More than 25,000 spectators got together in Eindhoven last weekend to cheer on the Dutch competitors in the Dakar. The traditional Pre Prologue, in its 10th edition, even attracted Polish driver Krzysztof Holowczyc as a visitor!
The event before the event … Over the years, the Pre Prologue organised in the Netherlands to bring together all the Dutch competitors has turned into one of the great rituals to prepare for the Dakar. Two months before the start of the rally, the gathering at the Euro Circuit in Eindhoven has even become a 'must-attend' for some of the favourites for the race, competitors who push their turn of the wheel to the limit in search of a victory that is gaining in prestige all the time.
That is certainly the point of view of Peter Versluis, a promising newcomer in the truck category, who beat Gerard De Rooy in this short trial in the mud under the November sun: "He beat me last year but this time I managed to clock the best time by a small margin. That means we had a good fight". His analysis is certainly different from that of the winner of the Dakar 2012, who damaged a suspension of his Iveco after a jump that was perhaps a bit too ambitious. In any case, these battles will be continued over a few thousand miles across the tracks and dunes of Argentina and Chile.
For the Pre Prologue, the trucks – as usual – made up the premier class, with almost thirty entries! However, some of the big names in the race also showed us their pace, such as Erik Van Loon and Wouter Roosegar, who had a good fight with the single-seater buggy of Tim Coronel: "In the second leg, the dry conditions were rather more favourable for our HRX-Ford, and that's where the difference showed". On two wheels, the big surprise came from the rookie Hans Vogels, who finished in front of the experienced Henk Knuiman and Robert Van Pelt, the youngest biker to complete the Dakar last January.
Source: Dakar Rally