World Rally-Raid Championship

2023 Rallye du Maroc: Janus van Kasteren wins final T5 championship

3 Mins read
Credit: Team de Rooy

Trucks are a beloved category whenever they appear at the Dakar Rally, but their limited presence beyond that means 2023 is the final year where they have a World Rally-Raid Championship to compete for. After winning Dakar in January, Janus van Kasteren can call himself the final T5 champion after surviving a brutal and rather controversial Rallye du Maroc.

Van Kasteren entered Morocco with a nine-point lead in the championship after defeating Martin Macík Jr. at Dakar. With Tomáš Vrátný forty-seven points back, the second and final round of the T5 season was effectively a one-on-one.

Macík had the dominant truck as he won the Prologue followed by Stages #1 and #3, while van Kasteren’s rally began on an inauspicious note when a branch went through his windshield in the Prologue and shattered it followed by a pair of broken left shock absorbers in Stage #1. Van Kasteren also lost time in the latter when he had to stop to assist team-mate Michiel Becx, who missed a waypoint and got stuck in a dune pan for an hour due to a flat right front tyre. As Macík took Stage #1, van Kasteren finished sixth and trailed by 1:32:30, a virtually impossible gap to close on pace alone.

He finally regained his footing by winning the second stage before edging out Macík for the Stage #4 victory by just two minutes, though Macík still held the overall going into the last stage as penalties plagued the rest of the field. However, the tables turned yet again when Macík was disqualified because his truck’s turbocharger restrictor was deemed too large by the FIA. While he is appealing the ruling, the penalty blew the doors wide open for van Kasteren to seal the title for good, albeit in rather ugly fashion as his truck’s chassis broke in Stage #5. He fell to fourth overall as a result, though his Team de Rooy still enjoyed a double-victory day as Becx managed a third-place run to win the overall.

“To become world champion, we had to finish, so that was the most important thing,” said van Kasteren. “It happened fifty kilometres before the end, which is of course a shame. End of the rally, Michiel has won. Also fun and secured the world title.”

Van Kasteren joins Kees Koolen as the only W2RC T5 champions. Despite the trucks’ popularity, the two-race schedule is the smallest of all FIA categories and does not justify a championship; T2 for production cars, which consistently had just two entries—from the same team, no less—at Dakar and Morocco, also does not have a trophy.

“The competitors are mainly interested in Dakar, so that’s why we decided to stop the T5 championship,” FIA cross-country rally category manager Jerome Roussel explained in July“But the T5 are still there. They are still very welcome. They bring a part of the show which is very interesting. What they need is stability, so now we have FIA regulations in place and it’s planned to remain as it is.”

Vrátný finished third overall and first among W2RC-eligible drivers, enabling him to steal runner-up in the standings from Macík.

Anja Van Loon, the third Team de Rooy competitor, was fifth in her first T5 W2RC start after racing at Dakar in a T3.

T5 overall results

1506Michiel Becx*Wulfert Van GinkelEdwin KuijpersTeam de Rooy21:32:34Leader
2503Gerrit Zuurmond*Tjeerd Van BallegooyKlaas KwakkelRainbow Truck Team24:02:59+ 2:30:25
3502Tomáš VrátnýBartłomiej BobaJaromir MartinecFesh Fesh Team27:05:46+ 5:33:12
4500Janus van KasterenDarek RodewaldMarcel SnijdersTeam de Rooy33:01:10+ 11:28:36
5507Anja Van Loon*Marije van EttekovenFloor MatenTeam de Rooy49:02:54+ 27:30:20
6505Gert Huzink*Rob BuursenMartin RoesinkRiwald Dakar Team59:36:34+ 38:04:00
DNF504Javier Mariezcurrena*Facun Vitoria SalaberriaAngel Iribarren SanzberroTruck Navarra CompeticiónDNFN/A
DNF509Vaidotas Paskevicius*Slavomir VolkovGytis GaspariūnasFesh Fesh TeamDNFN/A
DNF510Egbert Wingens*Marijn BeekmansJan Paul Van Der PoelDDW RallyteamDNFN/A
DSQ501Martin Macík Jr.František TomášekDavid ŠvandaMM Technology18:53:50DSQ
* – Not competing in World Rally-Raid Championship

T5 stage winners

PrologueMichiel Becx13:33.2
Stage #1Tomáš Vrátný5:07:19
Stage #2Janus van Kasteren3:30:26
Stage #3Janus van Kasteren3:40:31
Stage #4Janus van Kasteren4:15:35
Stage #5Gert Huzink2:20:07

Overall winners

T1201Yazeed Al-RajhiToyota Gazoo Racing14:49:09
T2251Ronald Basso*Team Land Cruiser Toyota Auto Body22:14:17
T3315Marek GoczałEnergyLandia Rally Team16:22:12
T4403João FerreiraSouth Racing Can-Am18:26:24
T5506Michiel Becx*Team de Rooy21:32:34
RallyGP8Toby PriceRed Bull KTM Factory Racing15:56:43
Rally232Bradley CoxBAS World KTM Racing Team17:06:37
Rally3164Cheikh Yves JacquemainAfrica Rallye Team23:42:39
Quad186Alexandre Giroud*Drag’on Rally Team21:07:24
Open Auto601Jérôme Cambier*MD Rallye Sport21:21:46
Open SSV653Tomas Mickus*BRO Racing21:42:23
Road to Dakar Bike71Toby Hederics*BAS World KTM Racing Team19:11:16
Road to Dakar SSV420William Grarre*Team Horizon Off-Road21:50:39

W2RC T5 standings

Drivers’ standings

1Janus van Kasteren157Leader
2Tomáš Vrátný118– 39
3Martin Macík Jr.102– 55
Kees Koolen0– 157

Co-drivers’ standings

Co-drivers and mechanics are grouped into the same championship.

1Darek RodewaldJanus van Kasteren157Leader
1Marcel SnijdersJanus van Kasteren157Leader
3Bartłomiej BobaTomáš Vrátný118– 39
3Jaromir MartinecTomáš Vrátný118– 39
5František TomášekMartin Macík Jr.102– 55
5David ŠvandaMartin Macík Jr.102– 55
Wouter de GraaffKees Koolen0– 157
Wouter RosegaarKees Koolen0– 157
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Justin is neither a NASCAR nor off-road racer, but he has covered them for The Checkered Flag since 2018.
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