“Today was very bumpy. Our team physician will have to work hard tonight", were the words of Tom Colsoul at the end of the third stage of the Dakar, one of the toughest competitions in the world.
After 239 clocked kilometres, Gerard de Rooy placed second with the Iveco Powerstar and managed to finish just 2:42 minutes behind stage winner Karginov. "I am very satisfied. We drove at a constant pace and managed to prevent punctures, because that immediately will cost you a good result. We were overtaken by a Kamaz truck, which was cutting corners everywhere. But a moment later he had to stop with a puncture. Today the route really was in favour of Kamaz and therefore I am pleased with the result" said De Rooy.
Behind Gerard de Rooy was Pep Vila in his Iveco Trakker Evolution II, as the next fastest Iveco truck in fifth place, only 7:22 minutes behind Karginov. A very good result because this particular Iveco Trakker carries a lot of spare parts. Team driver Jo Adua and his Iveco Trakker also finished in the top ten. Stacey settled for 11th place, with a gap of 18:59 minutes, due to a puncture.
Tom Colsoul: “It was challenging. We regularly dived with the truck into many potholes, caused by the two-wheel drive cars. They quite often get stuck and with full throttle they try to get going again, creating deep potholes. And those are difficult to navigate because our truck has bigger wheels and we jumped from pothole to pothole. It was very hard physically. There were also many cars that got stuck and we had a hard time avoiding them. The paths were often very narrow, especially for our big truck. For tomorrow we expect fewer problems because trucks and cars will start together so there will be fewer cars ahead of us”.
In the overall standing, De Rooy has performed well with his Iveco Powerstar, extending his lead over Marcel van Vliet to 18:49 minutes. In ninth and tenth place are Pep Vila and Jo Adua respectively. The entire team Petronas De Rooy Iveco is ranked in the top 10 which is a great achievement.
Today, the fourth stage from San Juan to Chilecitois is the longest stage in this 35th edition with 860 kilometres. The first part starts early in the morning with a connection stage of 43 kilometres and then the 650 kilometre special begins, concluding with 167 kilometre connection. The first part of the trail tomorrow starts as if in the Wild West, with beautiful rural views and large open plains. Later, the route takes the teams on a more challenging path through mountains, canyons and rivers.