Iveco leaves South America with a podium and the head held high
The 2017 Dakar was not the easiest for the organisation due to the cancellations of several stages, but Iveco carried forward a great development in order to fight for the lead in every special and show its strength with a sixth podium in six editions.
“We performed and worked exceptionally well as a team”, stated team leader Gerard de Rooy in the ceremonial ramp in Buenos Aires.
More than 9.000 kilometres were traveled since the start in Asunción, Paraguay, until the finish in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with almost a week spent in Bolivia. Dakar’s biggest enemy was the bad weather, which shortened drastically the kilometres of competition, as only 65% was covered.
Everything was looking good at the beginning of the 2017 Dakar Rally for Iveco and Gerard de Rooy, as no serious problems came up in the first half of the race and they led in the rest day in La Paz, Bolivia. Although the gap to his rivals was not big, the Dutchman was confident of repeating his 2016 win.
But several punctures made him fall back in the classification and in the starting order, solo the #500 Powerstar was left in the middle of his rivals’ dust and could not take advantage of his truck’s full potential. De Rooy had to settle for third after a hard day in navigation with hidden waypoints, but he should now be thinking about next Dakar in January 2018.
“The aim was at least a podium, and we achieved that. We had one bad day, and you can't really blame anyone for that. I can live with third place. Last year I only had one flat tyre, this year there were more. But I am very happy that we didn't have any mechanical problems with the truck, and that we worked really well together as a team. None of the four Ivecos had any problems”, señaló De Rooy.
The Iveco Trakkers worked to perfection, running world’s most difficult rally raid but also assisting Petronas Team De Rooy leader. Ton van Genugten and Wuf van Ginkel coupled in a great way to the team’s structure and even showed very good rythm in some stages inside the Top 5.
Van Genugten hit trouble when he got stuck in mud and Van Ginkel helped him out. They lost more than four hours and were then penalised with an additional two hours, which opened a gap impossible to shorten to the leaders. But they managed to climb up the overall classification and arrived very close to the Top 15.
By other means, Iveco placed a second truck inside the best five of the Dakar Rally. Federico Villagra, at the wheel of the #502 Powerstar, rubbed shoulders with the leaders and got near of winning two stages. Finally, he arrived to Buenos Aires behind teammate De Rooy, in fourth overall.