|Dakar Rally 2013: Peter van Merksteijn and his Toyota Adventure - with Apps.|
The new year has barely begun, when on Saturday, January 5 in Peru Peter van Merksteijn senior and Eddy Chevaillier will start in the toughest rally in the world. Two weeks and more than 8,500 kilometers later, they hope to reach the finish in Chile.
For those who stay at home: You can now follow the Toyota team in their Overdrive Hilux carrying start number 326 on it’s doors on [ VM-MOTORSPORT.COM ], Facebook and using a special app, available now in the App Store and Google Play.
Preparations for the Dutch-Belgian pairing went well. After the "Italian Baja" in spring Van Merksteijn and Chevaillier participated in the "OiLibya Morocco Rally" in October. Following these tests, the Toyota Hilux of Overdrive Racing from Belgium got a final test in the dunes of Dubai. "We are confident we can get a good result", says Van Merksteijn. "The team is good, the car is good. It will be a realistic target to finish in the top ten, though it is a very tough race."
Late November, in Le Havre the car was loaded on a seagoing vessel, together with 700 other rally cars, assistance-, organizational- and press vehicles. After a three-week trip across the Atlantic including a transit through the Panama Canal, the Toyota is now waiting for the team in the port of Lima. On January 2nd Van Merksteijn and Chevaillier will fly to South America. The following days technical inspection and document checks are scheduled.
157 participants will be competing in a car. In that category Stéphane Peterhansel seems to be the biggest favourite. The Frenchman is a six-times winner on the bike and four times he won in a car. His last triumph was twelve months ago. Like last year 'Mister Dakar' will drive a Mini. His teammates are also contenders: Nani Roma from Spain (second last year and also an earlier winner on the bike), Leonid Novitskiy from Russia and Krzysztof Holowczyc from Poland.
Opposition will mainly come from Nasser Al-Attiyah from Qatar (the 2011 winner) and Carlos Sainz from Spain (winner in 2010), they will both drive a specially built buggy. Among the Toyota Hilux drivers, Giniel de Villiers from South Africa (winner in 2009) undoubtedly will drive for victory, but also his fellow countryman Duncan Vos and the drivers of Overdrive Racing, Lucio Alvarez from Argentina and Peter van Merksteijn from the Netherlands have a chance to finish higher up in the rankings.
Finally, there are three Dutchmen driving a HRX, Bernard ten Brinke (best Dutchman in 2012 on place eight), Erik van Loon and Erik Wevers. There are also a handful of outsiders, including the American Robby Gordon in the spectacular Hummer, who all will drive in the front end of the field.
To follow the race even closer, Van Merksteijn Motorsport developed a special app for mobile phone and tablet. Tracking the Dakar Rally at home is even more fun with the intermediate results and the latest news and images from South America. The Van Merksteijn Motorsport Dakar app is available now in Apple’s App Store and soon in Google Play.
2012/12/27 | 22:47 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/VAN MERKSTEIJN JR