Gerardus de Rooy So despite last year's spectacular crash you are back alongside your father for a second go? Of course we are coming back. Once you have got 'Dakar fever' you can't stay away! Last year you ran into a few technical...
Gerardus de Rooy
So despite last year's spectacular crash you are back alongside your father for a second go?
Of course we are coming back. Once you have got 'Dakar fever' you can't stay away!
Last year you ran into a few technical problems, particularly with suspension. Are you sure you won't have the same problems again in 2004?
Hopefully not! We have been testing in France and Morocco and everything went fine. Last year the suspension was running a 130 degrees centigrade and in tests since it was only up to 89 degrees - and we weren't driving slowly! Apart from that, we have made a lot of detail changes and concentrated especially on getting the weight distribution right.
How will the team be organised this year and will there be any team orders from 'Dad'?
My father and I will be racing a truck each and we will have two assistance trucks -- 12 people in total. As far as team orders are concerned, there aren't any. If however something happens that means one of us is no longer in contention then obviously he will help the other.
Everybody is saying that the 2004 edition is going to be hard. Do all these predictions make you nervous?
No not at all. Last year I was nervous before the start, but once I started racing I began to enjoy myself so much that I forgot all about being nervous. In fact I would say it was the best time of my life. Concerning the difficulty of this year's rallye I think we will just have to take it stage by stage. What I noticed last year was that the days the organisers announced as difficult might have been hard for the bikes but were easy for the trucks and visa versa, and I am inclined to think that will be the same in 2004.
Finally, you work with your father in the family business and no doubt talk trucks and racing all year. Doesn't it drive the rest of the family mad?
Not at all. Last year there were some bad moments for the family, for example when I had my crash, but there were many more good moments. Of course we talk about the race a lot, we are preparing for it all year, but the whole family is in to it, it is like a big hobby, and it brings us all together.