“Well, the Dakar 2023 really started today. We have been tossed to the lions.” The tenth stage of the rally was an ultra-short one of 114 kilometers, but they counted double, due to the fact that the stage consisted of 90 percent dunes, according to Tim and Tom Coronel. With the 37th time, the brothers were not dissatisfied.
“We have been tossed to the lions”
Tom Coronel – Dakar Co-Driver
The scenery, with only dunes, was beautiful, Tim thought. “Of course it was tough, too. Really toiling on some parts. One time we got stuck and had to dig for a while. That took some time.” The dunes were difficult, but “a thingy with the power” of the Century made the stage to Shaybah extra difficult for Tim and Tim. The radiator fan was broken, which constantly gave a malfunction and automatically the car switched back in power. In third category dunes this is not useful, as power is exactly what is needed to get to the top.
For Tom it also meant double work. Not only did he have to keep an eye on the roadbook and the course, the bike needed his attention as well. “I expressed the alarm a hundred times. I had to be everywhere at once today. It was really exciting, because you don’t know if you’ll get to the top on less power.”
Miraculously, it went well every time. Even on the very last one before the finish. “That was a really steep one where we only just got to the top,” Tom says. “We chose a new track, slightly to the left, to have a little more grip. On the last breath, the car buckled over the top. Because we were so far to the side, we had to go back a bit, because we had passed the finish flag on the wrong side.”
The mechanics are taking extra care of the Century tonight. The marathon stage is scheduled for tomorrow and the day after, with the competitors spending the night in a segregated bivouac, without assistance. So if anything breaks down, Tim and Tom will have to fix it themselves.