It seems very likely that Erik van Loon drove his last Dakar Rally. The driver from Eersel has been doubting his future in the toughest rally in the world for some time now. “It’s just getting too dangerous.” With three crashes in one week, Van Loon describes his week as the toughest in his career.

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    “I was a bit taken aback for a while,” says Van Loon one day after his serious crash in the Dakar Rally. “My navigator saw that and immediately pressed the medical button. Luckily I had nothing afterwards but it was the worst crash of my career.”

    In a hospital, which according to Van Loon was too dirty for words, he started thinking about his future. Something he had done many times before.

    “What is it worth to me to keep driving Dakar Rallies?”, the race car driver still wonders a day later. “They make the roadbooks while driving 30 kilometers per hour, but we drive 130 kilometers per hour. There is only one topper in our category that has not had any problems. This happens too often. You will see enough crashes again today. ”

    “Dakar is an addiction and I just have to break that now”

    He does not want to put the blame entirely on the organization, but wants to indicate that in his eyes it is no longer healthy. “We are in an atmosphere here that crashes are part of it, but at home you hear that dad is lying in a helicopter with a possible broken back. That is not good news.”

    Van Loon is not going to stop rallying anyway. The doubt is purely in the Dakar Rally. And anyone who hears Van Loon talk knows that that decision has actually already been made. “Dakar is an addiction and I just have to break it now. Everyone expects you to be there every year. But whether I will drive the Dakar Rally next year is a big question mark.”

    “I’m Erik van Loon. When I say something I do it like this”

    He is not the first driver to have doubts about a continuation in the toughest rally in the world. Most of them returned ‘normally’, although the feeling of the driver from Eersel is really different now, he says. “I’m Erik van Loon, if I say something then I do it like that.”

    And so it seems that the counter is stuck at thirteen Dakar Rally’s. But it doesn’t seem to disappear completely. He still sees a role as a coach. “Especially if Anja (his wife, ed.) starts driving a truck next year. For her I will now also stay in Saudi Arabia.”

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