Jan 16, 2020
So much happened in the first part of the tenth stage of the Dakar 2020 that the organization decided to scrap the second part. That was not necessarily a disadvantage for Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco, because in the first 345 km Janus van Kasteren broke a cabin damper and Albert Llovera was hit with a broken turbo. Michiel Becx and Vick Versteijnen had to come to the rescue.
The tenth stage is the first part of the marathon stage. No assistance is allowed in the camp. Competitors must therefore do it themselves and help each other where necessary, because the service trucks and mechanics had to stay in Haradh. So being careful with the material, or at least limiting the damage, was the first priority.
The dunes in the first 100 km of the stage turned out to be extremely nasty. So many accidents happened that the organization no longer had helicopters available for the second part, while the wind also increased in that area. “It was dangerous,” Janus van Kasteren confirmed. “One in ten dunes was broken. Most of the dunes were sloping, so you could get over them with 80. But then suddenly there was one straight down. You could crash very hard today and that has happened to some. Rightly so that the organization opts for safety.”
At Van Kasteren’s Iveco Powerstar, the damage was limited to a broken cabin damper. “It fluttered against the cabin. We have also made a step. We first thought it was a leaf spring, so we drove a little more carefully. After the cancellation we saw that it was the shock absorber for the cabin.”
Initially, Van Kasteren believed that Vick Versteijnen had a reserve with him, but that turned out to be a normal shock absorber. “So Janus is after my cabin damper”, Versteijnen knew, who is no longer competing for the classification, and will therefore have to surrender that part in favor of Van Kasteren, who finished eighth in the stage and is still seventh in the classification.
“There was not much to win,” said Van Kasteren. “In the second part of the stage, really large dunes were waiting. We can see them from the marathon bivouac. Hopefully we get them tomorrow, on the way back.”
Versteijnen was also looking forward to that. “We were enjoying it today”, he said about the tenth stage. “We have seen plenty of cars and trucks that have crashed from a dune. Because it is also the marathon stage, we have closed the gas a bit. I’m glad we’re here.”
Michiel Becx had to assist Albert Llovera in the dunes. The Andorran had a broken turbo. Becx delivered the spare part and then continued in order to be with Van Kasteren in the event of an emergency. With the help of another assistance crew, the Llovera crew was able to replace the turbo themselves and continue on the road to the bivouac. Becx arrived there with the 21st time, Llovera in 31st.
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