In the first special with a strong focus on navigation, Gerard de Rooy skillfully threaded his way through the dunes of northern Argentina and landed his Iveco Powerstar in first place in the general classification, after proving himself as the best competitor in yesterday's race.
After crossing the finish line of yesterday's stage, the pilots agreed that the course, which covered 534 exhausting kilometers and produced changes in the top spots in all four categories of the 2016 Dakar Rally, was "90% navigation".
Stage 8, connecting the cities of Salta and Belén, included the first sand and dune areas, which put the remaining teams' navigational and driving skills to the test. Gerard de Rooy got ahead in the Trucks category and claimed Iveco's second stage victory in this edition. This win puts the Dutchman, who won the Dakar in 2012, in the lead of the race. This is the second time that Iveco is in first place in the the Dakar 2016 general, after Federico Villagra dominated the entire lineup in Stage 5.
Gerard de Rooy crossed the finish line 2 minutes and 35 seconds ahead of the Russian pilot Eduard Nikolaev and 5 minutes and 23 seconds ahead of Andrey Karginov, both of whom were piloting Kamazes. Federico Villagra finished today in 6th place and was the strongest Iveco competitor after De Rooy. The Argentine pilot is just 2 minutes away from the competition's Top 5.
Pieter Versluis's relatively slow progress and the great distance Gerard de Rooy was able to put between himself and the Dutch pilot today allowed Team PETRONAS De Rooy Iveco to make it to the top of the Dakar, but the team still has five stages ahead of it to defend this privileged position.
The Iveco Trakkers also had a good day, with Ton van Genugten finishing 17 minutes and 34 seconds behind De Rooy and Pep Vila ending the day 29 minutes and 15 seconds from the lead. The Spanish pilot took advantage of Iveco's winning streak and broke into the Top 10. That means that, now, 4 of the 10 best trucks in the Dakar are Iveco trucks.
Starting today, the Dakar caravan will once again begin the "marathon" stages, in which the competitors will not be allowed to receive help from their teams at the end of the day and the vehicles will be held for the night in a closed park. This may be a new filter in the competition, considering that the Belén-Belén loop, which begins this Tuesday, may be one of the most complex stages of the race.
Stage 8 Trucks
1. GERARD DE ROOY (NLD), IVECO 4:41:59
2. Nikolaev (RUS), Kamaz – plus 2 minutes 35 seconds
3. Karginov (RUS), Kamaz – plus 5 minutes 23 seconds
4. Valtr (CZE), Tatra – plus 13 minutes 38 seconds
5. Sotnikov (RUS), Kamaz – plus 13 minutes 47 seconds
6. FEDERICO VILLAGRA (ARG), IVECO – plus 14 minutes 35 seconds
9. TON VAN GENUGTEN (NLD), IVECO – plus 17 minutes 34 seconds
11. PEP VILA (SPA), IVECO – plus 29 minutes 15 seconds
General Classification Trucks
1. GERARD DE ROOY (NLD), IVECO 25:49:26
2. Nikolaev (RUS), Kamaz – plus 7 minutes 58 seconds
3. Versluis (NLD), MAN – plus 13 minutes 29 seconds
4. Stacey (NLD), MAN – plus 20 minutes 46 seconds
5. Mardeev (RUS), Kamaz – plus 22 minutes 21 seconds
6. FEDERICO VILLAGRA (ARG), IVECO – plus 24 minutes 39 seconds
7. TON VAN GENUGTEN (NLD), IVECO – plus 41 minutes 3 seconds
10. PEP VILA (SPA), IVECO – plus 1 hour 49 minutes 51 seconds
- ALEŠ LOPRAIS (CZE), IVECO – dropped out
To learn more about Iveco's teams and vehicles and to follow Iveco day-by-day throughout the race, visit www.iveco.com/dakar