Jan 12, 2020
A broken peg under the gas pedal meant that Janus van Kasteren lost quite some time in the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally 2020. The leader of Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco crossed the finish line in fifteenth and saw Dmitry Sotnikov pass in the rankings. Vick Versteijnen closed the stage from Riyadh to Wadi Al-Dawasir with the seventh fastest time.
Janus van Kasteren lost almost 27 minutes on stage winner and classification leader Karginov in the 546 km long stage. Quite contrary to his habit, he mostly lost time in the dunes today. “While that was actually the only part on which you had something to gain,” said Van Kasteren. “It was so fast between the dunes that I constantly ran into the speed limiter at 140. No difference could be made.”
The reason that Van Kasteren had trouble in the dunes was a broken peg under the gas pedal, making dosing impossible. “It was full throttle or nothing at all,” Van Kasteren said. “But if you want to go up a dune, you have to dose. Full gas at the start and half at the top, so that the truck pulls itself over it. That didn’t work. It was horribly annoying in the dunes.”
So annoying that the Iveco Powerstar was stuck on a dune for 6 minutes. The truck was pulled out by rival Martin Macik. “Very sporty of him,” said Van Kasteren. That probably means that Macik, fifth in the rankings, gets some time back for helping Van Kasteren, making the difference a little bigger.
Macik had a flat tire a moment later, just like Van Kasteren. “In the dunes we pass the cars, but on the straight sections where we are allowed to have a maximum of 140, those cars come passing by with 180″, Van Kasteren said. “In the dust we had a puncture. That was a pity.”
Vick Versteijnen did excellent again with the seventh time in the stage. As an Experience driver, outside the classification, he started as sixteenth truck and so he drove in the dust of the cars for a long time. “It was not a spectacular stage. The long straights were boring. We lost concentration a bit. I even caught myself thinking about the business at home.”
On the other hand, Versteijnen was in class in the dunes. That was also necessary, because there were nasty descents at the back. “It was very soft sand and sometimes so horribly steep that you had to be careful or you stood on the nose. It was quite difficult.”
Albert Llovera and Michiel Becx came to the finish in sixteenth and nineteenth respectively. Llovera had broken a spring leaf, but was able to continue driving. So no work for Becx, who had a great day.
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