Dakar Rally News: Rainbow Truck Team to Forego 2024 Edition, Set Sights on Africa Eco Race

    In a move that has resonated with off-road enthusiasts, the Rainbow Truck Team has announced that it will be forgoing the 2024 Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia in favor of the ‘true’ Dakar experience – the Africa Eco Race (AER). This decision comes as the team celebrates its 10-year anniversary.

    At the 2024 Dakar Rally, Gerrit Zuurmond finished a respectable 15th in the Truck category, driving a MAN TGA alongside co-driver Tjeerd van Ballegooy and mechanic Klaas Kwakkel. The team had raced conservatively early on to avoid trouble, but was eventually forced to retire during the Chrono Stage. Additionally, the team fielded a hydrogen-powered Volkswagen Amarok in the Mission 1000 category, with Zuurmond’s brother Dick and Simon Koetsier finishing 7th after a setback caused by the hydrogen fuel cell becoming detached during the middle stages.

    In a statement, the team expressed their affinity for the Africa Eco Race, stating, “Friend and foe alike will agree that Africa is the cradle of off-road rally. This was where Thierry Sabine started an unprecedented adventure under the name ‘Paris–Dakar’ in 1979, where the Africa Eco Race has been taking place for years.” The team acknowledged that while the “big commercial Dakar circus” has sought refuge in South America, the Africa Eco Race has evolved into the rally most driven in the spirit of Thierry Sabine, with the finish at Lac Rose being a coveted experience for many rally raid participants.

    To prepare for the 2025 AER, which will run from 28 December 2024 to 12 January 2025, the Rainbow Truck Team will compete in the Rallye du Maroc in October, a round of the World Rally-Raid Championship like the Dakar Rally, and one of the host countries for the Africa Eco Race. Zuurmond finished second in the Truck category at the 2023 edition of the Rallye du Maroc.

    The Rainbow Truck Team will be joining a handful of other Dutch truck outfits, including Rally Team Dust Warriors and Truck Team Müller, at the 2025 Africa Eco Race. The 2024 edition of the AER was won in the Truck category by Tomáš Tomeček, another Dakar Rally alumnus.

    As the Rainbow Truck Team embarks on this new adventure, off-road enthusiasts eagerly await the team’s performance in the Africa Eco Race, where they will undoubtedly showcase their expertise and passion for the sport.

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