Jan 10, 2020
With fourth place in the sixth stage of the Dakar Rally 2020, Janus van Kasteren was “very pleased” upon arrival in Riyadh. In the last stage before the restday, he caught up with Ales Loprais and Martin Macik, who occupy the 4 and 5 places in the general classification. “I had signed in advance for the sixth place on the rest day,” Van Kasteren admitted.
Initially Van Kasteren came in fifth in the results – he was very happy with that. Later it turned out that a mistake had been made with the start from the obligatory break and that time – 2 minutes – Van Kasteren got back. The time was thus corrected to 13.55 and that resulted in fourth place. Sixth place does not change in the rankings.
In the same classification, Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco drivers Albert Llovera and Michiel Becx are respectively fourteenth and seventeenth. Vick Versteijnen is no longer in the rankings, but achieved a neat thirteenth time in the stage.
Janus van Kasteren finished fifteen minutes from Andrey Karginov. There was no way to beat the Kamaz. “I can’t keep up with them,” noted Van Kasteren. “There were many 140-pieces, where we can drive the maximum speed of 140 kilometers. On the bumpy tracks between the greenery, the back of the truck started to bounce and I had to take my foot off the gas. Kamaz drives on through it full throttle. I have not left anything in the dunes. Also not on the high climbs and in the heavy sand. The Iveco is doing fantastic there.”
The prospect is that there will be much more sand and dunes in the second week of the Dakar. Van Kasteren is looking forward to it. “I think I can still catch up with Loprais and Macik in that area. Today I also passed Macik. I have the advantage that I have three Iveco’s behind me. They have no one for backup and will certainly not help each other.”
Vick Versteijnen drove around eleventh place all day, but eventually crossed the finish line in thirteenth. A broken steering rod 5 kilometers before the end took some time to repair and due to the emergency repair, Versteijnen had to finish the final kilometers calmly.
It didn’t spoil the fun of the stage. “It was a great stage. Yesterday was beautiful, but today it was even better. Fast stretches were interspersed with dunes. For that you had to be sharp immediately, switch quickly: tire pressure down and just climb. We have wonderfully tacked through the dunes.”
Michiel Becx also enjoyed the test. “Only seen sand today, not a single stone. And I didn’t miss them either.” It was the first time that he had to hit serious dunes with the Iveco Trakker, but it went well. “We just had to get used to it. With the truck you have to go up at different speeds and at a different angle than with the car or the buggy. We had to try again twice, but we came up well everywhere.”
Becx had to take action once as a fast assistant. Teammate Albert Llovera was halted a few kilometers before the finish without diesel. “So a few jugs had to be added there. That didn’t really mean much.” Llovera reached the finish line with the eighteenth time, Becx with the nineteenth, both at exactly 1.19.47 from stage winner Karginov.
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