|Dakar PreProloog: More then 20,000 spectators at "Pre-Prologue" in Holland.|
For the eighth year running, the Dutch competitors along with television channel RTL 7 have organised a "Dakar Pre-Prologue" before their vehicles head for the port of Le Havre to set sail for Argentina. Nearly all Dutch competitors showed their cars, bikes, buggies and trucks - and made their "own small rally" at the "Eurocircuit Valkenswaard" in the south of the City Eindhoven.
This event, which traditionally brings together the country's riders, drivers and co-pilots, also attracts a significant amount of spectators. More than 20,000 fans of the Dakar came last weekend to watch the vehicles race at the Eurocircuit Valkenswaard, which was specially set up for the occasion with impressive bumps ideal for going airborne.
The stopwatch was already ticking in order to spice up this skirmish between the Dutch before the main battle. Amongst the bikers present, Daniel Willemsen put in the best time, whilst in the car category, Erik Van Loon (Mitsubishi Racing Lancer) confirmed his status as leader of the four-wheeled troop (11th and leading Dutch representative in the last Dakar).
More importantly, the Dutch have a historical attachment for trucks capable of gobbling up dunes and they are preparing themselves for an exceptional vintage this year. The last Dutch winner in the category, Hans Stacey, is making his comeback for this edition, five years after his triumph in Dakar. What's more, he is joining the De Rooy clan, which will be arriving in Mar del Plata with another emblematic driver on a comeback.
Forced to withdraw after three stages of the 2011 edition with a back injury, Gerard De Rooy is back in the running as a pretender for the title, behind the wheel of an Iveco truck.
The heir of the dynasty started as he means to go on with a victory in this pre-prologue: "It's always nice to set off on a good note, in front of so many spectators", he declared after beating the MAN truck of Marcel Van Vliet. "I'm surprised that I was so quick. Of course, the conditions will be different on the Dakar, but this success has the virtue of demonstrating my ambitions."
2011/11/08 | 18:28 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/ASO/HS/KRANZ