Starting in the afternoon, a finish in the evening.. today the competitors of the Rallye Breslau Poland get an adventurous and challenging day, with two stages, ending after sunset. It was a choice from the military, or perhaps a gift as it makes the race even more interesting. The battle in front is fantastic, with team racing at the maximum of their possibilities, at the end of their sleep and with the first big mechanical problems in their minds.
In Extreme Class the battle is fierce, and the front runners start to make mistakes. Jim Marsden arrives at a small river crossing, tries to find hard soil underneath the peat swamp and dives deep into the black mud. His co-pilot tries to use the winch, reaches the end of the cable and only with the extra ropes of the recovery crew they are able to get their car through and continue the race. In the distance we see them searching for the route, it is not just technical driving but also difficult navigation on this improvised night stage. Romain Porchere passes without issues, just as Franck & Francoise who are able to cross the river in no-time, filling the podium for the Extreme Class today.
The field in the extreme class has spread out very wide, with the trucks arriving just before sunset at the last river crossing. Steffen Braun (Unimog), Benjamin Kittler (MAN KAT) and Patrick Toepfer (Unimog) are now leading the pack, ahead of last years’ winner Kay Messner. ‘We might have won last year, but we are still learning,’ says Kay. ‘There is no certainty in this sport, every day is new and everything can happen!’
Steffen Braun built a new Unimog, for the Extreme Class in the Breslau. ‘After seven years with our old Unimog it fitted like a glove. This one is a bit tough to handle, we don’t get along yet. But it is an excellent vehicle. In a river crossing that I did not manage in 3rd, I shifted to 1 and could just drive out!’ This week Steffen will become friends with new the Unimog, although he has a nice list with possible changes for next time.
As the teams cross the river, the ones have to winch but later we see the more adventurous drivers in both car and truck class who are able to master the crossing without winching, much to the joy of the fans and officials who are waiting on the other side. As the sun sets, they know they have to hurry up to reach the finish line before darkness falls over the Polygon.
Tomorrow there is a mass start for the Cross Country class, which will become a hunt across the plain towards the next note in the roadbook. Chasing your fellow competitors, racing nose by nose, only to forget a marathon rally is won with patience and lost with haste… 162 kilometers of road book might seem like a relaxed day, a break from the pace of the Rallye Breslau Poland 2018 but the teams can expect a technical stage with beautiful off-road racing!