Janus van Kasteren won the second stage in the Dakar Rally with the trucks on Monday with force majeure. The Iveco driver finished almost fifteen minutes ahead of the number two. The first victory of the Veldhoven driver is not yet definitive, because he would have missed a so-called waypoint. In that case, he would receive a time penalty that throws him back into the result.
Van Kasteren’s day win is a nice boost for Team de Rooy. Earlier in the day, his teammate Vick Versteijnen from Hilvarenbeek retired with a broken engine. Yet there is no jubilation at the finish. “We haven’t won yet, it remains to be seen,” says Van Kasteren when he gets out of his truck.
During the last sand dunes of the 430 kilometer stage, each driver has to reach a so-called waypoint. That is a checkpoint on the route. Missing one will result in a 15 minute time penalty. “I ask navigator Marcel if we have it and he says yes. Only here at the finish it now appears that one tablet has taken the waypoint and the other tablet has not.”
Here’s how: in the Iveco truck there are two iPads, each with its own antenna to register the waypoints. Participants do not literally have to drive over it, you get a few meters of leeway. “The jury told me that the tablet that didn’t take the waypoint is the one that counts,” says Van Kasteren. He has a logical explanation for the problem. “There is a meter between those two antennas on the roof and it still requires precision.”
Van Kasteren cannot enjoy the stage win, knowing that a penalty is hanging over his head. “If you have the waypoint on one tablet, then it’s good, isn’t it? It’s about making it,” the driver sighs. The team is considering filing a protest if the race management imposes a time penalty.
Nevertheless, Van Kasteren does look back positively on the second Dakar special. “It was a super day, although it was very narrow for the trucks.” If his stage victory stands, he hits a big blow. He not only takes his first day victory in the Dakar Rally, but also the lead in the general classification.
End of Dakar Rally for trucker Vick Versteijnen
Janus van Kasteren is the top favorite to win the Dakar Rally in his truck