WhatTreasuryOne Dakar 2020 Day 8 Report
WhereWadi Al Dawasir, Saudi Arabia
WhenMonday 13 January 2020

De Klerk fights off Dakar trucks to star

South African Dakar crew Hennie de Klerk and Johann Smalberger enjoyed an epic if ultimately again unlucky eighth day as they gained another two overall places in the 2020 race through the Saudi Arabian Desert. 2018 Dakar Rookie of the Year de Klerk had to fight off the trio of leading Kamaz trucks to find enough clear air to mount a charge, but the Pretoria duo later lost time when the TreasuryOne Nissan Navara lost 20 minutes stuck in the sand.

“We had a brilliant, but quite frightening and most intriguing run this morning,”Hennie de Klerk explained. “We started just behind the three leading Kamaz trucks and had to fight to pass them and get out of their mad dust, but that was far easier said than done!

“We have a top speed advantage - we are allowed to run to 180km/h and they are limited to 140km/h, but it’s not that simple... “See, those trucks have far more suspension travel than us, so as soon as it gets rough, they can keep on pushing harder, so you will not believe how hard it is to pass a 140km/h truck with a 180km/h bakkie!

“Anyway, after a lot of work we found our way past all three Kamaz on the superfast early part of today’s stage and went very well from there to get as far up as 21st, but then we had a bit of bad luck in the dunes later on. “I managed to beach the Navara with the opposite front and rear wheels in the air when I was momentarily sand blinded in the penultimate sector.

”It took us 20 minutes to dig our way out using the spare wheels, sand ramps and the rest to help, and then fought back from 35th to 31st and somehow still managed to climb two more places up to 31st overall, so still a pretty good day all in all. We are however still dreaming of a completely trouble free Dakar 2020 day - our luck keeps failing us and it’s also so competitive this year, but we will keep on pushing.

”We are now eight days in with four tough days to race starting with another tough stage tomorrow and then the first day of the marathon stage with no servicing Wednesday evening, but our Red-Lined Navara is performing brilliantly. Johann’s notes are point-perfect and the TreasuryOne team is working a treat. “All we ask for is a couple of clean days to go with that, hopefully on tomorrow’s run to Haradh...”


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