The PETRONAS De Rooy IVECO Team drives straigth to the bivouac in Chilecito as the ninth special of 2017 Dakar is suspended due to complications and delays generated by Tuesday’s avalanche in the liaison route.
The world’s toughest Rally Raid is suffering from the harsh Summer weather on the South American mountains. The organisation is forced to cancel at least part of a stage in most Dakar Rallies, but in this year’s edition, 1,395 kilometres have been already lost, and all of them in just five of the nine stages.
An avalanche on Route 9, in the liaison section for the Caravan race in the province of Jujuy, has blocked the road so that vehicles and assistance could not make it to the bivouac in Salta. The Dakar organisation did not have any choice and cancelled the special, so that drivers and teams are making their way safely to the camp in Chilecito.
With only 57% of the race run, Gerard de Rooy’s IVECO Powerstar remains in contention for the lead and is in third place on the podium, just 2m20s behind leader Dmitry Sotnikov. This gap can change dramatically in only one special, so Dakar’s last winner is confident he can repeat his win this year.
“I am third, two minutes behind. That’s hardly any time at all,” stated Gerard de Rooy after finishing yesterday’s shortened stage.
Ton van Genugten’s and Wuf van Ginkel’s IVECO Trakkers are fighting hard to move up into the Top 20, after losing more than six hours for having been stuck in mud a couple of stages ago. They have the perfect truck to reach their goal before the finish in Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile, Federico Villagra with a second IVECO Powerstar, remains among the Dakar’s best five drivers, but he still aims to win a stage and finish in the best possible position.
If the organisation follows its normal course, Stage 10 will link Chilecito and San Juan.
Overall Classification – Dakar 2017
1. Dmitry Sotnikov (Kamaz) 17h52m20s
2. Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) +1m46s
3. Gerard de Rooy (IVECO) +2m20s
4. Federico Villagra (IVECO) +29m06s
5. Pascal de Baar (Renault) +45m34s
21. Ton van Genugten (IVECO) +6h04m25s
23. Wuf van Ginkel (IVECO) + 7h18m17s
Turin, 12 January 2017