Team MAN stage 1 report

Succesful baptism

Dakar rookie Peter passed his baptism of fire successfully. On the first stage, from Buenos Aires to Cordoba with a sleepover in Victoria, Peter took the wheel of the VeKa MAN. For some Dutch truckers the stage was a nightmare but Peter arrived at the bivouac unharmed.

"It was thrilling. It was my debut, but we did fine. Navigator Pieter told me every now and then not to get too excited, because the danger of overconfidence is never far away. Just a small mistake and you could be out of the rally", a noticeable relieved Peter commented on the first real day of rallying. "Especially on the fast trials we had a great time, but I still had some trouble negotiating the narrow parts. Those are the moments you have to be aware, so when you have an "oops-moment" you still have a margin to handle it."

Peter, Cor and Pieter experienced driving - or better racing, because that is more how it feels - a Dakar truck is hard for a rookie when it comes to choosing the setup. If your tyre pressure is too high the handling of the truck is completely different. "We went out on tyres with just over 5.5 bar of pressure, but 4 bar would have been a better choice. After we released some pressure the handling immediately improved, we had more grip. Later we were told we could have even lowered it to 3 bar. We just keep on learning", Peter admitted. With a smile and in his familiar cool humour Cor added: "We have not yet completely mastered this game..."

The bizarre accident Wuf van Ginkel had made it very clear danger is always lurking around in the Dakar rally. Stay alert, keep a good pace but do not try to be a daredevil. With this in mind Cor, Peter and Pieter will continue the rally. "You always have to keep an eye on the spectators at the side of the road. They are so eager to get a good view they sometimes jump right in front of the truck. Very reckless", according to Cor. Peter could only confirm this. "The locals stunned me by walking on the tracks. All we can do is sound the horn and hope no one will cross right in front of you, because if they do there is no point in braking any more."

Today Cor will take the wheel from Peter. The second stage will lead north from Cordoba to Tucuman, where the temperatures are close to forty degrees Celsius at the moment. The stage for the cars and trucks is a bit different from the one scheduled for the bikes and quads. The two wheel acrobats will go over familiar terrain with some nice jumps. The cars and trucks are looking at a bumpy course as well with a lot of bulges, bumps and blind corners. It will be a challenging day.

-source: team man

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Series Dakar