Gerard de Rooy has to pass his 1st place to Vladimir Tchaguine, but has firm control of the 2nd place. Jan de Rooy made up lost ground Keeping his cards close to his chest, Gerard de Rooy passed his first real special, indeed a bit behind last...
Gerard de Rooy has to pass his 1st place to Vladimir Tchaguine, but has firm control of the 2nd place.
Jan de Rooy made up lost ground
Keeping his cards close to his chest, Gerard de Rooy passed his first real special, indeed a bit behind last year's winner Tchaguine, but amply before the second Kamaz pilot, Firdaus Kabirov.
Father Jan proved he still has a thorough command of his steerage. "The Bear from Son", like they call him in France, kept the 8th place whole day long and could have performed better but truck number 411 got stuck in the sand and lost 15 minutes. He Finished 8th at 49.42 minutes behind the winner, so he did a very good job.
Today's stage reflected all testing that the competitors will go through during this rally. Long tracks, a lot of stones, sand and dunes and finally a tough piece of navigation in the Chebbib Erg.
A stage of 575 kilometers had to be done after the start in Er Rachidia, which is the place of birth of Mohamed El Bouzidi, a respected member of the Team Gauloises de Rooy and the navigator of the service truck driven by Leo Donkers. Ouarzazate is the door to the South, to the sand that gets into the pores.
Youngest De Rooy did a cunning race. Yesterday he had no problem at all and all his truck with number 417 needed was a service. However he knew that today he had to suffer a great deal from both Kamaz pilots Tchaguine and Kabirov. At checkpoint 2, after 129 kilometers, the 23-years old Dutchman was 44 seconds ahead of Kabirov and 2.38 minutes of Tchaguine. During the 100 kilometers after checkpoint 2, de Rooy could no longer withstand Tchaguine's attack. The Russian did this part of the special that fast that he changed his 2.38 minutes arrears into an edge of 1.24 minutes. Kabirov couldn't keep up with these gamecocks and had to step back. In the end the youngest truck driver finished after 337 kilometers at 4.23 minutes behind Tchaguine, who gained his first victory in this year's rally. Tatra pilot André de Azevedo who finished 2nd in the rally last year, passed Kabirov in the last 100 kilometers and finished 3rd at 13.01 minutes. Kabirov took the 4th place at 23.07 minutes. Hans Bekx finished 11th at 1.08.59 hour.
Jan de Rooy had a late start due to yesterday's stage. In this case that fit in very well as the repairs on the track rod and replacing the brake tubes took them a few hours until early this morning. "But the truck is outstanding again," reported Jan de Rooy before he left at 01.00 p.m. for the Special. From the first meters onwards he kept the 8th place. The final 8th place brought him back in the overall league from the 46th to the 11th place, however at a respectable distance of 1.31.51 hours behind Tchaguine. "The difference is bigger than last year when I also had a bad day in Morocco. If the Russian makes no mistakes and suffers no break downs, it will be hard to come closer," stated Jan after he arrived at the bivouac.
A bit further on Gerard looks back upon the day: "It was a mug's game to take risks today. Too many stones and the ground was too hard," knew Gerard de Rooy while working on the vehicles, "this was not our track. All we had to do was to keep down the damage to a minimum and we succeeded quite well." In the meantime Robert van den Broek is carrying out some welding works on a craze in the chassis: "That will be ok, tomorrow the truck will be like new again," laughs the man who once started as a welder for de Rooy, so a man who knows the tricks of the trade.
Tchaguine now takes command, being 2.46 minutes ahead of young Gerard, 16.43 minutes of de Azevedo and 21.43 minutes of Kabirov. Hans Bekx takes the 9th place at 1.12.13 hour.
Leader of the overall standing in the motorbike league, Isidre Esteve Pujol, did very well. The Spaniard had the fastest time. His country fellow Nani Roma needed 16 seconds more. Fabrizio Meoni, who was on the lead at checkpoint 2 after 219 kilometres, finished 3rd at 22 seconds. Despres took the 4th place and the unknown Andy Caldecott took the 5th place at 3.47 minutes. Alfie Cox finished 6th at 4.26 minutes. Last year's winner Richard Sainct finished 8th at 5.14 minutes, Eric Verhoef took the 32nd place at 44.58 minutes behind the winner.
Pujol stays on the lead in the overall standing, being 36 seconds ahead of two times DAKAR winner Meoni. Despres takes the 3rd place at 59 seconds. Roma and Cox are on the 4th and 5th place. Sainct takes the 9th place at 10.56 minutes and Eric Verhoef 29th at 51.42 minutes.
Peterhansel clocked the fastest time in the car league. He kept his rival Hiroshi Masuoka 4.35 minutes behind him. Giniel de Villiers finished 3rd. The Nissan Pilot needed 12.55 minutes more than the French Mitsubishi pilot. De Mevius, McRae and Schlesser followed at a respectful distance. Ari Vatanen had to contend with mechanical problems before he arrived at the first checkpoint. In the end he finished 20th at 39.14 minutes. Best Dutchman was Bob ten Harkel, he finished 51st
Peterhansel strengthened his lead in the overall standing. Peterhansel became later in the evening a time penalty from 5 minutes for pushing his car at a checkpoint. His lead in the overall standing to Masuoka dropped to 1.12 minutes.. Gregoire de Mevius takes the 3rd place at 10.33 minutes, Alphand is at the 4th place at 10.57 minutes. De Villiers and McRae are 5th and 6th. Ari Vatanen went down to the 16th place at 35.42 minutes behind Peterhansel. The Dutchmen Ab Olde Scheper and Pierre Karsmakers were forced to give up due to engine problems.
Tomorrow's stage goes to Tan Tan, a distance of 803 kilometers, containing a special of 351 kilometers across fast tracks in the beginning. However later on the pilots have to watch out; danger is lurking everywhere.
To be continued . . .