It was already predicted that the 11th and 12th stages of the 2023 Dakar Rally would be tough. Together they make up the marathon stage in the inhospitable Empty Quarter. In the bivouac at the finish, where they recorded the 25th fastest time, Tim and Tom Coronel had to recover for a while. “Wow, such epic dunes. Holy moly.”
“Wow, such epic dunes. Holy moly”
Tom Coronel – Dakar Co-Driver
Tom Coronel was heavily impressed with the terrain in the 275-long stage. “There were such big guys among them that we couldn’t make it up them in one go. When we were almost at the top, the engine started stuttering a bit. One time we even had to turn around. It really didn’t come naturally today. We had to work hard for it.”
These were not only big dunes, but also mean ones, Tom found. “When you came over the ridge and looked into a deep hole, one of those funnels. You weren’t supposed to fall into that, because then you had a problem.” “If you fall in there, you’re done,” Tim adds. “You don’t just get out of that. We saw Janus van Kasteren’s truck in it, nose-first into a dune. Mitchel van den Brink was there with a tow rope, but that took them a while.”
Even in the final part of the stage, Tim and Tom still saw many cars stuck. “It was a fierce today,” said Tim, “A real Dakar day and a very fat stage, but I still hope tomorrow is a little less fierce.”
The glitch in the engine did cause Tim some concern. “We have to see if we can fix that, because then it will be absolutely perfect.” Only: in the marathon bivouac there are no mechanics and Tim and Tom have to fix it themselves, possibly with help from other participants.