The gloves are on the table in the Rallye Breslau Poland 2020, with fierce competition right from the start. During the 272km of today’s stage the top drivers were constantly changing position. It was a true competition for the fastest time and the first place on the first day of perhaps the first and only international rally-raid after the summer of 2020.
The stories of today are glowing with joy, as the forests of Bobolice and Dretyn received the competitors in true ‘Breslau’ style with pleasure, speed and competitive racing. The Rallye Breslau Poland allows you to compete with all your skill and knowledge, and when you get it right it rewards you with good results.
Cars: Fantastic to be back
“It is fantastic to be back in the car!” says stagewinner in the car category Dave Klaassen at the finish of the first special. Dave and his navigator Tessa Rooth have been quick to learn the rules of the game in rally raid, and are able to navigate and drive fast enough to capture the flag on this historic day.
After the first stage, what looked like a fight between Herman Jasper, Frank Stensky and Ronald Schoolderman turned around to the advantage of strategic drivers and good navigators. In the Breslau, it is the navigation that wins, and the speed that looses time. To balance them is a careful act. When you push too much, time gets lost.
Benny Dille and Sander Dille race a modified HZJ73, a classic Toyota Land Cruiser. Not a fast car, but faultless navigation brings them to a second place in the Car ranking, ahead of the armada of fast rally raid cars in the Cross Country class. It is a pleasure to see them on the track, making such great results with a simple car and steady driving.
Bikes: The roadbook gives a strong message
Starting in the morning in the high grass of Bobolice, last years’ winner Mirjam Pol takes it very easy with a 20th place as result. Andrius Likus and Paul Spierings battle for the first place with Rob van Vegchel, who was the fastest biker on the first stage. “These stages give such a strong message,” Rob says. “You need to navigate, and be so careful with the distances and choices you make. It is a fantastic game to play!”
Matthias Haidt still loves the Breslau, even after 15 years of racing. “My bike is even older, it has done every one of these races with me. There is something nice about going into the forest, finding the route, opening the throttle when you’re sure. It was fun today!” And the pleasure of racing, that is what the Breslau is about. In a year such as this one, the best thing to do is enjoy these opportunities!
Racing a big bike in a tight forest is not for the faint of heart: Tomas Mankowski knows all about it. “I want to prove myself I can do this, but the choice for my KTM 950 could not be more unfortunate. For me it is simple, it is the only bike I have.” Finishing as 26th bike in the stage today, for sure he cannot complain about his results!
SSV Class: the fastest in the field
Ramunas Kembre is the fastest driver on the stage today with his Can AM. In a huge field of side by sides, the fun and speed are there in this class. He is being chased by Tank Tsankov and Yann van Beek, who occupy the second and third place today. During the day the ranking changed as the competitors were chasing each other and pushing beyond the limit of their vehicles.
Balkan Offroad Rallye winner Konstantin Cholakov was leading in the first stage, but reached the finish with technical difficulties, Philon Parpottas took over but turned his SSV into a 2WD, breaking the front diff, etc. The forest is full of stories like these. The recovery crew is busy collecting everyone, and we will see who is able to repair and restart tomorrow morning!
Trucks: Enjoying the forest
“We are competing in the Extreme Truck Class, but often we found ourselves racing with the Dakar trucks!” Henri Verhoeven races his GINAF through the tight forest, enjoying the sharp turns and difficult terrain. “This is the type of driving for which we’ve built our truck, fantastic!”
Winner of the stage today is Tom Heuer in his Tatra, who is able to make an incredible speed in this difficult terrain. He has a reputation for being fast, which he shares with many of the new teams who compete on the Breslau this year. As he also has a good hand in choosing his navigator, tomorrow he can open the stage in this class.
Extreme Class: exciting battle ahead
Jim Marsden set the pace today in the Extreme Class, with the fastest time in the provisional results. But Hardo Mere, Franck Daurelle, Eric Plomp, Matthias Hertwig and Gilles Girousse are all within a good 15 minutes of him. The hillclimb in Dretyn was difficult for the first teams, who tried to break their front axles, jumping in true ‘Formula Offroad’ style. Yet most of the teams mastered the obstacles today with style, with a very close field as a final result.
“Hardo Mere is really competitive,” says Franck Daurelle, “his speed will be difficult to match even for Jim Marsden!” It will be a fast Breslau in this class, who drive their own roadbook in a combination of cross country and trophy as a tribute to the classic Breslau concept.
To be tempted or to stay calm…
The ability to race in Poland is highly regarded by the competitors, who are truly enjoying the competition. The glove is on the table right from the start, and when you let go and are tempted to race beyond your skill… your can be lucky, or not. The Breslau is famous for being tough, for being fun and for being both a rally at speed and a mental game for the competitors.
Tomorrow the rally continues with two specials, near Miastko and Borne Sulinowo. It will be a route going from the wet soil of Miastko to the dry sand of Borne Sulinowo, a race crossing the different landscapes here in Poland. With new routes in Borne, the playing field is level for everyone, and we expect to see the next episode in the competition!
Source: Dutch Rally Press (Niels Hartzman) Images: BPI Dutch Rally Press