Jan 11, 2020
Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco had some setbacks in the first week of the Dakar Rally 2020, but there are still plenty of chances that Janus van Kasteren can go for the podium and so Gerard de Rooy is satisfied.
The biggest setbacks were for Vick Versteijnen. He was supposed to go for a top classification together with Van Kasteren, but already on the first day of the rally Versteijnen hot a big boulder with the Iveco Powerstar. On the second day, too, everything went wrong and on day 4 he did not make it to the start of the stage due to a broken hub. Versteijnen is therefore out of competition, but may still start in the stages.
“Vick has had really bad luck,” says De Rooy. “But that is the Dakar: something can happen every day and if you are unlucky, it will cost you your rally. He has also shown that he really can go in the front. In the Experience class it does not count for the classification, but he can gain more experience and also prove to be of great value to Janus.” The same goes for Michiel Becx and Albert Llovera, who are riding a decent rally, De Rooy believes.
Van Kasteren also endured some mishaps. Punctures cost him 40 minutes on the second day, a broken shock absorber on the fifth day also took time. “Janus is fast,” says De Rooy. “Especially when you consider that it is the first Dakar with the Iveco Powerstar. You have to learn to drive with that. He is doing very well, but he is barely able to keep up with the competition, especially Kamaz. The difference is fifteen, twenty minutes a day, but he makes progress every day. The podium is definitely not out of sight yet.”
De Rooy knows from experience how difficult it is. It is not hard for him to watch from the sidelines, but he does feel the itch. “Saudi Arabia is not too bad until now. The roads are good, the internet is good, the people are nice and helpful. Everyone I speak about is enthusiastic. The rally is also excellent so far. The variety is good. It is a nice mix of stones, WRC tracks, sand and dunes. I think that’s important. The sand, the dunes: that continues to attract. I am assuming that I will be there again next year.”
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