With the 2022 Dakar Rally only hours away, legendary Dutch drivers Tom and Tim Coronel are waiting to kick off the race with their South-African built buggy – the Century.
This year several categories of vehicles are catered for in the world’s most gruelling off-road race. These include bikes, quads, light prototypes, SSV, cars and trucks. It is the car category that we are most concerned with. This year is shaping up to be a classic with several big-name drivers and manufacturers in the hunt.
The 2022 Dakar Rally
This, the 44th instalment of the famous race will, once again, be hosted solely in Saudi Arabia. This year’s route will consist of over 8 000 km across the Saudi Arabian deserts. More than 1 000 racers will take the start in Jeddah.
On Coronel’s channel, the official commentary of the race anticipation reads: “They hope to get through those competitive sections better and faster with their new car, the Century. The South African-made buggy offers them the opportunity to be more competitive than in years past.”
“It was a nice adventure with The Beast, with which we drove for four years, but it was also a bit worn out”, says Tom. “We have enough experience to be more competitive and the Century has that potential too. For Tim it was a bit more difficult because The Beast was his baby. I had to push a bit there; we do it together and so we had to approve it together. That’s all right now. Tim is very happy with the car. We don’t have to think about it anymore and we didn’t have to worry about it. We did, however, pour a Coronel sauce over it and changed a number of things the way we like it.”
In the best position
The car and the brothers have now completed the first kilometres on Saudi soil. “The shakedown was very good. Tim immediately had a good feeling with the car and immediately took off. I don’t think we’ve been in such a good position at the start before.”
A better position is of course the intention for the end of this Dakar Rally, in two weeks. “But forget about the top 10,” Tom warns. “I expect that we will be somewhere around the top 25 in the first few days and gradually move up. For Tim, it will be the fifteenth Dakar, for me the tenth. With that experience and the new car, we hope to be able to take a shot at a final position somewhere between 15 and 20 in a particularly strong field. Next year it will really go full throttle.”
Coronel Brothers’ Ultimate Guide
On Saturday, the Dakar 2022 starts with a 19-kilometre prologue to determine the starting order for the first real stage, which is on January 2. In anticipation of the race, the Coronel brothers share video footage of a full stage with a roadbook and multiple onboard.