Gerard De Rooy has immediately demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that Iveco wins its second Dakar, after the success of 2012. In fact, following a tough, fast but also treacherous first stage, De Rooy has come back strongly winning the second stage and putting himself at the top of the leaderboard.
The 2014 Dakar started out on Saturday, 5th January, with a stage between Rosario and San Luis along 180 timed kilometres. Gerard De Rooy finished the first stage in fourth position, only 1m 33s away from Ayrat Mardeev’s Kamaz. It was a tough stage despite having been short; in fact, the roads were very narrow and slippery for the 300 vehicles that had to cross over. Despite these complications, the Iveco Powerstar enabled De Rooy to remain on the heels of the race leader.
In the second stage Iveco’s drivers De Rooy and Stacey have shown their determination to fight for victory, resulting in a win in the Special for De Rooy and a fourth place for Stacey. A tricky special of 400km on the route from San Luis to San Rafael with many slopes, dunes and almost no overtaking opportunities proved to be difficult.
Gerard de Rooy: “We performed very strong today. We forced nothing and drove continuously behind Mardeev who had started six minutes ahead of us. At 313 kilometres it all went wrong for him. In a narrow canyon Mardeev rolled on his roof and because we were right behind him we were the first truck at the scene and of course it was our sporting duty to help him. Because the road was narrow, after helping to right the vehicle we could not pass him. That caused a delay of 23 minutes for us”.
It was a great victory for the Iveco team, which gained the top position in the ranking. Hans Stacey drove a superb race too and crossed the finish line in fourth position, placing him fourth in the overall ranking. A splendid performance for Team Petronas De Rooy Iveco.
The speed of Team Petronas De Rooy Iveco was also demonstrated by Jo Adua in ninth position and Pep Vila being 16th. Their top positions are of great value because they will be able to back up De Rooy and Stacey rapidly in case of emergency.
“For the time being an exciting second stage and a top position. It has already become a severe battle while we have only just left the safe harbour of Rosario. I wonder what Dakar 2014 will bring us in the next days," said Tom Colsoul, De Rooy’s co-driver. "But for now we are in first place”.
Stage 3 will take the competitors from San Rafael to San Juan. Strong winds are expected, with a maximum temperature of 36 degrees Celsius. It will be the last day that the trucks will start behind the cars. From Stage 4 onwards the starting order will be determined by the overall, combined ranking. Today, the route for the trucks and cars has a connection of 292 kilometres, followed by a Special of 301 kilometres and finally a 4.8 kilometre connection to the bivouac in San Juan.