Team PETRONAS De Rooy IVECO placed its two IVECO Powerstar trucks in the top 10 in the first stage of the tough rally raid competition. Gerard de Rooy crossed the finish line in third position, followed by Wuf Van Ginkel in sixth, having tackled the difficult stony and dusty conditions of the track.
The 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race is underway, with a record number of competitors. The participants started early in the morning of Tuesday 2nd January in the Moroccan port town of Nador, with the short, 92-km first stage taking them from Ameziane to Merada, across cultivated areas with hard ground on tracks made of mostly gravel and rocks. This is familiar terrain for the Team PETRONAS De Rooy IVECO pilots Gerard De Rooy and Wuf Van Ginkel, who have both driven on rallies in Morocco in the past.
Gerard De Rooy, Team leader, made his mark right from the first stage of the competition on board his #400 IVECO Powerstar with his experienced co-pilot Moi Torrallardona and the technical support of mechanic Darek Rodewald. He finished in third position, 5’25” behind the leader, Russian Vladimir Vasilyev. He was careful on this first stage to avoid the risk of punctures on the stony ground of the track.
Wuf Van Ginkel finished in sixth position on the second IVECO Powerstar (#403) with co-pilot Erik Kofman and mechanic Bert van Donkelaar.
The Sentinel warning system that signals the arrival of a faster vehicle or a stationary one on the track was not working on any of the trucks, making it difficult to overtake: “it took a lot of time to overtake small SSVs and slower cars took a lot of time” commented Gerard de Rooy.
The second stage will take the competitors on a 443-km route, which will include the renowned dune section of Erg Chebbi.