The Beast is back! WTCR racer Coronel in Dakar return
Tom Coronel will swap the race tracks of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO for off-road Peru when he contests the gruelling Dakar Rally alongside twin brother Tim from tomorrow (6 January).
Age 46, the Dutch twins are being reunited with ‘The Beast’, a US-built Jefferies Buggy powered by a 6.2-litre Chevrolet engine for the cross-country showpiece, which runs until 17 January.
Following their first outing in ‘The Beast’ on last year’s Dakar, which was blighted by cooling issues, the Coronels have overseen a significant update of what will be their mobile home for the next 11 days, as Tim Coronel explained.
“Many things weren’t right,” he said. “As a result, ‘The Beast’ needed quite some changes to really make it Dakar-proof. Especially the issues with the temperature management needed to be sorted. In the last Dakar, driving went pretty well, but we also had to stop often to sort out the cooling. That was why we removed parts of the car to generate more cooling.”
In order to improve the cooling, the ducts that were too close to the engine and the exhaust were relocated. A new exhaust system was installed and the bodywork made from Kevlar at Van Thull Development in Lith in The Netherlands, resulting in a weight reduction of 200 kilograms. APP in Weesp has achieved a slight power output increase (412hp with restrictor) and more torque (620 Nm) at lower revs.
It will be the third time the Coronels have shared driving duties on the Dakar and Tom Coronel can’t wait to take on the Peruvian deserts. “The more sand, the better,” he said of the 5000-kilometre route. “I am happy with that, because sand is what Dakar stands for.”
The Coronels prepared for the Dakar with a test at a venue close to Barcelona last autumn. “We didn’t have any problems and we experimented a lot with springs and shock absorbers,” said Tom. “The handling of the car was good. We really got that special feeling back again.”
Dakar 2019 starts and finishes in the Peruvian capital Lima and runs from 6-17 January over a competitive distance of 3000 kilometres. Competitors get one rest day on 12 January. WTCR team boss and former World Touring Car racer Sébastien Loeb will also be taking part.