You could loose or win everything on the last day of the Balkan Offroad 2019, with long and fast stages for the Cross Country and a tough one for the Extreme Class. The overnight rain changed the conditions of the tracks, but they dried out quickly in the morning and allowed for a high speed run on this last day.
Desislav Slavchev and Margarita Staynova earned their win in the Car Open category, beating a massive field of fast cars and experienced competitors with their Mercedes G. “It was the hardest race for us to win,” says Margarita, “We had to push and think and make sure we were fast enough to beat them and slow enough to keep our car from breaking!” The victory is sweet!
Second in the Car Open are Rik van den Brink and Gydo Heimans. Rik showed incredible skill behind the wheel, making his debut this year with the Toyota ORD3. He finishes ahead of Bert Mourik and Robert Voor de Poorte in the Bowler Nemesis, who was accompanied to the finishline by his teammates and friends Herman Jasper and Evert Blaauw and Rients Hofstra and Evert Boersma. Herman: “We did not want to take any risk, after all the succes he had this race we wanted Bert to be on the podium!”
Leader in the SSV class Tsanko Tsankov made an expensive driving mistake that could cost him his victory: “We drove from a small cliff into a ravine,” says Zornitsa, his co-driver. “I thought we’d loose all the time we had to the second on this place, but Konstantin Cholakov with the Hilux was there to help us. They pulled us out, without them we would nog be here!”
Tsanko Tsankov wins the SSV category, ahead of Lea Gauthier and Max Delfino. Lea literally grew up racing the stages here and the podium is well deserved. Richard Oguez and Delphine Delfino finish third, an excellent team with decades of racing experience and a good teacher for the navigation, as Max and Delphine are the first couple on the podium who race in different vehicles.
The party exploded with the win of Magdalena Zajac and Tomasz Mrocek in Car Limited with their little Dacia Duster. ‘The car that could’ made a lasting impression, with 4 cars from the Overlimit team at the start. Oleg Manokhin and Andrey Bryukhov from Kazachstan were the only competitors to stop the Dacias from winning everything, as they made it to the second place ahead of Wojciech Furman and Michal Augustyniak, who finish third.
Mirjam Pol from the Netherlands wins the Balkan Offroad 2019, her second victory this year after the Rallye Breslau Poland. Showing her skill in riding and navigation she is an example for many. Lodi Boelhouwer finishes second, a rookie and a fast rider. Making it to the third place, Bram van der Wouden could not be happier in his first season on his new Sherco.
Ruler of the mountains, Aviv Kadshai, Uri Yaakobovitch and Barak Dudai brought their DAF truck to the first place at the finishline. With routes adapted for the trucks they were able to cross from the mountains to the sea at high speed. Philippe Musy and Tim Ibbet racing their Unimog finish second, ahead of the Dutch Hans van Geest, Anton Muller and Adrie Deelen.
Winning and loving the Balkan Offroad ‘Extreme’ class, Franck Daurelle and Francoise Hollender are the team to beat in this category. The victory does not come easy, but it shows toughness and perseverance in difficult conditions on the most beautiful and remote tracks through Bulgaria. Christophe Moine and Olivier Vailleau finish second, ahead of Sven Syfrig and Michael Ginther.
The Extreme class is our tribute to the origin of the sport, a true adventure in the mountains and forests where have to find your own track or drive routes unused for a long time. “It is exceptional,” says Francoise, “And I wish more people could see the beauty of these stage, as we go to the most exceptional places in this region, very wild and untouched.”
After the award ceremony the party in the Beach Bar on the beach of the Black Sea continued until the morning light, a celebration of a week of sport, competition and international friendship on the Balkan Offroad 2019!
Source: Dutch Rally Press (Niels Hatzmann) Images: Dutch Rally Press (RBI)