|Dakar Rally 2013: Overdrive Toyota Team "Van Merksteijn" out of the rally.|
Things looked so good. On day three of the Dakar Rally Peter van Merksteijn and Eddy Chevaillier seemed being on track to a nice top twenty result, just like in the first two stages. But even in the huge desert an accident is in a tiny corner.
At high speed the Overdrive Toyota Hilux touched an unexpected rock and bounced over the sand. The team climbed unharmed from the wreck, but the damage to the car was too big to continue.
"Our speed was 150 kilometres per hour on a long and especially very wide plain", navigator Chevaillier said half a day after the accident. "At the end there was a small dip, and behind it a large stone. We were launched and bounced on the ground." The men in the Toyota felt okay, but to be sure the experienced navigator asked for a helicopter of the organization. "It was a hard crash, then you better have a check-up done by a doctor. For safety."
Physically Van Merksteijn and Chevaillier were well, the car was not. Until the assistance truck from the Overdrive Racing team arrived, driver and navigator acted as mechanics to repair the broken front suspension.
Though it was with great delays, they would like to continue the rally. Later in the evening it appeared that in the crash the roll cage of the car was distorted. So the third day in the Dakar Rally also was the last for start number 326.
"Much too soon, of course", and not according to the plan of Chevaillier. "Until the crash, everything went the way we wanted. The first week we would use to find rhythm, the second week we would try to climb the ranking as high as possible." That did not happen. Despite the disappointment Van Merksteijn and Chevallier now will travel a few days with the Dakar Rally caravan. "We want to cross the Andes. To take a look at the other teams and gain experience. Let's hope that we will get the opportunity to drive another Dakar Rally in the future."
2013/01/09 | 11:27 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/VAN MERKSTEIJN