In a short special of only 39 timed kilometres, Ton van Genugten’s IVECO Trakker finished in second place, ahead Gerard de Rooy’s and Federico Villagra’s IVECO Powerstars, who opened the way at the beginning of the race.
Gerard de Rooy paced himself on this first stage and finished fifth, placing a second IVECO truck in the first five.
Federico Villagra closed the day in ninth position, placing a third IVECO truck in the top ten.
The 39th edition of Dakar Rally is underway. The participants started early in the morning in Asunción, Paraguay, and headed to Resistencia, in Argentina. Although just 39 kilometres long, this first stage was a particularly tough timed drive on Paraguayan soil.
Ton van Genugten was IVECO’s man of the day, finishing the stage just 13 seconds behind the leader, Martin Kolomy with Tatra. The Dutchman, behind the wheel of the IVECO Trakker #507, benefited from the leaders opening the roads ahead of him, and he managed to maintain the pace that led him to the second best time of the day.
Gerard de Rooy did exactly what he had said he would, and didn’t push his truck 100% on the first day, as the stage was short, the risks very high and the chances of gaining a big advantage were small.
“We deflated the tyres because we had a problem in a system, but this was after the special, during the liasion. We didn’t lose race time. In the stage we did a great job. We weren’t the fastest, but we focused on not losing time,” remarked Gerard de Rooy.
Gerard de Rooy, Dakar winner in 2012 and 2016, closed the special in the 5th place, 42 seconds behind the leader, placing a second IVECO truck in the Top 5.
Wuf van Ginkel had a hard time of the stage between Asunción-Resistencia with the IVECO Trakker #525. The Dutchman lost too much time on the road and finished 20 minutes behind the leader, falling back past the 40th position. This will leave him starting at the back of the field tomorrow and he will not be able to provide quick assistance to his Iveco teammates should they need it.
Federico Villagra, with the other IVECO Powerstar, didn’t take risks in this first stage and achieved a 9th place, with his sights set on climbing the classification in the coming days. The Argentine driver finished 1m26s behind de leader, placing a third IVECO truck in the top 10 of the day.
On Tuesday, the competitors will drive from Resistencia to San Miguel de Tucumán, in the north of Argentina. It will be a long day, with 812 kilometres for Trucks, with 275 of them timed for the special stage.
Stage 1 Results – Dakar 2017
1. Martin Kolomy (Tatra) 30m00s
2. Ton van Genugten (IVECO) +13s
3. Martin van den Brink (Renault) +25s
4. Ales Loprais (Tatra) +31s
5. Gerard de Rooy (IVECO) +42s
9. Federico Villagra (IVECO) +1m26s
42. Wuf van Ginkel (IVECO) +20m02s
Turin, 3 January 2017