“Be the first to compete in all categories”
Whether he finishes or not, Kees Koolen will enter the history books of the Dakar on the 5th of January when he'll take off for stage 1 in his Ginaf truck. The Dutchman will indeed become the first competitor to start the rally in four different classes. Back in 2009 he took off, on his first Dakar on a bike, and despite the dust and a broken hand four weeks before the event he still finished at a decent 69th spot. Two editions later, still alone but in a car, he again reached his goal in a Honda Buggy designed with his compatriot and former MotoGP rider Jurgen Van der Goorbergh, finishing in 60th position. After that challenge came another last year. Kees stared on a quad and captured a fine 17th final position in Santiago. Time has now come for the big machines. Part of the Maxxis Dakar team and driving a Ginaf, the chairman of booking.com will have at his side his friend Jurgen Van Der Goorbergh and mechanic Gijsbert Van Uden who is delighted to leave the bivouac and jump in a race truck. The question now: will Kees Koolen be the first competitor to start and finish the Dakar in a bike, car, quad and truck? The answer on the 19th of January.
K.K.: “My goal for 2014 is again to finish the Dakar and this year we are going with a truck. I liked riding the quad last year. It's actually the nicest thing I've done so far on the race, but my goal now will be to compete in all categories, especially since no one has done this before. I believe we have another good team for 2014, and that we have a chance of managing a good result”.
J.V.D.G.: "It's a new challenge for myself, partly because I won't be sitting behind the steering wheel this year and am responsible of navigation. To experience the thrill of a truck is totally different from the vehicles I've competed in on the Dakar before. You overlook everything from the truck. The fact that you can communicate with each other is a different experience”.