Victory for Gerard de Rooy in ‘incredibly heavy special’

With the knowledge that the first classified Siarhei Viazovich missed a waypoint with an hour’s penalty time, Gerard de Rooy decided to call himself the winner of the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally. Teammate Federico Villagra came half a minute behind De Rooy in the 310 kms long special.

The Petronas Team The Rooy Iveco riders Ton van Genugten and Maurik van den Heuvel are doing less well. They are on a backlog of about one and a half hours and have not finished yet at the time of writing.

The sixth stage was particularly tough, De Rooy told at the finish. “Very heavy sand. We have done things that actually were not possible and of which I do not yet understand how it did. The nose of the Iveco Powerstar is severely damaged. In the dunes of the first 50 km I had a problem with the tire pressure system. They were very high dunes and we did not come straight up.”

On the 19 km neutralization after 57 kms mechanic Darek Rodewald could reset the tire system, so that it worked for the second part of 232 km. Shortly after the neutralization, De Rooy overtook his team mate Ton van Genugten, who was the first to start. “Problems with the turbo,” according to De Rooy. That explains why Van Genugten lost a lot of time in the second part. “The sand was incredibly soft,” De Rooy said. “We could not make a climb of 3 km against a mountain at only 60 km/h.”

The venom of the stage was in the tail. There, De Rooy took the win over the Kamaz riders Dmitry Sotnikov and Eduard Nikolaev, who together drove about ten minutes ahead of De Rooy. “There was a difficult waypoint on a mountain. Everyone drove up that mountain too late, so you had to go back a kilometre to go up on the other side of the valley. Viazovich didn’t make it back and therefore missed that waypoint, which will cost him an hour. It was an impossible place to drive up, even for the trucks.”