Seventh stage of Tunisia Desert Challenge also canceled

2022 Tunisia Desert Challenge André Thewessen

André Thewessen and Eugene Kesselaar did not race on Thursday during the seventh stage of the Tunisia Desert Challenge. The ongoing sandstorm meant that the organization could not guarantee safety on the course.

On Wednesday, the sixth stage of the TDC had to be canceled due to a sandstorm. Due to the strong wind, the helicopters of the organization could not take off and safety could not be guaranteed. The whole circus therefore went on the road to the next bivouac.

The game was to resume on Thursday, but it soon became apparent that the wind would continue. All participants, including Thewessen, had driven towards the start of the test on Thursday morning. Once there, it turned out to be too windy to send the participants into the test.

Click here to display content from YouTube.
Learn more in YouTube’s privacy policy.

The final stage of the Tunisia Desert Challenge is scheduled for Friday. This is about 303 kilometers with start and finish at the film set of Star Wars, just north of the Tunisian city of Nefta.

Thewessen and Kesselaar back in the bivouac after a long night

After a night without sleep and an endless drive through Tunisia, André Thewessen and Eugene Kesselaar are reunited with their team in the bivouac of Ksar Ghilane. The buggy was badly damaged in Sunday’s stage, but the team can start again on Tuesday.

Sunday’s third stage has caused a lot of chaos in the SSV class. The 350 kilometer stage in the dunes area near El Borma turned out to be a very tough one. “We arrived in the dunes around noon on Sunday, it actually went very well,” explains Thewessen. “We still had to repair the front suspension before the dunes, but once that was done we passed twenty other participants. We had to go up on a very high dune, but all kinds of people were already standing there and we had to find a new way. I missed a step there and we thought nothing was wrong, but others were already gesturing that there was damage. I got out and immediately saw that we couldn’t make this ourselves.”

The damage to the suspension was extensive, Thewessen said. In January he still had those parts with him in the Dakar Rally and they were not needed. “You’ll see, of course, but from now on we’ll take them with us again,” says Thewessen. After summoning the sweeper truck, an hour-long journey through the dunes followed. “We were picked up in the afternoon and thought we would come back to the bivouac on Sunday evening. But the sweeper struggled all night to get out of the dunes. Then we only got out of the dunes this morning at 07:00 and the buggy was loaded on another truck, which took us to the old bivouac. And from the old bivouac we finally got to this bivouac. Finally the buggy was here at 7 pm, we just a little earlier.”

With extra spare parts and a hundred hours of penalty for Monday’s missed stage, Thewessen can start again on Tuesday. “We can still drive half of the rally, but the standings are ruined. You can’t do anything about that, but we’re going to make something beautiful out of it.”