On the eighth day of the Dakar Rally in January 2022, Tim and Tom Coronel had to decide to throw in the towel due to a back injury to Tim. On the eve of the 2023 Dakar Rally, the brothers picked up where they left off. In the two test laps they drove near the Sea Camp on the Red Sea, they quickly got the hang of it.
“Less dust and a faster pace.”
Tom Coronel – Dakar Co-Pilot
Prior to the shakedown in Saudi Arabia, Tim and Tom had already agreed that they would start at pace right away. “Usually Tim needs some time to get into it,” says Tom, “but now he was right on target and went full throttle.”
The course that had been laid out by the organization for the participants to test was quite technical, but there was all kinds of things in it that made it a serious test course. “Also in terms of navigation,” Tom noticed. “I had to get used to the tablet again. The markings were good, going between trees and around a hill, but there were also some sneaky little things in there, so navigation skills were also immediately refreshed.”
In the test, the brothers also tried out the changes to the Century again. “We didn’t test much, because there are no major changes to the car, but we did get the latest specs from Century, a different suspension, different shock absorbers. Call it fine tuning,” Tom said.
“We want to pick up right where we left off last year. We’ve become a little more critical not to give away too much of what the car has in terms of performance. That we can do that, we saw last year.”
That means, for example, that for Saturday morning’s prologue, an 11-kilometer loop at Sea Camp, the two spare wheels will come off. “That saves 100 kilos,” Tom says. “In the unlikely event of a flat, we’ll make it to the finish on the rim. Changing a tire takes more time. We’re not going to do that. We want to start the first stage among the first thirty. That’s a different starting point and requires a different attitude from us. Fewer cars in front of you, so less dust and a faster pace. We are not going to start quietly, but immediately full on.”