Solid start of the Dakar with four Iveco’s in the top 10

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Four Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco trucks have opened their Dakar challenge in the top 10 in the first special stage, with the fifth truck just outside the top 10. Gerard de Rooy recorded the best performance, in third at 1m 51s from stage winner Hans Stacey. The three Iveco Powerstars and Van Genugten driving the Trakker left the Russian Kamaz train behind them.

De Rooy started the special stage, 387 kms from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas de Rio Hondo, in second but soon closed in on the Kamaz of title defender Ayrat Mardeev. “I came close, but just not close enough to overtake,” told De Rooy. “Dust wasn’t a real problem, but there were some cars in between us and it took time to overtake them. I didn’t want to take too much risk, so I just tried to stay close behind. I knew that was enough.”

De Rooy was happy the weather had improved and the stage was held under dry conditions. “I wasn’t 100 percent fit,” he said. “Last night I had a fever and now I have a massive headache. Considering these circumstances, I’m more than happy with third and especially with the results of the other members of the team, with all the Kamaz behind us.”

Argentinian debutant in the truck race, Federico Villagra, recorded another surprise result by finishing in fifth (+02.44), ahead of Ales Loprais (+03.06) and Ton van Genugten (+03.40) in seventh position. Pep Vila finished in twelfth (+12.08).

With the three Powerstars in front of him and three Kamaz trucks right behind him, Dutchman Ton van Genugten tomorrow has a crucial task.

Tomorrow’s special stage covers 314 kms from Termas de Rio Hondo to Jujuy.