Team De Rooy once again ‘best of the rest’
Three drivers in the top eight makes for smiling faces
RIYADH – Three riders in the top eight and a fast assistance in the top thirteen. The fifth stage intensified the smiles on the faces of everything and everyone within Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco.
Janus van Kasteren was the first to convey his satisfaction. Wednesday’s fourth place was converted into third place after a penalty for Dmitry Sotnikov. The extremely consistently performing rider from Veldhoven was again ‘best of the rest’ today. Behind the (almost) unapproachable Kamaz quartet, Van Kasteren, Marcel Snijders and Darek Rodewald finished fifth. After a race of 395 kilometers on a fast, yet varied course, Van Kasteren gave 8.47 to Andrey Karginov. The Kamaz rider thus took revenge for yesterday’s bad day. Karginov lost a lot of time due to technical problems and had to start in fourteenth place today.
According to Janus van Kasteren, there was again no cure for the Russians in the stage around Riyadh. “We do our best, but they are driving too fast. It was tough today. Many tracks with many stones, camel grass and also the unavoidable dunes. I don’t think it was the best special and it wasn’t our best day either. We had a small problem with the accelerator. We had to stop for a while to unplug and plug it back in. We were able to continue driving. It was all blue and white in front of us today,” said the highest-ranking rider of Team De Rooy, referring to the superiority of Karginov, Sotnikov, Shibalov and Nikolaev.
According to Van Kasteren, the Iveco is not the problem of the gap to Kamaz. “The truck is really fantastic. We just can’t go any faster right now. We will not take any unnecessary risks. There’s still a whole week to come. We really do everything we can, but this is what it is.”
Janus van Kasteren is fourth in the general classification. The gap on favorite Sotnikov is 52.16. Number three, Shibalov, is more than 25 minutes ahead of Janus. Behind de Brabander follows Ales Loprais 1.01.13, Karginov (on 1.36.12 of the leader) and teammate Martin van den Brink. The driver of Mammoet Rallysport Team De Rooy Iveco is 1 hour 46 minutes and 46 seconds behind the leader in the standings.
Van den Brink also finished satisfied today. “It was a nice special. Fast, but also technical and there was an important role for the navigator.”
Peter Willemsen again showed his talents alongside Martin today. The 55-year-old navigator from Loenhout in Belgium is working on his twentieth Dakar Rally. With mechanic Bernard der Kinderen, who is driving his thirteenth Dakar, on board, Van den Brink (fourteenth time as a driver in the Dakar Rally) has sufficient experience in the cabin. “Nevertheless, after 120 kilometers, we had to look for the right track. The Kamaz and Maurik van den Heuvel who were behind us took advantage immediately and took the right track thanks to us. That’s how it works.”
However, seventh place (both in the stage and in the general classification) makes Martin happy. “We are driving fine. We don’t do crazy things and want to bring the truck undamaged to the rest day. We really can go a bit faster, but I think it is wiser to do that next week. We try to spare the material in this way and that may be an advantage in the last week.”
The ‘smiling third’ who finished the race and was able to cover the hundred kilometers to the bivouac in Riyadh with a smile on his face was Vick Versteijnen. The Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco rider finished eighth in the fifth stage. The gap to teammate Martin van den Brink was only two minutes and eight seconds. “It went well today. We are getting more and more feel for the truck. Unfortunately we had a flat tire. That took us at least five minutes. We are also very satisfied with the truck and the entire service team. Today was a nice varied special with dunes, riverbeds, rocks and many fast parts on the open plain where navigating made the difference.” Vick Versteijnen, navigator Teun van Dal and mechanic Randy Smits find themselves after the fifth stage in ninth position in the standings. “After the rest day, we will try to step it up a notch,” said the 36-year-old truck dealer from Hilvarenbeek.
The ‘best of the rest party’ of Team De Rooy was further graced today by the excellent performance of Mitchel van den Brink. Petronas Team De Rooy Ivecos’ fast assistant drove flawless and finished thirteenth in the stage. The 19-year-old Harskamper thus remained well ahead of handful of experienced Dakar pilots. In the Iveco Trakker, the youngster only lost 35.50 minutes to winner Karginov.
Van den Brink Jr. and his co-pilots Richard Mouw and Bert van Donkelaar dealt with the technical setback in the fourth stage in a sporty way today. “I am very satisfied. We drove at a good pace and still managed to save the car. In the dunes we competed with William de Groot. We passed him and we thought we would drive away from him after neutralization, but he hooked up. We did the special together. We had to start a little further back after the bad luck on Wednesday. We passed a lot of cars and buggies. That takes some time, but most drivers get out of the way in time. We also briefly searched for a waypoint, but no other problems. We are super happy with the result. Let it go on like this. The pace is good and tomorrow we will start again just behind the leaders of Team De Rooy.”
The sixth stage, on the eve of the rest day, is again a circuit around Riyadh. The rally circus will pass through the area west of the capital on Friday. The total connecting route is 214 kilometers. The special is about 348 kilometers. The special stage has something for everyone. In the initial phase, navigation plays an important role. In the second part, a fascinating series of dunes follows and on the way to the finish any advantage can quickly be negated on the lightning-fast tracks where the danger and the risk of punctures lurks.
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