In Competition: Stories of the Dakar: the truck that wanted to run like a car

Now that KAMAZ has no longer the superiority of the past, now that an ex-pilot of the WRC as Coyote Villagra is able to lead the race in its first edition at the wheel of an IVECO, now that the ASO wants to give snip to the performance of the trucks, limiting the ability of the engine to only 13 liters… is the perfect time to remember that was possibly the truck is more iconic that has competed in the history of the Dakar: the DAF FAV 3600 Turbo Twin of Jan De Rooy.

And is that Jan had the dream of face-planting to the participants head in the car category, something that recently managed to KAMAZ in the Africa Eco Race, to get one of their trucks was put to lead the test even ahead of all the cars. As many of you know, the decade of the 80’s was a time of excesses, where converged the Group B of the World Rally championship, Group C Resistance and the trucks without limit in the Dakar.

The DAF Twin Turbo X1 of Jan De Rooy had 1,200 horsepower and could get to 220 km/h, faster than the Peugeot of Vatanen

Between the last stressed one, the DAF Jan De Rooy and a concept that the Dutch was polishing with the passage of the years. After a few first editions in which the father of Gerard competed with a few trucks practically of the series did several attempts with a truck called the twin (one of them the two-headed already taught you some days ago) that brushed the 800 HP of power and with those who came to rub the victory with the tip of the fingers.

Would be in 1986 when Jan clung to the beast. was Born, the Turbo Twin, a prototype with two DAF engines with tubocompresor that was capable of delivering up to 500 BHP of power for each propeller 11,600 cc and for a to 10.5 tons of weight (in vacuum). Not only that, De Rooy reduced weight, eliminating all dispensable and making a box very aerodynamic in which there was room for some basic tools and three spare wheels placed at the end of the truck with the aim of improving the distribution of weights. The first version of the Turbo Twin was able to reach 200 km/h and get to squeeze in times between the top 10 of the classification of cars (even won a stage), but practically at the end of the second week break the front axle and is forced to leave.

To De Rooy it still seemed excessive to those more than 10 tons of weight, so that the second evolution was the impossible and managed to reduce it a ton, using a cab version 3600 DAF and making it even more aerodynamic the set. It would be there, in 1987, when Jan would get his one and only victory in the Dakar rally, a milestone that would repeat his son 25 years later, already at the wheel of an IVECO.

The ambition of the engineer/designer/pilot Dutch does not end there and continues to evolve its Turbo Twin until unsuspected limits. The X1 and X2 had a 1,200-HP of power again thanks to the two engines and six turbochargers (three of them of variable geometry). This would make it virtually unbeatable in low (was able to accelerate those 10 tons of weight from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds) and furthermore gave them a top speed of 220 km/h. It is precisely one of those units when it sees the remembered duel with the Peugeot 405 T16 Grand Raid Ari Vatanen.

as the Group B and Group C, this age of excess had to end in tragedy. Theo Van de Rijt, team-mate of Jan, it went off at almost 200 km/h in a dune cut. On landing, the security measures of the DAF were not enough to save the life of one of the co-pilot after give up to six turns of bell. De Rooy decided to abandon the race and would be no more than a decade later when you decide to return to compete in the Dakar. For that then, trucks prototype had already disappeared and the ASO was implanted units derived from series, with speeds limited, stops in the suspension travel and powers that did not reach the ceiling of the 1,200-HP.

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