After a rollover, a day of misery and a rest day, it took Tim and Tom Coronel a while to get back into the rhythm of the 2023 Dakar Rally. The dunes at the beginning of the ninth stage helped. “We went through them safely and gradually regained confidence,” Tom says.
“We went through them safely and gradually regained confidence”
Tom Coronel – Dakar Co-Driver
With the growing confidence, the rhythm also returned and the pace went up. “It took some getting used to again,” Tim also points out. “It was also kind of nice to notice how we both got the confidence back. The pace picked up and Tom started to navigate more sharply, which also allowed me to assess what I could do better again. That ran together.”
The 359-kilometer competition test was varied but also erratic, with a stretch of mud at about 130 kilometers. “Tough!”, said Tom. “There were cars stuck there. We saw a helicopter standing there, so we knew it was hard there. We went over it full throttle.” “For a moment I thought I wasn’t going to make it,” Tim adds. “But I saw a dry patch and I went full throttle on that.” The rugged terrain in the middle section reminded Tom of a moonscape. “But worse, with lots of rocks and valleys you had to go through.”
The fast trails in the latter part of the stage posed no problem. At the finish it turned out that gave the brothers the eighteenth time – the best ranking this Dakar. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the results, because the brothers were immediately given an additional 50 hours of penalty time, including for changing the engine. For the standings, they were hopeless anyway.
“It’s nice to be able to drive well again,” says Tom. “At the neutralization we only had 3 minutes, but I still walked around the car to see if everything was okay. Totally perfect!” Tim also raves about the Century, which was pretty much completely rebuilt from scratch on the rest day. “Wow! What a great job the mechanics did,” Tim said, “The car is really super.”