Strong performance by Van Kasteren not rewarded
Versteijnen and Van den Brink back in top ten
Todays’ stage has 204km liaison and 287km special.
WADI AD DAWASIR – The men of Team De Rooy were able to get rid of Monday’s problems. Martin van den Brink (8th place) and Vick Versteijnen (9th place) rode an almost problem-free special. Janus van Kasteren seemed on his way to a top three finish. A steering rod problem thwarted those plans. A 15th place did not correspond to the speed that the Janus team put on the track today.
Martin van den Brink, Peter Willemsen and Bernard der Kinderen arrived satisfied at the finish of the special over 287 kilometers in the vicinity of Wadi Ad Dawasir. “It was a trouble-free day. After Monday’s technical setback, it was nice not to experience anything. The mechanics of Team De Rooy and Mammoet Rallysport did an excellent job on Monday evening. The tire pressure system has been completely replaced and today it worked great. Unfortunately, we didn’t have many dunes in this special.”
Van den Brink finished eighth at 9m23s from stage winner Eduard Nikolaev. “Our biggest problem was that we drove for a long time in the dust of the Tatra of Vaidotas Paskevicius. Fortunately, after the mandatory stop, we were able to pass him quickly and drove on to the finish line dust-free.” The Lithuanian in the Tatra had started one minute ahead of Martin this morning and half a minute ahead of Vick Versteijnen.
“It was a wonderful special,” said Vick. “The special was fast with canyons and dunes. In the beginning, many people made the mistake of looking for a waypoint. Fortunately, Teun was on the right track,” said Vick Versteijnen about the good work of the navigator from Hilvarenbeek. Teun van Dal, 33 of age, is working on his third Dakar Rally as a navigator. The third man aboard Vick’s Iveco Powerstar is 24-year-old Randy Smits. The mechanic from Boxmeer makes his debut as a driver on the rally truck. “We do well together,” says a satisfied Versteijnen, who still had to deal with disappointment. “At the dunes, the tire system did not work again. As a result, we had to stop again and I lost my rhythm. We stayed behind Martin shortly after that. Ninth place is good, but it’s frustrating that we have the same problem for the third day in a row.”
Mitchel van den Brink, Richard Mouw and Bert van Donkelaar were able to place another successful special behind their name. The fast assistant of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco also stayed out of trouble on Monday. “We didn’t have any problems with the tire system. We did help Kees Koolen yesterday: He got stuck and because Wouter de Graaff is the navigator we helped him. We got into trouble with that. The mechanical eye that holds the towing rope broke off and we had to attach it to the truck itself. That action costs us 15 minutes. Wouter has reported to the organization that we have helped and hopefully we regain the time lost.”
Mitchel was also pleased with the 9th special today. The 13th place in the special and the 12th place in the overall classification can also make the 19-year-old driver from Harskamp more than satisfied. “We drove right behind my father. After 10 km in the special we saw several riders looking for the next waypoint. We were able to take advantage and grabbed that waypoint immediately. Then we were close behind the Tatras of Paskevicius. We drove 50 km very close behind my father. After that came more mountains and dunes, and then he picked up more speed. After the neutralization, Janus stopped with a broken sterring rod. We helped for a while, but that was no more than 5 minutes.”
The fast assistant presented himself as a real race driver. The young rally driver was disappointed to be passed by a competitor in a faster and lighter truck. “Pascal de Baar passed us in the dunes. Yes, I was upset about that. We were in his dust trail after that for a while. Other than that it was another nice day. We now also know that we get time back from yesterday. How much? That’s up to the organization…”
In the general classification, Janus van Kasteren is still the best placed rider of Team De Rooy in 6th place and the best Dutchman. Van Kasteren, his navigator Snijders and mechanic Rodewald are 2h27m43s behind the fastest truck Dmitry Sotnikov. Martin van den Brink is 7th and is exactly 28m14s behind his compatriot and teammate. Vick Versteijnen (more than 4 hours behind) is in 8th place overall and still has a margin of more than 22 minutes on the number nine competitor, the Czech Martin Macik.
On Wednesday, the 10th stage goes from Wadi Ad Dawasir to Bisha over a total of 760 kilometers. The special covers 375 kilometers and will probably go down in the books as the fastest stage of this Dakar Rally. The greatest danger lies in the tricky parts of the special where navigation plays a major role.
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