The fourth stage of the Dakar Rally 2019 again was not a problem-free day for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco. Gerard de Rooy finished in eleventh at 35 minutes behind stage winner Andrey Karginov, due to a crooked rod and a broken tire. Maurik van den Heuvel finished just before De Rooy as tenth in 32 minutes. He again had to contend with a motor that ran into emergency loop. Federico Villagra, third in the standings at the start of the stage, fell way back due to unknown problems.
Ton van Genugten was already in trouble on the way to the start of the stage due to engine failure. On the liaison, 50 km before the start, that had to be repaired first, because it was not an option to go into the special stage with a faltering engine. With a delay Van Genugten started the 405 km long race, which forms the first part of the marathon stage. He is still on the road at the time of writing, but in the neutralization halfway through the stage he didn’t report any problems.
The engine of Maurik van den Heuvel’s truck ran into the emergency loop again. “After a reset, I started driving at 70, 80 percent of the power, to prevent it from happening again. As a result, I was able to use the power at the moment when it was really necessary.” Because of the extremely soft feshfesh, in which the truck sometimes sank half a meter, it was not as smooth as Van den Heuvel wanted.
Gerard de Rooy suffered a lot of dust in the beginning of the 405 km long stage. Due to the problems of the third stage he had started far behind, but because of the enormous dust clouds caused by the deep and loose feshfesh, he could hardly get past the cars and buggies in front of him. “I’ve never seen so much dust,” De Rooy said. “I have caught up 20, 25 cars but I couldn’t see a thing.”
In a canyon, where you could go up in two ways, a buggy was stuck in the sand. De Rooy first had to pull it loose before he could pass it. At the start of the neutralization halfway through the stage, he saw that the Kamaz that had started behind him had passed him by taking the other way up. On the paved road De Rooy also found out that the track rod was damaged by the many stones that were hidden in the feshfesh. “That is why in the second part I have taken a calmer approach to not aggravate the damage.” Still, in that second part he had to deal with a broken tire. The crew of Maurik van den Heuvel helped with the change.
Along the way, De Rooy stopped with teammate Federico Villagra who had a breakdown. “But he called that we had to move on because he would almost be ready. He said something about the exhaust, but what exactly was going on, I do not know.”
The problems at all four Iveco’s are extremely inconvenient. The fourth and fifth stage together form the marathon stage. The mechanics had to stay in Arequipa. The racing crews of Team De Rooy are therefore on their own tonight. The stage back to Arequipa is another 517 km, with a lot of feshfesh and stones expected.