Gerard de Rooy takes unexpected stage win and lead in the ranking
Gerard de Rooy took a double win in stage 8 of the Dakar. Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco’s captain won the stage and took the lead in the general rankings. De Rooy was surprised by his victory but most of all by the gaps: 2.35 to Eduard Nikolaev and 5.23 to Andrey Karginov. “This was a typical Kamaz stage,” De Rooy said. “My goal was not to lose too much time, I certainly didn’t expect I would gain time.”
The 394 kms stage from Salta to Belèn was divided in two parts. In the first part, a WRC like terrain, De Rooy was in Peter Versluis’ dust for quite a while and therefore could not overtake the Dutchman who started the stage leading the general rankings. “I was on the tail of Versluis when he had a puncture, right before entering the neutralized zone.” De Rooy finished the first part with an advantage of just 28 seconds to Nikolaev.
The first special was designed for Federico Villagra and Ton van Genugten, who made in fifth and fourth respectively to the neutralisation. Van Genugten was stuck in the dust caused by Karginov’s Kamaz for over 25 km until he was able to overtake. “In the second part of the stage he passed us again,” Van Genugten tells. “At first I thought it was a helicopter when I saw something flying by in the corner of my eye, but it was a Kamaz. The way they drive is truly unbelievable.”
In the rough terrain of the second part of the stage Gerard de Rooy’s Iveco Powerstar proved its value. The trucks hammered through the soft sand, camel grass and riverbeds covered with rocks and stones. De Rooy had no idea about his position compared to his rivals. “I was able to overtake Mardeev, after he tried to delay me for quite a while, but there was a car between me and Nikolaev. I couldn’t see him, so I didn’t know how near or far he was. We just tried to push as hard as possible. Only at the finish line I found out I had won and taken the lead of the rankings. Very peculiar, as this stage was a typical one for Kamaz and I was convinced one of them would win.”
With his stage win De Rooy took over the leading position in the standings from Peter Versluis, who lost 19 minutes. De Rooy has an advantage of 7.58 to Nikolaev and 13.29 to Versluis. Federico Villagra is the second Iveco in the top in sixth place, 24.39 behind De Rooy. Ton van Genugten, ninth in the stage, is in seventh at 41 minutes. Pep Vila, like Van Genugten driving the Trakker, finished in eleventh and moved up to tenth, bringing all four Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco’s in the top 10.