Jan 11, 2018
The Africa Eco Race competitors completed the last two stages in Moroccan territory, before having a rest day on Sunday. In these specials, Gerard De Roy did not push his #400 IVECO Powerstar to the limit in order to avoid punctures and damage to the vehicle on the fast, stony tracks. His careful approach paid off and, in spite of a navigation error in the fifth special, he finished in fifth position – the first truck to cross the line – having narrowed the gap separating him from leader Vladimir Vasilyev’s car.
After the rest day, the competitors crossed the border into Mauritania. In sixth and seventh stages, Gerard de Rooy was again the first truck to cross the finish line, securing the fifth place in the overall classification.
While the race is over for Wuf van Ginkel, who has had to leave the competition, Dutchman de Rooy maintains his sights on the podium: in the eighth stage, which includes a special of 439 km, the dunes will provide him with the opportunity to improve his position in the overall standings.
The fourth stage of the Dakar 2018 – a loop that started and finished in San Juan de Marcona – proved to be the most difficult in the race so far: the altitude of more than 2,000 metres, together with the heat, dunes and navigation, made this a particularly tough stage for the competitors, but IVECO crossed the finish line in second place, keeping its podium placement in the general standings.
Federico Villagra, who won stage 3, finished stage 4 in second place, having battled for the lead head to head with Nikolaev for the first part of the special. The Argentine lost time in the second part, but succeeded in widening the gap with the third competitor to two hours and securing his second place in the overall standings, 36m56s behind the Russian.
Ton Van Genugten, who had shown great consistency finishing in the Top 5 of the day in the first two stages, suffered a setback in stage 3, when an accident that cost him more than an hour and a half. In stage 4, he had once again a rough day with issues in the gearbox and dropped back in the classification, despite battling for the lead in the first kilometers of the special. The IVECO Powerstar #509 now lies in 11th position in the overall classification, four and a half hours away from Nikolaev.
Kazakh Artur Ardavichus had a tortuous special in stage 2 and lost more time in the following special, when he stopped to help the crew teammate Van Genugten after the accident. In stage 4 he got off to a flying start and was clocking his best special in this edition, consistently among the best drivers of the day, moving up from 12th up to 5th, until the last waypoint where he lost more than an hour, closing the stage in 11th position, 1h44m47s behind the leader.
The Dakar caravan will continue with another stage that is expected to be as tough as the fourth, with 267 timed kilometers in sand and dunes. The fight for the lead is still wide open and the IVECO Powerstars are big contenders.
Stage 7 – Africa Eco Race 2018 1. Vladimir Vasilyev (Mini) 3h53m48s 2. Mathieu Serradori (LCR 30) + 2m09s 3. Guillaume Gomez (Optimus) + 30m27s 4. Pascal Thomasse (Optimus) + 32m18s
5. Andrey Rudskoy (GForce) + 34m30s
——— 7. GERARD DE ROOY (IVECO) + 46m42s
Overall Standings – Africa Eco Race 2018 1. Vladimir Vasilyev (Mini) 22h51m28s 2. Mathieu Serradori (LCR 30) + 16m23s 3. Pascal Thomasse (Optimus) + 2h2m6s 4. Remy Vauthier (Optimus) + 3h42m52s 5. GERARD DE ROOY (IVECO) + 3h45m
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