Mammoet Rallysport Keeping Pace in 2021 Dakar Rally
The teams have made a solid start during the opening few days of the 2021 Rally. Following the prologue stage to establish the starting grid, Martin van den Brink started last Sunday from 14th place for the first main trial while Mitchel began in 33rd position.
Martin and his co-pilots – who are aiming for a top ten finish – were delighted that the rally could take place. The Rally organizers, ASO, ran the Tour de France in 2020 and have used their knowledge from that event to ensure the Rally could continue; starting and finishing in Jeddah.
Martin van den Brink is racing in a Renault C460, but with testing time limited due to coronavirus restrictions he has not had as much time to work with the truck as he would ideally have liked. However, Martin has faith in the ‘flat fronted’ truck.
“I think that on the trail in Saudi Arabia we can do better with this truck than with our previous Sherpa truck. The Renault’s flat front is an advantage in the dunes”, he said.
Mitchel’s Volvo was built in-house where, despite the ongoing health protocols, ten mechanics worked for months to get the truck ready for the Rally. Martin continues, “I have a lot of admiration for all the guys on our team who achieved this. It shows great togetherness and that is the power of Mammoet Rallysport.”
First stage: Jeddah to Bisha
In the first stage, the 44 truck teams raced from Jeddah to Bisha. After a connecting route of 345km, the first classification test followed over 27km.
The route took the drivers from one valley to another, across terrain consisting mainly of unpaved paths covered in gravel and boulders – so the surface conditions can have a big impact on results.
Martin van den Brink and his team rode a solid opening stage, finishing in eighth position, while 18-year-old Mitchel also completed the stage to Bisha, finishing in around 30th place. Taking a sensible approach to the tricky 277km opening drive paid off.
The trail’s sand, stones and large boulders caused several of the race favorites to lose time. Martin’s team only encountered one main problem when the turbo pressure dropped – apparently caused by a relay burnout.
Second stage: Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir
Martin van den Brink gave another strong performance in the second stage from Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir, finishing ninth without encountering any significant problems. Mitchel also drove steadily in the Volvo.
In addition to the 228km main route, there was a special stage of 457km. In this second stage the riders encountered the first of the dunes, but by taking a steady pace through the sand the team came through them smoothly.
The Mammoet Rallysport team are pleased with their progress so far and looking forward to the next stages which are taking place in Riyadh and Al Qaisumah before a rest day on Saturday 9 January at Ha’il. The race is due to finish on 15 January.