Flat tyre costs De Rooy the lead in the race
A flat tyre has cost Gerard de Rooy the provisional lead in the 2017 Dakar Rally in the truck class. The tyre was damaged about three quarters of the way into the shortened 175 kilometre stage eight. De Rooy ended up with the ninth best time, 7 minutes 13 seconds behind stage winner Martin van den Brink. Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco driver Federico Villagra finished second, Ton van Genugten fifth, and Wuf van Ginkel eleventh.
Villagra and Van Genugten crossed the line to finish the stage close together, but without De Rooy, who was supposed to have been with them. Team strategy had been for Van Genugten to stay behind De Rooy. The Iveco Powerstar didn't arrive until several minutes later. "A damaged tyre cost me at least eight minutes," Gerard de Rooy said. "I sent Ton on ahead so that he could try to finish in the top five and start the Superspecial together with Federico. Things weren't really going my way today. The engine was overheating as well."
In the Superspecial stage, the first ten bikes and cars and the first five trucks start as a first group. The rest follow in the second wave. "There's no real disadvantage to starting in the second group," De Rooy reckoned. "Definitely not if I've got Wuf right behind me and Ton with Federico in the first group."
De Rooy was not too worried that the tyre problem had caused him to lose the lead in the overall standings. "I'm third now, two minutes behind. That's hardly any time at all, really." Federico Villagra climbed up into fourth place, thanks to the Russian driver Mardeev losing nearly two hours and tumbling out of the leading group.