Dakar trucks contender Martin van den Brink has had to retire from the 2016 race on Stage 2 after his Renault caught fire.

By: Valentin Khorounzhiy, Editorial Assistant

Dakar trucks contender Martin van den Brink has had to retire from the 2016 race on Stage 2 after his Renault caught fire.

Van den Brink, who took an impressive victory in Rally Morocco late last year ahead of leading contenders Gerard de Rooy and Ales Loprais, had to end his Dakar campaign as his Renault truck unexpectedly erupted into flames.

"I felt that there was no brake pressure anymore and in a right turn we hit a wall," van den Brink remembered. "I could just keep the truck on the road when we hurt something. Our mechanic Richard Mouw then went to look and screamed that there was fire."

Van den Brink, Mouw and navigator Peter Willemsen all managed to escape unhurt, but the truck was soon beyond saving.

"We got help from Kamaz driver Dmitry Sotnikov," van den Brink noted. "That was very nice, but the Russians could not do anything more. It really is very odd that it went so fast. We just could not do anything.

"It's a tough game. But this is part of the Dakar Rally. You can't really do anything about it. We won't give up and we will start over."

Meanwhile, Pascal de Baar, van den Brink's teammate at Mammoet Rallysport, continues on, having completed the stage in 18th place.

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Top Renault truck exits Dakar in flames