Today was a very close battle between rivals Karginov (Kamaz) and Iveco rally leader Gerard de Rooy aboard an Iveco Powerstar. Karginov was leading the race before being halted about 150 kilometres from the finish with a flat tyre. At the finish the difference between the two was 1:31 minutes.
Gerard de Rooy: “A terrific special. I think it's the best one we've had in two or three years. We saw from the beginning that Karginov was too fast and that we couldn't keep up with him, so we decided to drive at our own pace, without taking any risks, especially with the tyres. Nevertheless, we were driving through the connection when we noticed a tyre was slowly deflating and we had to stop to change it. In the second part, we overtook Karginov who had stopped on the left side of the course with a flat tyre. We made a small navigation error towards the end without any serious impact on our performance”.
Iveco teammate Hans Stacey with his Iveco Trakker Evolution III finished fifth, 14:06 minutes after De Rooy. De Rooy increased his lead ahead of second place competitor Marcel van Vliet (MAN) to 36:12 minutes. Pep Vila finished in 14th place in his Iveco Trakker and is now in 11th place overall, 34:07 minutes behind team captain De Rooy. Jo Adua finished in 15th place with his Iveco Trakker and is 14th in the overall ranking.
Today’s stage, from Chilecito to Tucumán, foresees a course of 912 grueling kilometres on the Dakar agenda, promising to be a real battle across varied terrain. From the Argentine Pampas to challenging sand dunes, the day’s stage includes a first connection of 154 kilometres, followed by a Special of over 525 kilometres, and a final connecting stage of around 230 kilometres to the bivouac in Tucumán, where the competitors are expected to arrive at midnight.