IVECO has kicked off the New Year with an important rally-raid victory after Gerard De Rooy driving an IVECO Powerstar truck won the Africa Eco Race 2018 having dominating the tough North African rally-raid from start to finish.
The Africa Eco Race 2018 edition comprised of 12 stages and 6,500 km spread across three countries – five stages held in Morocco, six in Mauritania and finally one in Senegal – fierce competition across breathtaking landscapes over fast rocky tracks and challenging dunes, before the surviving drivers and their crews finally reached the shores of Lake Rose in Senegal to celebrate their achievements.
De Rooy, who drives for Team De Rooy IVECO, enjoyed an extra special twist to his victory as this year the Africa Eco Race - which has filled the gap left by the Dakar's migration to South America - celebrated its tenth anniversary and welcomed a record number of competitors, with more than one hundred vehicles and nearly 200 riders at the startline in Monaco.
De Rooy, who has twice previously won the Dakar Rally for IVECO, maintained a lead over the other trucks throughout the rally, the Dutch driver proving equally adept on the fast, rocky tracks as well as the extremely soft sand dunes.
IVECO, official supplier of Team De Rooy IVECO for the past eight consecutive years, provided the Africa Eco Race’s winning team with vehicles, engines and spare parts. The reliability of IVECO trucks comes from this extreme experience, where every part of the truck is put to the hardest test that could exist. Equipped with IVECO Cursor 13 engines – specially engineered by FPT Industrial, CNH Industrial’s powertrain brand – the vehicles deliver up to 1000 hp of power.
The final stage saw the teams competing over the short, final burst of the traditional last leg around Lake Rose, near Dakar. Crowds came out in force to encourage the competitors and celebrate the winners as they took their place on the podium situate on the lake's beach.
At the finish line, De Rooy looked back on what he called ‘old school Dakar’. “I had a really nice rally, he said."
It had been eleven years since De Rooy had been in Mauretania and Senegal for the last time, but little had changed, he noticed. “It is just as beautiful as the last time.”
He couldn’t win the Africa Eco Race overall – the buggies and the Mini were too fast compared to the trucks – but De Rooy was satisfied. “I enjoyed both the beautiful specials and the toughness. That was what it was all about in the first place, having fun again. They were long specials, but still short days because we had almost no connection. I really look back on it with a very good feeling.”
Photos: Team De Rooy IVECO - Africa Eco Rally 2018