Van Genugten happy with his role as back-up
The OiLibya Rally is a good test for Ton van Genugten in his role as back-up for the front runners of Team Petronas Iveco De Rooy. In the fourth stage of the rally, moving from the Zagora area to Agadir, he finished sixth, just behind Ales Loprais (fourth), Gerard de Rooy (third) and stage winner Federico Villagra.
The differences in today’s special (293 kms) were notably small. De Rooy had exactly the same time (2.58.17 – 1.05 behind Villagra) as Dutchman Martin van den Brink. And Van Genugten needed one second more than fellow countryman Pascal de Baar (3.06.25 vs 3.06.26).
Van Genugten could have beaten De Baar, had he not driven a bit too careful in the opening phase of the special. “On the stony tracks we wanted to save the tyres, because you never know what lies ahead of you, but subsequently we could have gone faster. Easy to say with hindsight. The second part of the special was much better, with some dunes and softer tracks without stones.”
The differences being so small is good news to Van Genugten. “Our job is to stay as close as possible behind Gerard and Ales to lend them a hand if needed. Staying close behind those kind of top drivers is quite a task by itself. But looking at that I think we can be happy with this rally so far. I’ve learned a lot and got to know the Iveco much better.”
“This rally is tougher than the Dakar Rally,” Van Genugten believes. “The stages are far from easy, the terrain is rough with numerous stones and rocks. It may only be a week, but it’s hard work to get to the finish without damage.” Luckily for Van Genugten and his crew – co-pilot Anton van Limpt and mechanic Peter van Eerd – they didn’t have much of a job yet concerning repairs and giving assistance on the track.
“Today only Ales had to get out of the truck once and lost some time doing so,” Gerard de Rooy said. “Federico is doing great by winning the stage. For myself I wished I had been one second faster to beat Van den Brink, but I couldn’t overtake him in the dust. In the first part I closed in on him, but just not enough to pass. My tyres didn’t work the way I wanted to, and that’s a pity, ‘cause we could have won this stage. We’ve tested several kinds of tyres this week and we’ve learned enough to profit from in the Dakar. It’s a good week so far. One more day to go and hopefully without problems or damage.”