With this week’s Stage 9 of the Dakar Rally having been cancelled due to a rockslide, the contest for supremacy in the truck division remained tight, with a mere two minutes and 20 seconds separating the top three competitors.

The long-anticipated “Super Belen” stage was due to run a total of 977km from Salta to Chilecito in Argentina, with 406km being timed. The stage was perceived as pivotal in determining the rally’s winners.

However, the rockslide resulted in the re-routing of some competitors who consequently were not able to make it to the stop-over point within the allotted time, and the stage was abandoned.

Russian Dmitry Sotnlkov – who finished 15th in last year’s Dakar – retained his lead, driving a Kamaz 4326. Fellow Russian Eduard Nikolaev, also driving a Kamaz 4326, was one minute 46 seconds adrift with Iveco’s Gerard De Rooy – winner of Dakar 2016 – a further 34 seconds back.

  • Read the latest edition of Future Trucking & Logistics to find out how De Rooy intends to retain the Dakar title for Iveco