One all-Belgian team competing in the trucks at the Dakar is a rare phenomenon indeed, let alone two -but that is exactly the challenge that Peter Van Delm and Yves Rutten set themselves almost four years ago. The two friends and associates completed the rally together in a MAN TGS in 2009, placing 45th with Vincent Thijs. Now, a decade later, they are returning to the world's biggest rally with two Ford Cargo prototypes, based on the celebrated truck built in Turkey by Ford Otosan. It was through Yves' job as a testing engineer with Ford Europe that they established contact with Ford Otosan, and after a three-year wait two truck shells were delivered to VDR Truck Racing, the team that Peter and Yves set up together. They spent almost a year working around the clock to build two fully-functional prototypes, which will now be put to the ultimate test on the dunes of the Dakar. Peter, who owns the Van Delm transport company in Antwerp, has enlisted the help of experienced navigator Kurt Keysers, who has completed the Dakar four times in a truck, and first-time mechanic Steven Vaesen. In what they hope will be the first of many successful Dakar outings in their brand-new Ford, the two VDR Truck Racing crews are simply hoping to stay out of trouble and make it safely to the finish line in Lima.
PVD: “Almost 15 years ago, I was watching the Dakar on television and I saw this truck overtake a car in the Sahara, in a huge cloud of dust. Since that day I dreamed of participating. This year we are going to South America to drive and learn. We will go about our race without worrying about the standings or other trucks. This first participation is only the beginning.” KK: “Peter and Yves called me in April, a few weeks after I came third at the Morocco Desert Challenge. It's a totally new project with the support of Ford Otosan in Turkey, and it all looks very good. They've built two totally new trucks, the same for both teams. I think it would be great if we can get both of them to the finish line. In the first year, that's the most important thing, because it's part of a long-term strategy. We have to find out if everything is strong enough and reliable enough for the Dakar. I've already done the rally six times, finishing on four occasions. In 2013 I was a truck navigator for the first time, then in 2017 I came to the Dakar but I didn't compete, I was working as a team manager for Autolife. It was interesting to see it from the other side. Last year we won the 6x6 class with Dave Ingels because we were the only ones to get to the finish line! You never know what will happen on Dakar, so it's important to stay positive."
VDR TRUCK RACING POWERED BY FORD OTOSAN
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