Dakar: Wuf Van Ginkel - GINAF Rally Power interview

Wuf Van Ginkel: Better prepared than ever Before setting off he meticulously arranges his clothes in his trunk. It's the last thing he has to do before the big departure. Monday, Wulfert Van Ginkel sets off at precisely 9am towards the ...

Wuf Van Ginkel: Better prepared than ever

Before setting off he meticulously arranges his clothes in his trunk. It's the last thing he has to do before the big departure.

Monday, Wulfert Van Ginkel sets off at precisely 9am towards the Paris region, the first leg in a 2400 km voyage to reach his destination of Lisbon. With the hope of at least repeating his fourth place finish last year on the horizon.

Q: How did you manage to 4th on the 2007 Dakar?

WVG: We were the most surprised. We spent the year testing the truck and when we turned up at the start, we didn't know what we were capable of doing. We soon realised that we were staying up with the Kamazs. We were just as fast as they were. The performance of the truck -- which was a big question mark prior to the start -- proved to be excellent. We made the best of it.

Q: Is the Ginaf truck that will compete in the 2008 Dakar essentially the same as last year?

WVG: Yes. We concentrated on a few details, like the tyres. We had pressure problems, resulting in the tyres losing air. The defected system has been corrected. The organisation also informed us that the motor produced too much smoke. We took care of this and now there's more air entering the engine. The problem is resolved. We conducted some tests in Germany to fine tune the suspension system last week. It's done now, we're ready. Well, as soon as I finish packing my baggage.

Q: What are your chances for this year?

WVG: We all have a chance because the truck, Willem (Tijsterman), Richard (De Rooy) and I are better prepared than ever. In addition, this year's sandy route fits us to a tee. Our ambition is quite clear: to win the Dakar, if possible in 2008, if not the following year. We will try to be in the top ten during the opening days of the race and then when the stages lengthen, we will run our race. But I don't want to waste too much time. Anything can happen on the Dakar. And when you take a look at the competition, you have to remain humble. Among the other contenders, my favourites are, of course, the Kamazs but there are also the MAN team led by Stacey and Ales Loprais in the TATRA

-credit: ginaf

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Series DAKAR