Being able to rely on yourself in the Dakar, and knowing how to use the equipment sparingly, is important in the marathon stage. If there’s one thing Tim and Tom Coronel have learned over the years, it’s just that. Among other things, that experience has brought the brothers a lot in the marathon stage – the combination of stages 7 and 8, without service in the bivouac. Three places in the general rankings for example, where they are now 27th.
Tim and Tom know the tricks of the trade. And so they also understand what the traps are that the route compilers deliberately set down. “They try to disorient you and tempt you to demolish the car on the stones and rocks,” Tim explains after arriving at the Neom bivouac at the end of the eighth stage. “You really have to have the patience not to go too fast, otherwise you will destroy at least the tires.”
It was seriously difficult in the 375 km stage from Sakaka to Neom. Not only in terms of the environment, but also in terms of navigation. “They had put the waypoints in sneaky places that were difficult to reach,” remarked Tom, “but we got through reasonably well.”
Tim complimented his brother on the navigational work. “Because Tom navigates so well, I can keep up to speed. It gives so much confidence when that goes well. It also makes a big difference that the car holds up so nicely and that we don’t have to hurt it too much. We dare to take more risks.” Tom: “Nothing chucks off, we don’t hear strange noises, it just feels good. Then I can also say to Tim: ‘Go a little faster’. Twice I had to say that he had to go back down a bit, because we were going a little too fast in my opinion. Once when we were in the dust, once when the car started jumping in the rough terrain.”
Twice the brothers stopped briefly to help an SRT lying on its side and once with a car that needed a tire. “But that was a different size, so we couldn’t help,” says Tim. “Furthermore, we were able to keep rolling. It was beautiful, in the sand, between the rocks, from dune top to dune top. Fantastic stages, really Dakar worthy.”
After two stages with rankings in 25th place, the mechanics are allowed to take care of The Beast again in Neom, but more than “a small service” is not necessary, according to Tom. “We didn’t break anything. Both us and The Beast are ready for the next round, a loop near Neom. If the scenery is as beautiful as it was today… We are privileged.”