Jan 10, 2017
The rerouted seventh stage of the 2017 Dakar was just 141 kilometres long for the trucks, but there was still plenty to lose. Not for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco, though. With Ton van Genugten finishing second, Federico Villagra finishing third and Gerard de Rooy crossing the line in fourth, the team has a rock solid foundation to start the eight stage from. Wuf van Ginkel also drove his Iveco Trakker to an impressive thirteenth place (starting from 35th), which will allow him to keep close behind the team leaders in the second part of the marathon stage tomorrow.
“It was a short stage, but a tough one,” Gerard de Rooy said after the finish. “There were a lot of tracks, which made navigation tricky. We were probably only off by about 50 metres. The dunes were very steep in the beginning, you could easily get yourself stuck in them, but we got through them okay. There was a fair amount of mud at the end as well, which made it pretty risky.”
De Rooy was more than happy with the fourth best time, as well as with the results of the other Ivecos. “I’m very sorry for Van Genugten, but he’s going to have to pull over tomorrow and then tuck in behind me. Defending the first place in the classification takes priority.”
Van Genugten was the fastest of the four Iveco’s, taking revenge for the mudbath that had cost him three hours in the fifth stage. Starting from fourteenth he rapidly closed in on the trucks that had left before him. Just when he wanted to overtake them, he had to stop. “We missed a waypoint”, Van Genugten explained. “Not by far, but just by a bit. You have to be within 300 meters of the waypoint to catch it and we were just a little bit off course. So we had to turn around but fifteen minutes later we overtook them again.”
The dunes and fast sandy tracks were exactly how Van Genugten likes it, so he could spur his truck. “On the restday we already decided as a team that we would assist Gerard and Federico, so I will wait for Gerard and close in behind him. I’ve wasted my own chances for a good result in the rankings, but coming in second today feels very good. It’s a confirmation of what we are capable of.”
The time gaps at the finish were surprisingly large for a stage of just 141 kilometres. That also meant changes in the overall standings. Not for De Rooy: he still leads the race. But Dmitri Sotnikov, who won the stage, took over second place in the race. The Russian is 2 minutes 11 seconds behind the defending champion. Eduard Nikolaev is in third, at 5:57. Federico Villagra moved up a place into fifth, 33:42 behind De Rooy.
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