Four Ivecos chase Loprais which is under siege

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A thorn in the side: the Praga V4S DKR is the truck that leads the truck classification in the 45th Dakar. Ales Loprais won two stages, but in six specials he always finished in the podium area, showing an extraordinary pace that made regularity and reliability his creed. On the hunt for the Instaforex team’s only vehicle are four Iveco Powerstars who are preparing for the second week of raids with intact chances of final success.

Loprais’ first pursuer is Martin Van der Brink, the 52-year-old Dutchman from Harskamper: yesterday in the second part of the marathon stage, he saw the gap from Prague grow to 16 minutes, after a couple of days in which the difference could be measured in seconds…

“Yesterday we lost some time and it was a real shame – explained Martin -, we suffered an engine problem all day long. We tried to do a reset, but it didn’t help. Mitchel at the beginning he joined us in the bed of a river: we hoped to keep up with him, but we saw him disappear in the distance, continuing at our pace”.

In reality Martin Van den Brink, Erik Kofman and Richard Mouw didn’t breathe until the finish fearing a failure…
“In the neutralization zone we discovered a very hot transfer case, probably because the four-wheel drive remained active even when we were driving on asphalt. The exhaust gas temperature was also too high. In the end it went well because we are here in Riyadh for the rest day”.

The mechanics of the Eurol De Rooy team have changed everything that can be replaced on the Powerstar in view of the second half of this very tough Dakar.

Mitchel Van den Brink’s Iveco Powerstar at the bivouac during the elevation works

Photo by: ASO

Mitchel Van den Brink, Martin’s 20-year-old son, was sent charging in the hope of forcing Loprais to lengthen his pace, but the Czech didn’t let the challenge take over and continued the stage at his pace. “Yesterday there were extreme dunes with very high peaks – reveals Mitchell – but we made no mistakes: the only problem is that the window on the right side broke due to hitting a tree branch. Who had the least fun was the navigator Moi Torrallardona who is sitting on that side!”.

In the final stage of the eighth stage, however, it was Marcin Matik who grabbed Mitchel, losing him before the finish line and taking the fourth partial victory, in addition to the prologue…
“Too bad, we were in the lead for most of the stage, but Macik was a bit faster in the last section. On the fast tracks full of stones he manages to be faster than us ”.

Mitchel pays for a gap of almost two hours from Loprais and can hardly think of returning to battle, but he will be very useful in the delicate phase of the race, when strategy could take over the quality of the means. If Van den Brink jr can point to partial successes after becoming the youngest driver to win a stage at the age of just over 20, Macik looks to the second week of the raid with the expectation of someone who is aware of having the Iveco Powerstar more fast.

#501 MM Technology: Martin Macik Jr., Frantisek Tomasek, David Svanda

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Photo by: ASO

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The vehicle edited by MM Technologies is brand new: after the success in Morocco it confirmed that it is the Powerstar capable of impossible performances for the opponents: the Czech paid up to one day at the start of the raid which had dropped him over an hour behind , but then he found the pace to recover and is now only 47 seconds behind Janus Van Kasteren, third overall with the Iveco of team De Rooy in the Boss Machinery colourway. The Dutch expert is 38’03” behind Loprais, a gap that can easily be closed in a week if he doesn’t commit naive acts like yesterday’s…

“The stage at the beginning was a very treacherous scree. We thought we had a flat right front tire and couldn’t keep the air pressure high enough with the cockpit inflator so at one point we decided to stop to change the tire as the temperature had risen from 90 at 100 degrees”.

#502 Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco: Janus van Kasteren, Darek Rodewald, Marcel Snijders

#502 Boss Machinery Team De Rooy Iveco: Janus van Kasteren, Darek Rodewald, Marcel Snijders

Photo by: ASO

A mistake that cost some time: “Oh sure – continued Janus – it’s easier to change a tire when it’s still whole and not completely… destroyed. Not only that, but only when we stopped did we see that the front left was also deflated. And twenty kilometers further on, the left rear also collapsed”.

At that point the alarm was off because each vehicle has only two escorts…
“From that point forward, Darek has been using the inflation system non-stop to keep the tires at the minimum pressure needed. We took a risk, because the system wasn’t working properly and we hadn’t noticed it. It went well…”.

In short, four Iveco from two different teams (the De Rooy team also has two distinct colors) have the great opportunity to bring the Italian brand back to victory, which has been dry-mouthed since 2016 when it was the team principal, Gerard De Rooy who prevailed.

Without the Russians of Kamaz in the field, Iveco wants to take back the scene, but watch out for the Loprais “mosquito” which continues to sting alone, insole…

The article is in Italian

Tags: Ivecos chase Loprais siege