De Rooy and Villagra play it safe, Van Genugten suffers a flat tyre
Stage 2 of the 2017 Dakar was the kind of day where it was easy to lose a lot of time. Ton van Genugten found that out the hard way. He was the second truck to start the 284 kilometre stage set in the province of Chaco in Argentina, but suffered a flat tyre early on. The 10 minutes it cost to fix that dropped him to sixteenth place at the end of the day. Forewarned by the fate of their Petronas De Rooy Iveco teammate, Gerard de Rooy and Federico Villagra chose to play it safe. That choice saw them finish in fifth and sixth respectively.
"Fast and boring," is how Gerard de Rooy described the stage from Resistencia to Tucuman. "We saw that Ton got stuck with a flat tyre early in the stage, and that was a sign for us to be careful. Better to give up a single minute willingly than lose a whole bunch of time. Overtaking was just about impossible in the dust anyway. So I caught Alex Loprais quite quickly, but because of the dust, I could never really get close enough to overtake him."
De Rooy made one small mistake: he caught the side of the Iveco Powerstar on a tree. That caused some damage, but not enough to slow him down. De Rooy's fifth place finish leaves him with a gap of 3:03 to Martin van den Brink, who took his first stage win and also leads the race. De Rooy is fourth overall, 3:20 behind. Federico Villagra is seventh in the general classification, 4:06 behind the leader.
"We were catching the truck in front of us, but couldn't pass in the dust, so we had to stay there", Villagra explained. "In the end there were some 90 degree corners, that were a bit of a challenge with the truck, but the Powerstar performed perfectly. I'm really happy with the car, it's just a shame we couldn't overtake and use the maximum performance of the truck, but I didn't want to take the risk in the dust."
Ton van Genugten, second after the first day, slipped to sixteenth overall. He was frustrated. "Losing ten minutes with a flat tyre is one thing, but five or six trucks pass you in the time you're changing the tyre, and you're left in their dust. A real shame."
Forward through the dust
Wuf van Ginkel was stuck in the dust as well. Because he had got stuck in the mud in the first stage, he had to start as 37th. "With a big convoy of trucks and cars ahead of you, you're stuck in people's dust all day long. We were able to pass a lot of people today, but we were capable of going a lot faster than we did. Very frustrating."
Van Ginkel still managed to make up a lot of places. He finished as 26th fastest, and so will start tomorrow that little bit closer to Gerard de Rooy and Federico Villagra. Tomorrow's stage is only 199 kilometres for the trucks, however. The trucks start at around 15:30 European time.