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Iveco Powerstar T4 Truck - Dakar Monster - Masterpiece in Metal

Posted in Features on August 18, 2014
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Photographers: Boyd Jaynes

The Dakar Rally is one of the most enduring races on this planet, which is why it has been dubbed the “World’s Toughest Race,” ever since its inception back in 1979. Over the course of 13 days and over 3,400 miles through three different countries (Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile), hundreds of drivers and motorcycle riders put their vehicles through the rigors in hopes of conquering the treacherous, barren landscapes of South America.

For many, it’s the ultimate test of man and machine, but as you can expect, machines like to fight back against such abuse, and in turn, drivers are oftentimes left stranded in the vast South American deserts. Unlike Baja (or any other American desert race), though, chase trucks do not have the luxury of traveling down paved roads to save their drivers, which is why teams needed something that was large enough to carry lots of parts, while still being able to trek across the same perilous lands as their drivers. Thus, the T5 support truck was born.

Due to its appearance, it’s safe to assume that De Rooy’s IVECO Powerstar is extremely top heavy and would roll in almost every corner. However, it’s actually not because everything is mounted down low to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Plus, the back half of the cab is made up of fabric, which doesn’t weigh that much at all. That’s not saying that this truck is light, though, because when fully loaded, it tips the scale at 20,000 pounds.

Since these T5 trucks had to travel across the same routes as the other Dakar challengers (no outside help allowed in Dakar), the T5 trucks oftentimes found themselves deep into battle with other trucks of their kind. As a result, the T4 class was created back in 1999. The T4 class is made up of vehicles that look similar to the T5 support trucks, but the T4s are actual race vehicles instead of being part transporters for other teams. And if you think these trucks are slow due to their sheer size, you are greatly mistaken, as most trucks can reach anywhere up to 1,000 hp and 3,000 lb-ft of torque! As a result, these vehicles can charge through most of the treacherous features that litter Dakar with the greatest of ease, which makes them a spectator favorite.

Over the years, Kamaz has been ruling the T4 class with multiple wins; however, there seems to be a shift with the recent successes of Gerard De Rooy in his IVECO Powerstar. And up until now, SCORE has never seen a T4 truck race at their events, but weeks before the Baja 500, talk was going around about De Rooy making the trek down to Mexico. Well, the Dutchman made it, appendicitis and all. Unfortunately for De Rooy, he succumbed to the pain, and made it 30 miles into the race before he had to return back.

Fortunately, before De Rooy and his team could make their way back home, we were given the rare opportunity to bring this monstrous T4 truck into our studio and get a closer look, dirt and all …

When you’re racing Dakar, you do not want to see this in your mirrors. Towering at over 10 feet tall, De Rooy’s IVECO is nothing you want to mess with while racing out in the desert. Tire size is also regulated by the ASO, and all teams must not have tires that exceed a 51-inch diameter. De Rooy’s team elected to use the massive 50-inch Michelin XZL to rip through the desert terrain. The tires can also be inflated and deflated on the fly by De Rooy’s mechanic, Darek Rodewalk, while he sits in the comfort of his seat inside the cab.

Iveco Powerstar
Engine: 12.9L Iveco Diesel
Builder: Iveco
Max Horsepower: 840 hp
Max Torque: 2,655 lb-ft
Modifications: Electronic Bosch unit injectors, Holset turbo
Induction: Iveco
Transmission: Iveco

Front: L&P three-leaf springs, Reiger coilovers, coil springs, Donerre bumpstops
Rear: L&P two-leaf springs, Reiger coilovers, coil springs, Donerre bumpstops

Cooling Iveco

Wiring Iveco

Front: Knorr-Bremse, disc brakes, 430x42 mm
Rear Knorr-Bremse, disc brakes, 430x42 mm

Wheels: Iveco 20-inch beadlocks
Tires: 50-inch Michelin XZL

Bodywork: Iveco
Interior Sparco seats and harnesses, Pioneer head unit, other Iveco components, ASO supplied GPS units

Chassis: Iveco
Wheelbase: 118 inches
Overall Length: 268 inches
Overall Height: 118 inches
Track Width: 100 inches
Overall Weight: 20,000 pounds

Additional Information:

One thing you’ll notice as you take a peek under the front wheelwell is that this is not like the typical Masterpiece In Metal that you’re used to seeing in this magazine. Aside from the dirt, there aren’t any fancy center-mounted A-arms and five-tube bypasses that produce massive amounts of travel as it cycles through the suspension. Instead, De Rooy’s IVECO Powerstar is outfitted with a solid-axle with an L&P leaf-spring pack and two Reiger coilovers. Due to the strict guidelines that have been placed by ASO (Amaury Sport Organization), T4 trucks are limited to 13.5 inches of travel. However, these limitations don’t seem to faze the drivers, as they are able to conquer most obstacles at Dakar. Bringing this massive 20,000-pound beast to a stop is a combo of Knorr-Bremese 17-inch rotors and calipers.
PhotosView Slideshow
De Rooy’s mechanic, Darek Rodewalk, is not only another set of eyes; he’s in charge of making sure everything is running properly. From Rodewalk’s point of view, it looks as if he’s in the cockpit of some sort of space station. The two screens on the far left and right provide live images of the Powerstar’s vital components. If something were to go south, Rodewalk can spot it right away, and fix it before things become much worse. Dead center, you notice a unit labeled Téléflow. With this device, Rodewalk can inflate and deflate the tires on the fly—providing proper tire pressure for various terrains.
PhotosView Slideshow

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