Hundreds of fans, family members, friends and partners had come to Huizen for the farewell day of the Coronel Dakar Team sponsored by LKQ. The two driver pairings, Tim and Tom Coronel and Michel Kremer/Thomas de Bois were present and visitors were able to take a close look at the competition cars, the service trucks with trailer and the press car. In the meantime, the cars and the equipment are on their way to Spain from where the crossing to Saudi Arabia will be made, the country where the Dakar Rally will be held in January. Expectations are high after the successful farewell day. « We are really keen to get going, » the members of the Coronel Dakar Team unanimously said.
The farewell day was a new initiative to give the many fans and interested people the opportunity to admire the cars of the Coronel Dakar Team from up-close and wish the team members well for the upcoming adventure. « We know how many people follow us closely by the TV broadcasts, the social media updates and the press releases, but of course, Saudi Arabia is far away, so getting a first-hand experience is difficult, » Tim Coronel explained. « Therefore, we wanted to do something extra for our fans, and that is how the idea of the farewell day for the Coronel Dakar Team came up. We are really overwhelmed by the enormous interest. »
Twin brother Tom enjoyed it, too: « Really fantastic to see how many people had turned up and how enthusiastic they were! Everybody wanted their picture taken with the car and sit in it. It almost seemed as if some didn’t want to get out of the car anymore, but we still have to drive a rally with it, of course! » Allard Kalff, the regular Dakar reporter for Dutch broadcasting station RTL, was present to answer questions and food and drinks were provided as well.
Team members and other specialists had been very busy with preparation of the cars since April. The two competition cars of the team, one for Tim and Tom Coronel and the other one for Michel Kremer and Thomas de Bois, were on display during the farewell day. The latter car had to be fully rebuilt following the fire in the previous running of the event. The team’s two trucks and trailers and the press car were on show as well. « It really is a large fleet, but there are many things needed for such a rally, » Tim Coronel explained. « In total, there were 25 people who meticulously prepared everything. This morning, 29 November, the fleet left really early in the morning, headed for Barcelona to embark on the transport to Saudi Arabia for the rally. Now it is getting serious! »
Michel Kremer and Thomas de Bois, the crew of the other car of the Coronel Dakar Team, are looking forward to the event with just as much enthusiasm. For Kremer, from Den Dolder, this will be his debut: « I drove the press car in 2011 and attended the event a few times as a visitor. You can say that I really got the bug! Then I contacted Tim and Tom to ask whether I could be part of their team and that is how the co-operation came about. » Thomas de Bois, from Tienhoven, will be taking on his twelfth Dakar Rally. « It is nice every time, » he said. « Last year, we were really unfortunate as we retired very early, so our undisputed goal is to make it to the finish, our position in the classification is less significant. I am fully ready for it, I am fitter than ever before and I am very much looking forward to it! »
De Bois has full confidence in his new teammate: « Michel is driving very well and I think that our advantage is that we are both very relaxed, we don’t let ourselves get carried away and that is something very important in the Dakar Rally. » Kremer agreed: « We are very relaxed, making it to the finish is our goal. It doesn’t matter how slow you are, as long as you don’t stop! » For Tim and Tom Coronel, anticipation only got bigger during the farewell day as well: “We can hardly wait to get going again! »