The competition in the 2006 Dakar's truck category thinned out unexpectedly before the start of the event. The organizers disqualified the DAF trucks of the Gauloises de Rooy and Hans Bekx team Sport, both teams credible contenders for the truck victory.
The trucks were violated section 25.4 of the rulebook, as well as the whole of article 25P1: "Any vehicle that is not in conformity can't be cleared to start the rally."
"The marshals found out that the trucks didn't stick to the required documents," explained Robert Lagulhon, the president of the jury. "We heard what the participants had to say which is normal in such a case. And then we took our decision."
It appears that parts on the DAFs do not correspond, in six separate instances, to the official FIA homologation documents. As both teams' vehicles had the same issue, it would seem that the discrepancy has its roots at the DAF factory rather than at either team.
The absence of the big DAFs now leaves Kamaz an even stronger favorite, but the highly experienced Loprais Tatra and Sugawara Hino teams will give chase to the Russians, and Motorsport Italia will be hoping that their new Iveco Trakkers are up to the task of challenging the established order.
"Concerning the De Rooy trucks, if they aren't allowed to start, I feel sorry for them and for the truck event," Yoshimasa Sugawara summed up the feelings of all the competitors. "But there are rules and one has to respect them!"