Jan 10, 2020
The fifth stage of the Dakar 2020 was not a bad day at all for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco. Vick Versteijnen recovered well with a sixth time and was therefore the best Dutchman. His result just doesn’t count, because he drives outside the competition in the Experience Class. What does count is Janus van Kasteren’s tenth place, who climbed up to the sixth place in the general ranking.
Van Kasteren did not have a flawless day, but was nevertheless satisfied. In the 353 km race from Al-‘Ula to Ha’il, he and his crew had to leave the cabin three times. That took time, so that eventually the #505 Iveco came to the finish line at 45.30 from stage winner Dmitry Sotnikov.
The first problem was a broken shock absorber. “That must be changed, otherwise it will break the brake booster,” Van Kasteren explained. “But changing a shock absorber certainly takes as much time as changing a tire.”
The next problem was that the hood of the Powerstar got loose, causing it to hit the windshield. “Then you don’t see anything anymore, so we secured that with lashing straps. But the hood was broken off at the front and is stuck at the side of the cabin with elastics, so that came loose again. Then we just removed the hood and set it aside, well in sight, hoping someone would take it – Michiel Becx or the sweepertruck.”
With three times out of the cabin, Van Kasteren lost time, but everything went well. The Dutchman was very pleased with the power and torque of the Iveco in the heavy sand in the second part of the stage. “They said there would be dunes, but I honestly didn’t see them. It was rather a tough tank track, with long climbs in heavy sand. Kamaz are good at that, but so is the Iveco. I caught up with Martin van den Brink twice in that area.”
There was no fighting with the three Kamaz trucks at the front. Van Kasteren has accepted this. However, in the rankings there are only two left in front. Sotnikov already had problems in the first days, today Nikolaev stood still. “Viazovich with the MAZ is also fast, so let’s realistically assume that it is about place 4 now. That goes between me, Loprais and Macik. We are not yet halfway, a lot of sand is still coming. Everything is still possible.”
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