In January 2022, Tim and Tom Coronel had to decide to throw in the towel on the eighth day of the Dakar Rally because of a back injury that hit Tim. On the eve of the Dakar 2023, the brothers picked up the thread where they left off then. In two laps around the test track near the Sea Camp on the shore of the Red Sea, they quickly got a taste for it.
Prior to the shakedown in Saudi Arabia, Tim and Tom had already agreed that they would immediately start at pace. “Usually, Tim needs some time to build up the pace and get used to it,” says Tom, “but he was right on it and went full gas.”
The course that had been set out by the organization was quite technical, but had everything in it, making it a serious test track. “Also in terms of navigation,” noted Tom. “I had to get used to the tablet again. The markings were good, in between trees and around a hill, but there were also some sneaky things in it, so that the navigation skills were also refreshed immediately.”
In the test, the brothers also tried the latest changes to the Century. “We have not tested much beforehand, because there are no major changes in the car, but we do have the latest new specs from Century, a different wheel suspension, other shock absorbers. Call it fine tuning,” says Tom.
“We want to continue where we stopped last year. We have become a bit more critical not to give away too much of what the car can do in terms of performance. Last year we saw that we are capable of.”
That means, for example, that for the prologue Saturday morning, a loop of 11 kilometres near the Sea Camp, the two spare wheels are left in the bivouac. “That is 100 kilos less,” says Tom. “If we have a puncture, we will reach the finish on the rim. Changing a tire takes more time. Loosing time is not part of the plan. We want to start the first stage in the top 30. That is a different starting point and requires a different attitude from us. Fewer cars in front of us, so less dust and a faster pace. We are not going to start quietly this time around, but immediately full on it.”