderbijl Park, has always been surrounded by motorsport. His father, Heinrich, raced in the national cross-country championship as well as fielding a touring car on the circuit. He also campaigned a Peugeot in the South African National Rally Championship before hanging up his helmet - or rather, passing it on to Henk. The younger Lategan started his own racing career at the RallyStar facility near Bapsfontein in Gauteng, where he competed in a rally sprint as his first ever race. This was behind the wheel of a 1300 Toyota Tazz - the same car that he learnt to drive in! By 2010 Lategan had progressed to the South African National Rally Championship, where he campaigned a Volkswagen Polo. In 2011 he graduated to the fearsome Class S2000 of the championship, before joining the factory Volkswagen team as a works driver in 2012. During this period he also took part in a number of International rallies, including two rounds of the World Rally Championship. His results were good, but Volkswagen suspended their rally programme at the end of 2015, and so Lategan took a sabbatical in 2016. He changed tack for the 2017 season, joining the factory Ford team as a works driver in the South African Cross-Country Series. 2018 brought another change, as Lategan joined Toyota Gazoo Racing SA, winning the 2019 and 2020 SACCS titles.
Cummings started racing 1999, at the age of 16. It wasn’t all plain sailing, as he suffered a fractured ankle after another competitor rode into him, but things improved markedly from there. After racing locally, Cummings started competing on the global stage, with his first international event being the Australasian Safari in 2012. He finished 4thoverall and won the Dakar Challenge. This set him up perfectly for his first assault on the Dakar Rally in 2013, though he also took part in the Merzouga Rally in Morocco, in order to learn the Dakar navigation system before the race. In 2014 he became the first South African to enter and finish the fearsome Malle Moto category for unsupported bikers, finishing second in class. More international races followed, as well as a stint in a cross-country Toyota Hilux beside Thomas Rundle; and a shift in focus to fitness came next. Now it is time for the next chapter in Cummings’ racing career, and the hot seat in a Dakar-winning Toyota Gazoo Racing SA Hilux fits the bill perfectly.
Shameer Variawa was born in Johannesburg, but spent his early years in neighbouring Botswana. He cut his teeth in the sport of cross-country racing while navigating for his father, but quickly graduated to the driver’s seat. His first outing behind the wheel was at the Klerksdorp 250 regional race, which he won outright on his first attempt, at the age of 18. His crowning achievement to date was winning the Toyota 1000 Desert Race three consecutive times, in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Variawa also competed in Dakar 2019, and joined Toyota Gazoo Racing SA as part of the factory squad later the same year. With sights set firmly on Dakar results, Variawa is a man on a mission. Joining the team who won the 2019 Dakar Rally certainly places him on a path full of potential, and he is looking forward to taking on the new edition of the world’s toughest race in 2020. Variawa is certainly someone to take seriously: He has won the national championship for Special Vehicles; and claimed victory in scores of events. Variawa is very much a family man, and credits his father with teaching him all he knows in terms of motorsport.
Murphy is a self-confessed motorcycle enthusiast, who combines a love of off- road and enduro motorcycle racing with co-driving in cross country car racing. He has been competing on two wheels since he was 15, back in 1989 and is still active in enduro racing, riding his eighth Roof of Africa Rally in 2013. A former Mini Roof of Africa winner, he is a KTM man – “Once you’ve gone orange, you never go back” – and, like most off-road riders, he has always prepared his own bikes. A motor mechanic by trade, he has gained invaluable experience in preparing race machines and has worked with top off-road car racers like Gary Bertholdt and his late brother Bevan. He made his co-driving debut alongside Richard Fuller in a Class P BAT special in 2012 and the pair won their class twice, including on the marathon Toyota 1000 Desert Race, on their way to second in the class championship. In his first season as a co-driver in the production vehicle category of the national cross country championship, he navigated Anthony Taylor to his first cross country championship title after a dominant season in which they and their Castrol Team Toyota Hilux won four of the eight rounds, including the Toyota Desert Race in Botswana. The pair followed up with a second overall title in the 2014 Donaldson Cross Country Championship.