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  • Writer's pictureKees Koolen

Dakar 2023: Ready to go!

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Kees Koolen, Koolen Industries and The Green Box CEO and initiator of Project2030 has arrived at the 1st bivouac “Sea Camp” with his crew and race truck Nicias.

A great team

It's fantastic to be together again in the bivouac. I am very happy to have Wouter de Graaff and Wouter Rosegaar in the team. Together we have about 40 years of Dakar experience. It is nice to work with people who know what it takes to perform in challenging conditions such as in Dakar. We are honoured to start with number 500; a -00 number is assigned to the category favourite, so this sets the bar high for our team. Due to changes in participants, an interesting situation has arisen in which several teams have a chance at the podium or the win. It will be an exciting race.

The right equipment

Our truck Nicias performed very well last year, even winning the W2RC world championship. Unfortunately, the fully electric Nicias V1 is not yet race-ready enough, so we are driving the V0 that has proven itself in the previous Dakar and has undergone some optimizations since then. Having the right equipment builds trust within the team.

Top class sport

The team and equipment are in order; all preparations have been made for successful participation. But once in the race you never quite know what you'll encounter. Not everything can be prepared for. One must be able to switch gears under high pressure on the spot and perform as a team in difficult situations.

In that sense, Dakar is a striking metaphor for my business activities at Koolen Industries, where we are active with many teams at the forefront of the energy transition. There, too, the core elements are: a clear vision of where you want to go, an exact understanding of what you do, the right technology developed and applied, and then everyday hard work with a motivated team. Customer interest is the central theme, and just like in the rally, one encounters unexpected things together with the customer that one has to solve quickly and effectively in practice. That too is top-class sport!

Some of my more extensive reflections can be found in a recent podcast made by Peter van Embden and Robert Baarda from, which can also be seen on youtube.

We're ready to go. I look forward to an intense, beautiful race!

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