The third stage of the Dakar Rally 2019 ended up to be a disaster for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco. Only Federico Villagra managed to complete the 331 km between San Juan de Marcona and Arequipa unscathed. The Argentinian finished second and occupied that place in the rankings. Ton van Genugten lost almost an hour, Gerard de Rooy almost one and a half hour and Maurik van den Heuvel even more.
De Rooy started well in the difficult stage, but ran into problems in the dunes at about 80 km. “On top of a dune it turned out to be too soft and I tried to turn back, but was just too late, so we got stuck. One wheel was in the air, so I could not get out. When I tried again after digging, the heart of my steering wheel broke. We did not have that part with us, so I had to wait for the others.”
That took a while. After all, Van Genugten and Van den Heuvel had started a long way after De Rooy and they also ran into problems along the way. “In the dunes, the sensor of the turbo gave a error”, says Van Genugten. “This refrains the engine and thus I had less power. By far not enough power to get through the dunes in a decent way. I had to constantly turn back and improvise, so when I came to Gerard, I could not do much.”
Maurik van den Heuvel exchanged his steering wheel with that of De Rooy, so that the captain of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco could continue. In order to be able to continue himself, Van den Heuvel had to repair the broken wheel first. This required a drill, so he had to wait for the service truck. Van den Heuvel is still on his way in the third stage at the time of writing.
In the ranking Gerard de Rooy fell back to seventh place at 1.17 of the provisional leader Eduard Nikolaev. Ton van Genugten is sixth at 1.16. “It is a huge blow for the team, but it is still only the third day”, De Rooy noted.