Despite leading the event for several stages and successfully battling terrible conditions, Team De Rooy had to settle for 3rd and 4th places in the truck category of the 2017 Dakar.
Driving Iveco Powerstar 4X4s equipped with standard Goodyear ORD tyres, Dutchman Gerard De Rooy in truck #500 and Argentinian Federico Villagra in truck #502 covered 8,500 kilometers of the challenging terrain, finishing close behind the two Russian Kamaz trucks. The remaining two Team De Rooy trucks finished a creditable 16th and 17th out of the 50 trucks that entered.
“The aim this year was at least a podium, and we achieved that. We had one bad day, and you can’t really blame anyone for that. I can live with third place,” said Gerard De Rooy. “Navigation was the decisive factor in this Dakar. It’s fine if it’s difficult. It’s supposed to be difficult. I liked the fact that things changed from day to day as everyone made mistakes. But it was a bit too hard at some points, because it wasn’t clear what they meant. As ever tyres played a crucial role but this year the weather conditions made tyre performance more important than ever. Our continued partnership with Goodyear meant we had the best possible tyres and set up for our team in the world’s most challenging race.”
Team De Rooy again chose 375/90R22.5 Goodyear ORD truck tyres for the race trucks and Goodyear Omnitrac MSD II mixed service tyres for the service trucks. The choice of tyre was due to the close collaboration between Team De Rooy and Goodyear that saw Gerard De Rooy win last year and Federico Villagra take 3rd. Goodyear has enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Team De Rooy and worked extensively to ensure the best possible tyre combinations and set-up for the trucks.
“We congratulate Gerard De Rooy on his podium finish. The terrible conditions endured by the entrants this year, with roads being washed away and deep mud, underlined just how vital tyres were in this event,” said Benjamin Willot, Director Marketing Commercial Tyres at Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We are proud to support Gerard and his team yet again, not only with our products, but with the support of our engineers who have worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that the Team De Rooy trucks have the best possible grip, reliability and set up for what is without doubt the world’s toughest test for tyres.”
For 12 days, driver Gerard De Rooy, co-driver Moises Torrallardona and mechanic Darek Rodewald battled some of the toughest terrain to be found anywhere to beat off the 49 other trucks in the rally. They started in Asuncion, Paraguay on January 2 driving mainly off-road, continued through Bolivia and down into Buenos Aries, Argentina where the event ended on January 14. The 11 stages (one stage was cancelled due to weather conditions) of the Dakar covered some 8,500 kilometers including mud slides, deserts, high mountains and rocks. In all, more than 300 bikes, quads, cars, utility vehicles and trucks took part in the rally with 222 classed as finishing.