IVECO has once again put its trucks to the test in the toughest rally in the world – the Dakar 2018 – and was right in contention for victory, fighting it out for the lead, before it all went wrong on the penultimate stage.
However, IVECO still finished with two trucks very well placed in the final classification's top ten of the category and also claimed the most stage wins by any truck brand on the rally, having won six of the special stages.
IVECO was actually chasing a third win in the Dakar, having taken the victory in both 2012 and 2016, with Gerard de Rooy, but in the end had to settle for Ton Van Genugten and Artur Ardavichus, both driving for Team De Rooy IVECO, achieving very solid top ten finishes.
Dutch pilot Van Genugten clocked three stage wins, including on the last special stage of the rally, and he finished in eighth place. Van Genugten who has been right in contention for the race lead early on before rolling on the third stage, was joined in the cockpit by Belgian navigator Peter Willemsen and Dutch mechanic Bernard der Kinderen (a former Dakar winner as well, in 2007, with Hans Stacey).
Teammate Artur Ardavichus delivered consistent performances throughout the rally, steadily rising up the classification to complete the Dakar 2018 with a strong fourth place. This result follows on from his debut in the De Rooy IVECO team at the Silk Way Rally last year, when he also finished in fourth place. The Kazakhstani driver, who was accompanied by Belgian navigator Serge Bruynkens and Dutch mechanic Michel Huisman, had previous driven for Kamaz, Tatra and MAN on the Dakar rally, but this was his first time with an IVECO.
There was no joy for the third IVECO entry driven by Federico Villagra. The Argentinean driver took the lead on the tenth stage, the Fiambalá Super Special, and going into the penultimate stage he led the rally by just 1-second. It looked like there was going to be a real showdown for victory, however, early on in the second to last stage it went all very wrong as he suffered a puncture which took time to replace and then the gearbox broke, only one gear remained in working order and he had to retire. On the way Villagra acquitted himself superbly, taking two stage wins, his first ever on the Dakar, and making a total of eight trips to the podium.
"IVECO's vehicles once again proved right their reputation for outstanding off-road performance in the two toughest rally races in the world: the Africa Eco Race 2018 and the Dakar 2018,” commented Pierre Lahutte, IVECO brand President. “These results put the spotlight on the quality and reliability of IVECO's off-road vehicles, which consistently perform at the top on the harsh trails and extreme conditions of these rallies. I would like to thank our pilots and their teams for the determination they have shown in bringing home these important achievements."
FPT Industrial powered the winning team with its Cursor 13, 13-litre engines, specially engineered for this challenging race. The engine can reach a maximum power of up to 1,000 hp and its reliability is assured by FPT Industrial’s long-lasting experience in on-road long haul missions. This engine has proven its robustness and turned in top performance in many rally-raid races, such as recent editions of the Dakar.
Dakar 2018 Final Result (Truck category):
1. Eduard Nikolaev (Kamaz) 54h 57m 37s
2. Siarhei Viazovich (Maz) + 3h 57m 17s
3. Airat Mardeev (Kamaz) + 5h 22m 34s
4. Artur Ardavichus (IVECO) + 6h 38m 22s
5. Martin Macik (Liaz) + 7h 58m 45s
8. Ton Van Genugten (IVECO) + 9h 24m 54s
Photos: Dakar 2018 - Team De Rooy IVECO