Leaders choose leaders. With this in mind, Fassi Cranes decided to match its brand with a winning crew like the Petronas De Rooy Iveco team in the most important rally raids of the 2018 season. The difficult tests in the deserts and on stony terrain, be they in Peru, Mauritania or the Russian Steppes, were seen as the ideal settings for Fassi, a company that is used to producing cranes that face the toughest challenges on construction sites all over the world.
There was hardly any time to announce that vehicles and crews were already ready for the double challenge. Two of the rally raids were in January: the legendary Dakar, now in its 40th edition, ran from 6th to 20th January, preceded by the 10th edition of the Africa Eco Race a few days earlier, from 2nd to 14th January.
The company said that it was unavoidable for the Team to split itself between the two commitments, with Gerard De Rooy who, after winning the Dakar in 2016, preferred to focus on the African race with his Iveco Powerstar (#400). Wuf Van Ginkel raced in the second Iveco Powerstar (#403). In South America, the colours of the Petronas De Rooy Iveco team were defended by Dutchman Ton van Genugten (#509) and Kazakh Artur Ardavichus (#508), both driving Iveco Powerstars. The Africa Eco Race started from Monaco on 31st December and the special stages began in Morocco on 2nd January.
This rally raid was organised by Frenchman Hubert Auriol, veteran of the Dakar, and took place on what were the routes of the original Paris-Dakar, which left the African deserts after the 2007 edition. Once the conflict in Mauritania and the neighbouring countries stabilised, cars, motorcycles and trucks returned to the streets of the famous rally raid. The course of about 6,500km, with more than 4,000km of special stages, included five stages in Morocco and one each in Mauritania and Senegal, with the arrival in Dakar on 14th January. Having won many prestigious accolades, Gerard De Rooy was seen as the favourite among the truck drivers.
The Iveco Powerstar 4x4, equipped with the Iveco Cursor 13 engine with a power output of about 1000hp, was specially designed for the rally by FPT Industrial, the CNH Industrial brand that specialises in the design and production of powertrains. The 40th Dakar (the 10th rally held in South America) started from Lima, Peru on 6th January and in 14 stages (of which seven were off-road) crossed Bolivia and Argentina for more than 5,000km of special stages and less than 4,000 transfers. It concluded on 20th January in Cordoba, Argentina.
Ardavichus and van Genugten had the task of going up against the winning crew of the last edition. The two Iveco Powerstars were also equipped with Iveco Cursor 13 engines specially designed for the rally by FPT Industrial.