HUIZEN – Tim and Tom Coronel proudly unveiled their car for the 2020 Dakar Rally. With ‘The Beast 3.0’, the Dutch twins again hope to do well in the world’s toughest test for man and machine.
The upcoming running of the event sees the Dakar Rally moving from South America to Saudi Arabia. That will not be making the challenge any lighter, but the duo again aims to achieve a better result than last year. “We do have a serious problem,” Tom Coronel admits, “because I have become addicted. Addicted to the Dakar Rally, the bug has really bitten. A few years ago, I never thought I would be saying something like this,” he smiles.
The new car has been named 3.0 for a reason, because it has many changes compared to last year. “Since February already, we have been working flat-out to make our child become a little more mature,” Tim Coronel says with visible enthusiasm. “We started with a job list of eight pages with things that needed improvement and we have ticked all the boxes. The main elements were ergonomics, weight and bodywork. The front section, for instance, has been made shorter, suspension and spring travel have been changed and reinforced trailing arms have been installed. In Saudi Arabia, we will be driving in the wilderness for much longer, so I am expecting less locals being on site to help out. Therefore, we need to be able to deal with occurring problems more easily and quickly.”
Tom underlines that the design process of the new car effectively got underway during the previous running of the Dakar Rally already. “While driving, we are constantly talking to each other. I have a little notebook to write things down. We do that while still on the stages. Then, you are in the middle of the action and you know what is going on. When you have a meeting one month after the rally, part of it has already been forgotten. So we are actually discussing the first improvements on the fly. That is Tim’s homework!”
A new territory with new challenges
For the next running, the endurance competition is moving to Saudi Arabia. That doesn’t change the challenge, as Tom points out: “The organisers want to surprise every year, so that doesn’t change a lot. They want at least for half of the field not to make it to the finish, because it is the world’s toughest rally for a reason. Over the years, we have come to know their approach. For instance, the final kilometres always are the hardest ones. The final part is the toughest, we have learned that much the past years. For us, the adventure will be different: Saudi Arabia is very different from South America. And the sand in Chile is different to that in Africa or the Middle East. We will be facing major surprises again this year, but that is the reason why we are taking part, not to see the same things as the year before. So bring it on!”
Ambitions outside the Dakar Rally
This year, Tim’s ambitions go beyond just the Dakar Rally: “I have already spoken about it with Tom: the plan is for him to drive as well. That has always been my goal. We plan to participate in other rallies next to the Dakar Rally. I think that the car and the team are ready for it. ‘The Beast 3.0’ has to be the car with which we can really achieve this, I am totally confident about that.”
His twin brother is also confident about the team’s quality. That confidence is largely based on the Coronel Dakar family feeling, as he explains: “The team is 90 percent identical with last year. We are really doing this together, every team member counts. You are always as good as your weakest link, but even that is becoming stronger year after year. That is cool to see, it really is a family. Our partners have remained unchanged for 99.99 percent, too. That is also telling: I would say that perhaps we are doing something right after all. I am not saying this to boast about it, but it shows that our partners are happy and vice versa. That is very important. We are emotional people, so these things really matter to us.”
Preparation, enthusiasm and commitment are all at peak level. When asked how many nights the twins will be spending in the desert this time, Tim immediately answers: “Zero. It is terribly cold in the desert at night, so that is something we won’t be doing anymore!”
The 2020 Dakar Rally gets underway January 5th.