With third place in the final classification for Gerard de Rooy and three stage victories – Ton van Genugten won the finale stage and thus his second one in this event – Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco looks back with a satisfied feeling at the Dakar Rally 2019. “It is not the podium place we hoped for, but it is and remains a podium position,” said Gerard de Rooy.
“If you see what has happened in ten days of competition, up to and including the last day, then we certainly can’t complain. With the fact that we are also the only team at the finish as one, with all four trucks and all four in the top 10, I can only be very satisfied.”
The win in the Dakar Rally was for Kamaz, for the sixteenth time, with Eduard Nikolaev for the fourth time as winner and Dmitry Sotnikov in second place. “At Kamaz there are two trucks left out of four, Nikolaev has also been stuck in the dunes for an hour. Everything was possible and no one was at the finish without any problems,” De Rooy said. “Only we had some more problems on the way than them and that’s a shame.”
Looking back, one can say that De Rooy lost the rally in the first week of the Dakar, and in particular stage 3. On that day he got stuck on top of a dune and broke the steering wheel. That took De Rooy an hour and a half. The result was that the day after he could only start tenth, so he ended up in the dust and therefore lost another half hour. “That was a crucial moment. In the second week it went really well, but then the damage was already made. Everything has to be right. The competition is too strong to lose time due to insignificance.”
Also the other three Team De Rooy Iveco’s did not stay out of trouble. Federico Villagra lost three hours due to a broken exhaust. Ton van Genugten had a faulty turbo sensor, broken windscreens and a problem with the gearbox. Maurik van den Heuvel drove six days in emergency mode and made a handstand in the dunes.
“As a team we have experienced too much to qualify for a higher ranking”, repeated Maurik van den Heuvel at the finish of the last stage. “But the fact that we are at the finish with four Iveco’s means a lot in this wear and tear. I have complained about the level in the Dakar in previous years, but this was – just like last year – a really tough one. We have almost 800 kilometres of dunes behind us; this doesn’t mean minutes like on fast rally tracks, but you can win or lose hours. I’ve had enough of dunes for now.”
It could have lasted for Ton van Genugten. He won the last stage and thus added two more victories to his conduit status in the Dakar. According to Van den Heuvel, who tapped with the fourth time, in the last 112 km it was a matter of tire management to get through the dunes and along the fast paths. “Finally everything went right”, Van Genugten said about it. “Then you notice that everything in the cabin is suddenly getting a lot better and everyone is coming into a flow, also Peter and Bernard.” Navigator Peter Willemsen and technical man Bernard der Kinderen – responsible for the tire pressure – guided Van Genugten faultlessly through the last kilometres, which were not exactly easy. In the 112 kms Van Genugten overtook four trucks, including that of his team captain. “I saw Gerard and thought: too bad, mate. This one is mine. The last stage win is a patch on the wound. ”
Final ranking Dakar 2019 (provisional)
1 Nikolaev 41:01:35
2 Sotnikov +25:36
3 De Rooy +1:34:44
4 Villagra +5:49:08
7 Van Genugten +9:15:26
10 Van den Heuvel +11:54:15