Jan 08, 2019
Ton van Genugten had the intention to start calmly at the Dakar Rally 2019. In ‘tactical mode’ he would tackle the first special of 84 km, in the dunes around Pisco. But even before the start the tactic was adjusted in consultation with mechanic Bernard der Kinderen and navigator Peter Willemsen. It brought Van Genugten to second, just 18 seconds behind stage winner Eduard Nikolaev. Federico Villagra finished third at 53 seconds, Gerard de Rooy fourth at 1.44. Maurik van den Heuvel drove his Iveco Powerstar over the finish line in eighteenth.
Gerard de Rooy had more than the fourth place at his hands up to 20 km before the finish, but lost some time due to an overheated tire and a faltering turbo sensor. The tire had become so hot that it caught fire. “Furthermore, the shock absorbers were still a bit too soft, especially during the descents”, said De Rooy at the finish in Pisco. “But otherwise it went fine, especially in the dunes. I overtook a Kamaz on the way and had to turn back once, but I think most people did. Starting in the second stage with the three of us at the front is no problem. I think it’s okay.”
Ton van Genugten will open the ball for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco tomorrow in that second stage (342 km from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona). “If I have to,” he said. “Everyone had said beforehand that I had to take it easy and I really wanted to go into tactical mode. But at the start I asked Peter and Bernard if they would mind it if I just would go full throttle, if it would go well. If that means that I have to start in front, then that is the consequence. And it went so well. I enjoyed the dunes.”
It was mainly thanks to the new automatic gearbox that it went so well. “With that, you drive even more smoothly through the dunes”, Van Genugten noticed. “It is also a bit tricky, because the pace is so much higher and it is so smooth it gets into your head.”
Maurik van den Heuvel was less happy. The engine of his Iveco ran in emergency mode, making it difficult to cross the dunes. “They all passed me in the dunes because I could not get up that easily. Fortunately, it was only 84 km, so the damage was limited. I hope the mechanics can solve it tonight, otherwise that 342 km of tomorrow will be no fun at all.”
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