Tom and Tim Coronel were celebrating completing the Dakar Rally last weekend, as the Dutch brothers both finished the Dakar Rally for the first time, with each competing as a solo entry.
The duo have contested the famous endurance event for the past two years, with the 2017 event marking the third time that the twin brothers have tried to simultaneously reach the finish in their self-built buggys.
The South American event proved to be one of the toughest yet, with temperatures soaring to over 40 °C at sea level, to featuring hailstorms and icy rain above 5,000 metres.
Rain also heavily featured in the event, cancelling a number of stages due to mud and landslides. Despite that, there were also bone-dry desert plains which also had to be contended with.
Despite all that the weather had to throw at them, both Coronels made it to the finish, despite Tom at one point getting stuck in the wilderness and having to spend a few nights on the stage.
In the end, both Coronels made it to the finish in the solo classification, with Tim in 43rd overall and Tom in 54th after his troubles. It marked the first time that both made it to the end, after Tim failed to finish in 2015 and Tom stopped early in 2016.
“Mission accomplished,” said Tom after the exhausting event. “Been there, done that. This was our goal, to get two buggies to the finish. We managed to do that, also thanks to the excellent preparation by Tim.
“During the rally, he was my fast assistance, he drove behind me all the time. I had quite a few problems I am sure I would never have been able to solve them myself, or at least not this fast.
“All in all, it was a really tough one. For me, it was harder than two years ago when we made the documentary.
“On two occasions, I was about to call it a day. It was Tim who pulled me through. ‘Come on, don’t be so negative, just keep on going,’ he said all the time. You get to the point where you are really, really tired. You only get one hour of sleep per night, so you fall asleep behind the wheel.
“Conditions were anything but ideal, but we got so many stories to tell in years to come, moments in which others would have stopped long before already.
“I really went further than in the previous two years, but the joy is all the bigger for it. I couldn’t have dreamt about this four days ago. Thanks Tim, thanks to the team, thanks to the sponsors. Had it not been for you, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Tim explained that even near the end the brothers almost didn’t make it, due to problems again developing with one of the buggys after a 700 km road section following the final 60 km stage.
“There turned out to be a problem with the clutch on Tom’s car prior to the stage,” explained Tim. “As a result, we started half an hour to 45 minutes late, so we had to catch up again. That was a little bit too exciting for my liking, but fortunately, we made it.
“We did it; we made it to the finish. It’s fantastic to be able to stand on the podium together with my