New Stage Victory for Iveco and Double Podium in the General
Gerard de Rooy solidified his first-place position in the 2016 Dakar after his second consecutive win in a race that was shortened today due to the high temperatures in the dunes of Catamarca.
ASO had scheduled a special for all four categories that would begin and end in the city of Belén, located in northeastern Argentina, and that would cover 285 timed kilometers. However, temperatures exceeding 50°C (122°F) forced the ASO to cancel the stretch beyond CP2, so the course was shortened to 178 kilometers.
In a copy of yesterday's events, Iveco was once again proclaimed the day's winner thanks to Gerard de Rooy, who –along with his teammates, Moi Tarrollardona and Darek Rodewald– is proving to be the best in the navigation stages. With today's victory, the winner of the 2012 Dakar claimed his third triumph in this edition and put plenty of distance between himself and the current runner-up, the Russian pilot Eduard Nikolaev. The Kamaz pilot is now 27 minutes and 12 seconds behind the De Rooy in the general after coming in 5th in Stage 9.
"Brilliant victory, but it wasn't easy. It was really hot and the sand was very soft. Cutting the race short at CP2 was the right decision," said Gerard de Rooy, who added: "Everyone got stuck and got flat tires. The pressure in our tires was carefully managed by Darek and Moi didn't make any navigational mistakes."
Iveco also took second place in the Belén-Belén loop, with the Trakker piloted by Ton van Genugten. The other Dutchman in the fleet crossed the finish line just 3 minutes and 59 seconds behind Gerard de Rooy and climbed to 5th place in the general after nine stages in this 2016 Dakar.
Federico Villagra and his Iveco Powerstar finished the day in 4th place, 16 minutes and 45 seconds behind the winner, and thanks to the delays suffered by Hans Stacey, Pieter Versluis and Ariat Mardeev, he rose to 3rd place on the podium in overall time. The Argentine pilot had to stop a couple of times to help his co-pilot Jorge Pérez Companc deal with breakdowns caused by the conditions of this stage. After today's race, Iveco now has two pilots in the Top 3 and three trucks in the Top 5 in the general.
Pep Vila had a somewhat more complicated day and lost start-up time before the first WP. The Spaniard was 40 minutes behind the leader at the first checkpoint and ended the day in 23rd place, more than an hour behind the leaders. This also led him to fall in the general classification, where he is now in 13th place but still has a good chance of making it into the Top 10.
Carlos Sainz took the lead in the general classification in the Cars category with his victory in today's stage. In Quads, Pablo Copetti won the special but the Patronelli brothers, Marcos and Alejandro, are still dominating the competition. And in Bikes, Toby Price won his fifth stage and secured his leadership in the category.