On the third day of the Rallye Breslau Poland the route goes from Miastko and Okonek towards the forests of Drawsko Pomorski, for a gruelling night stage on the sand tracks. As we send out this press release the teams are still on the track for the final special of the day, going deep into the night.
The stage today started on the yellow sand of Czarne, the famous polygon that is a challenge for everyone who’s been there. It temps you to open the throttle, drift through the corners and jump over each and every crest, a fantastic feeling in a magical landscape with fast sand tracks and wide corners. It is the miracle of the Breslau, to have the ability to race so close to home and in such a variety of terrains.
Pleasure in racing is in the landscape, but most of all in the game with the other competitors, in chasing and being chased. On the stages in the Breslau we see constant changing of positions, fights between competitors – everyone is in a sporting mood. Until the start in Drawsko It was Marcin Gracyk leading in the Side by Side ranking, followed by Dave Klaassen in the Redline Nissan.
Paul Spierings maintains his position as fastest biker, opening the night stage with flair and an extensive lead already after the first kilometers. Andrius Likus, the fastest competitor in the ATV class cannot keep up with him, although that might change now we have moved to Drawsko. Moving to Drawsko is moving to a area in Poland, with thick sand, small rivers and a different vegetation.
The track is dry, the forest is calm but everything seems different from the previous stages: the corners, the grip, the smell… for those who race in Poland it is familiar terrain. “It is like our home,” says Maciej Pelc, who is racing a Patrol in the extreme class together with his wife. “The entire year, we look forward to this event. It is a marathon, you need be smart all week long to finish here!”
Felix Muellenheim is celebrating today as he brings his new Unimog to the first position in the race. “It was fantastic!” says Felix. “We built it for this type of racing, where the roadbook and the stage challenge you, demand you to use the brain, the engine and your suspension. For me, this is already a great day!” He is leading a pack of strong and powerful machines, with experienced teams who look for a tough challenge.
So far the Extreme Class in the Breslau has been fast, and the competitors look forward to the water crossings, the swamps and the difficulties that are expected in Drawsko. Leaders Hardo Mere and Jim Marsden are still playing hide & seek together, occupying the first two places in the Extreme Car category, and their competitors are waiting for the mud and the water to see a first mistake.
Zero mistakes: This is the goal of Dave Klaassen and Tessa Rooth who hope to keep their lead in the race today. The young team has made considerable progress in the recent years, competing in the Netherlands, Germany and Poland. The Breslau is their step up from weekend events to marathon rallye, suited to their fast Redline Nissan rallycar.
Bigger might not be better: Matthias Hertwig and Philipp Rothkegel both choose a classic Suzuki Samurai, the legendary 4×4 that brought many people into the sport. Matthias races together with his brother Martin, competing in the Breslau since 2008. Philipp Rothkegel has a car with a history dating back to the classic ‘vier stunden rennen’, four hour races, in Germany.
Philipps’ Suzuki is still close to the original vehicle, and a dream for those who like the brand. What remains of the 2008 car that brought Matthias and Martin into the sport is unclear, perhaps bodywork or the steering wheel? Martin and Matthias have changed and improved their Samurai to such an extend that it ‘contains Suzuki parts’ and has become an artwork of offroad engineering.
There is no pause after the night stage: the competition continues tomorrow morning with a long stage in the forests of Drawsko. At sunrise we will know who has made it to the end, and who has lost himself in the darkness of the night.
Source: Dutch Rally Press (Niels Hartzman) Images: Dutch Rally Press