Debuting in the Dakar Rally is never easy, but Anja van Loon shows that a debut can go very well. Together with the experienced Dmytro Tsyro, she finishes 14th in the T3 classification. Throughout the rally, Van Loon keeps driving her own pace and stays out of trouble. She is also the fastest of the family and plans for Dakar 2024 are taking shape.
"This is so good!" says Anja. "I had not dared to dream this. My goal was to finish and I would love to get into the top 25. Dmytro and I just finished 14th! The Can-Am didn't experience anything throughout the rally, for that I am very grateful to South Racing. I also want to thank Dmytro, thanks to him we are here and his experience was really golden. Of course I want to thank all the sponsors for their support and the fans for all the nice messages. But my biggest thanks go to my husband, Erik. His support is so important, he really dragged me through it and helped me so much. Thank you honey."
Anja is also the fastest in the family. "That's kind of nice! The rest of the family has been through some things and fortunately we haven't, but they are going to hear about this for a while. Erik unfortunately had to give up after the 7th stage, but in the standings I'm about an hour ahead of my brothers. I won the family competition this year!"
Plans for Dakar 2024 are becoming more and more concrete for Anja. "I am going to drive an Iveco Powerstar from Team De Rooy. In it we will drive with three women, Floor Maten will navigate me and Suzanne Peek will be the mechanic. The program for this year is taking shape, I am going to drive a number of races with the Can-Am, together with Floor, and also a lot of testing in Morocco with Suzanne. I am really looking forward to it! Three women in the truck is unique in the Dakar Rally."
In that program, Erik will also be racing. "As it looks now, that will be the rounds from the W2RC and some more Baja. So we will start in Abu Dhabi at the end of February, we will also go to Mexico and Argentina. But more on that soon, first we are going to enjoy this debut of Anja. What a top performance from her! I am so incredibly proud, she only had 3 flat tires and nothing else experienced. This was a very tough Dakar, so it has been a good baptism of fire."
Automatic translation from the original Dutch version
Source Van Loon Racing