WTCC fan favourite and ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet driver Tom Coronel is to contest the 2016 running of the Dakar rally with twin brother Tim in a buggy built by his brother especially for the event. In statements from both drivers, “This was once, but never again,” insisted Tom in 2009, his first year in the event. “But when your brother tells that he has built a second buggy again, the feeling returns and eventually, I said yes. Especially as I have received a lot of positive feedback about the TV reports that gave an insight into the Dakar Rally. “Such footage is impossible to produce from the outside and the stories of Dutch competitors that got stuck really touched the spectators. Together with RTL GP, I will bring again unforgettable images into the living rooms in The Netherlands, there is no doubt about that. Moreover, I am proud that RTL7 has made a documentary about my adventure and that of the other competitors.” “For me, the Dakar Rally lasts twelve months a year,” said Tim, who will compete the other self-built buggy. “After the finish in January, there was only little time to relax and regenerate, because then we already started preparations for next year. We have analysed the aspects that weren’t good from a technical point of view or that could be improved, after which the buggy was completely rebuilt. “For most people, it may not look very different, but, believe me, many things have changed. The windscreen has been removed to enhance visibility, especially after river crossings and mud baths. The wiring is now totally waterproof and an additional alternator has been installed into the buggy. The rear of the chassis has been strengthened further and suspension travel has been increased. Together with the ride height, increased by no less than five centimetres, this results into better handling, allowing me to drive faster off-road. “In spite of the adaptations, the weight has been reduced by no less than 30 kilograms, and less weight means more speed. “It is our goal to make it to the finish with both buggies. I will go for a good classification, with first place in the solo class as the ultimate goal, while Tom will be covering the rally from within with his TomCam and will be searching for Dutch competitors who have run into trouble.” With Tom planning to race Dakar next season and the news of Sebastien Loeb's move from the WTCC to Cross-Country Rally full time from 2016, it seems that WTCC stars are staring to prefer the gravel and sand route to racing thrills in a world of sanitised racetracks we all now live in. Good luck to the Coronels at Dakar 2016 from all at RaceDepartment!