The Africa Eco Race is over for Wuf van Ginkel. The FPT Cursor engine of the Iveco Powerstar can not be repaired in a way that it is safe to continue. Gerard de Rooy is therefore on his own in the second week of the rally, but he still sees chances on a podium.
It is the first time in ten years that the Iveco engine has a problem and it is precisely because of this that it can not be solved now. “We have never had any troubles with the engine. It has proved te be so reliable over the years that we hardly have any parts with us”, explains Gerard de Rooy on the rest day in Dakhla, where earlier today the decision was taken that it was useless for Van Ginkel to continue the race. “We can’t solve it well enough”, adds Van Ginkel. “We have had contact with FPT, the tuner, and they do not think it is justified. The chance of consequential damage is too big. It’s just bad luck. This is the same engine that Team De Rooy has been driving for years, the same as what Gerard and the three trucks in the Dakar Rally have.”
Van Ginkel and his crew will therefore fly back to the Netherlands tomorrow. His truck will be put on the trailer. After the Africa Eco Race, the team will speak with Iveco and the engine will be disassembled. “The most frustrating thing is that it has nothing to do with the new car,” says Van Ginkel. “It works great. It is a real shame pity that we can’t participate in the second week.”
In the second part of the Africa Eco Race, the dunes in Mauritania are on the menu: exactly what Petronas Team De Rooy Iveco was looking forward to. Gerard de Rooy will have to do it on his own, without Van Ginkel’s backup. “That means I have to adjust my strategy a bit,” De Rooy says. “I will have to drive a little more carefully.”
In the first week, De Rooy scored a deficit of 2.40.43 compared to standings leader Vladimir Vasilyev; a gap that is bigger than he expected. “The routes in Morocco were too fast. The cars sometimes drove at 200 km, while we are limited to 150. In the stage yesterday my average speed was 120, while the Mini from Vasilyev reached 147 kilometres per hour.”
Nevertheless, De Rooy has not yet put a podium position out of his mind. Winning will be difficult, he realizes, but in the dunes nothing is impossible. “There are certainly opportunities there, because the difference in speed is less and my Powerstar is better off in that terrain. Vasilyev only needs to get stuck once and it is very different.”