Iveco - A two-time Dakar Rally conqueror
As one of the biggest and best-known truck manufacturers in the world, Iveco is part of the famous Paris – Dakar Rally since 1982.
The Turin-based manufacturer, founded in 1975, joined the Paris – Dakar caravan back in 1982 with private teams. For the first time, Iveco fielded the factory team in 2011. Iveco’s journey to the success in the most demanding marathon race in the world was long and pretty hard, but full of unforgettable moments.
WRC champions pushed Iveco forward
The first years were hard for the crews driving the Iveco trucks. The factory-backed teams of Kamaz, Mercedes, DAF, Hino, Tatra and many others were dominant to the Italian machines. The first notable result was achieved in 1999 when famous driver Miki Biasion with co-drivers Tiziano Siviero and Livio Diamante finished 5th overall.
The next good result was achieved in 2005 when the event was driven from Barcelona to Dakar. The well-known Finn Markku Alen with his co-drivers Guido Toni and Adriano Micozzi finished 7th in the final standings.
Finally, in 2012 Iveco trucks dominated the race. From the first to the last stage, at least one of the Iveco’s truck was in the top three. At the end, Dutch driver Gerard De Rooy with co-drivers Tom Colsoul and Dariusz Rodewald won the race with an advantage of 51 minutes to another Iveco driver and his compatriot Hans Stacey.
De Rooy couldn’t defend his crown in 2013 despite he won six stages on the road but at the end he was 4th. Another good result for the Petronas-backed Iveco team that year scored Rene Kuipers, another Dutch driver, who finished 9th in the general classification. Miki Biasion ran third early on for Iveco but was ruled out of contention after hitting severe delays during the fourth stage, going on to finish 13th overall.
Narrowly missing a trophy in 2014
The 2014 edition of Dakar Rally, from Rosario in Argentina to Valparaiso in Chile, was the longest and hardest ever. Iveco fielded a line-up of four trucks with Gerard De Rooy being the leader of the team. He won two of four opening stages and had a strong lead in the overall classification. Later in the race, Kamaz’s driver Andrey Karginov shortened the gap and before the last stage both drivers had a good chance of winning the race.
On the final day, Karginov lost nine-and-a-half minutes to De Rooy on the road after providing assistance to a stricken car, costing him victory until race officials awarded him back the time he had spent aiding his fellow competitor. At the end, De Rooy finished as a runner-up, only three minutes behind the winner. Other two Iveco vehicles finished in Top 10 that year. Hans Stacey was 7th, while Spaniard Pep Villa finished 10th.
Second victory for De Rooy in 2016
During the 2015 edition of Dakar, Iveco trucks suffered from reliability issues. However, Hans Stacey won four stages, including three in a row, while De Rooy reached the podium on several occasions before finishing 6th and 9th overall respectively.
In the following year, Iveco again entered four trucks and three of them finished the race in Top 5. Gerard De Rooy scored his second triumph, this time with a help of co-drivers Moi Torrallardona and Darek Rodewald. The Argentinian Federico Villagra finished 3rd, while the Dutch driver Ton van Genugten took the 5th position, completing the most successful year for Iveco so far
A fight against KAMAZ is continuing
In 2017, Iveco competed with four Powerstar and Trakker trucks. All trucks were equipped with Iveco Cursor 13 engines with up to 900 HP, specially engineered by FPT Industrial.The Russians in Kamaz captured a victory and the second place. Gerard de Rooy finished in the third place, ahead of fourth-placed Federico Villagra.
In 2018, the fight between two great truck manufacturers is continuing.