the Dakar rally 2022 has kicked off!
HA’IL – With two riders in the top ten. An excellent fourteenth place for the fast assistant and a fourth driver in the top twenty are reasons for satisfaction for the men of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco. The game is on. The 44th Dakar Rally has begun.
Janus van Kasteren and his co-pilots Marcel Snijders and Darek Rodewald closed the opening day in the north of Saudi Arabia in seventh place. “We are very satisfied with that. I’m glad it’s started. Today there was nothing for us to gain. We haven’t done anything crazy and with these results, we’re just fine. Tomorrow it really starts. It’s fine for us and good for us that we have started the rally in a decent way,” said Janus, just after the end of his race against the clock.
Vick Versteijnen didn’t want to take any risks and took eighteenth place. The 36-year-old rider from Hilvarenbeek joined Team De Rooy at the very last moment. Vick knows Hans Stacey and they both know that the first days are all about the right rhythm. “I’m glad we started. I still have to get used to the truck and find the right rhythm. I have to be happy with today’s result. Tomorrow the real work starts and I hope we will improve our results.”
Besides Janus, Martin van den Brink also finished in the top ten. “We are happy that it has started and I am satisfied with the result.” Van den Brink, with navigator Peter Willemsen and mechanic Bernard der Kinder at his side, opened the 44th Dakar Rally in ninth place. “That’s a great starting position for the first stage.”
The prolog in today’s stage, which brought the rally circus from Jeddah to Ha’il, counted 19 kilometers. ,,It was a nice, but tough test with a lot of sand,” says Martin. “We rode at a good pace, didn’t do anything crazy and I’m very satisfied. It’s a good start,” said Martin just after his first speed test in the Iveco Powerstar. “We are going to cover the 600 kilometers to the bivouac in Ha’il with a good feeling.”
Mitchel van den Brink also made an excellent impression in the opening dance. The fast assistant of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco finished with a fourteenth place in the subtop and will start tomorrow in the wake of the leaders. The small minute and a half that Mitchel lost compared to the winner of the day can be called surprising. ,,We drove well,” said the 19-year-old Mitchel. “The test was quite tough. The Iveco truck had to work very hard during the stage. I am very satisfied with our result. We didn’t want to take any chances. You can lose a lot more than you can win on this short trial. In addition to the heavy sand, there were also fast tracks which in some parts were quite ‘tricky.’ Then you know that you have to pay extra attention. I am very satisfied with the ranking. Tomorrow we start fairly close behind Janus and Martin. That is also our goal. So this is a great start to the rally for us.”
The win in the prolog surprisingly went to Eduard Nikolaev. The experienced Russian led the dance in the Kamaz polonaise. Defending champion Dmitry Sotnikov, Andrey Karginov and Anton Shibalov followed at an appropriate distance. Today, Janus and Martin had to allow 37 and 45 seconds respectively to the winner.
There were 56 trucks at the start this afternoon. The result of the prolog determines the starting order in the first stage. Tomorrow there is a serious test on the program. The start and finish are in Ha’il. Besides a lot of sand, a serious task awaits the navigators. The special stage is 333 kilometers long.
The first episode of “Bivak Brabant Dakar”