12.07 – 19.07.2014
After nearly one week and seven days of racing in eight stages, the “new” Rallye Breslau in Poland finished in Drawsko Pomorskie in the North-West of Poland. In 2014 the rally was organized by an experienced crew under new management, which wanted to make the rally more international and more professional.
For the first time the rally was held only in Poland – and for the first time the stages were split into classes EXTREME (with water and mud) and CROSS COUNTRY (without mud, more focused on speed and navigation). The new Organization kept its promises!
The rally started on Sunday (July 13th) with two legs, one of them held in the night as “Lazer Night Flights” with a separate ranking and special prizes. Six more legs followed from Monday to Saturday, held in the forests and wide open military grounds near the cities of Recz (Sunday-Monday), Borne Sulinowo (Tuesday-Thursday) and Drawsko Pomorskie (Friday-Saturday).
The stages were faster than in the last editions of the rally, the road books very precise – and with the last two legs in Drawsko Pomorskie, the organizers also offered some sections which could be called “Breslau-traditionally” – rough terrain, hard navigation, some loops, a lot of dust and for the Extreme Class some well-known and also new mud holes. From the start of the race until the end, the rally offered nice and interesting fights in 11 different classes.
On Thursday, the second part of the leg, which was planned as the longest “Hannibal” stage, had to be cancelled after a Military advice. Some international NATO crews were testing in the Drawsko Military ground – in which the rally-stage should have taken place. After the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane, the Military was in alarm mode and so also on Friday morning the area was closed.
In cooperation with the Military Government and the forest-management, in the Friday afternoon the rally was allowed to start. The organizers decided to make the leg more interesting and added some kilometres. Because of the length, for many of the competitors this stage turned into the second night stage.
In the EXTREME CARS, teams from France dominated the starting-field, and also the daily top 10. After the first days four nations – Poland, France, Switzerland and Germany became the stable leaders – and even after five days of racing everything seemed like a win for Poland.
But it was the French crew of Laurent Laroche / Stephane Denecheau with their Land Rover Defender, which beat their compatriots Cedric Porcher / Damien Kermorvant (Toyota Mudracer) with only 4:34 minutes, followed by Marcin Biada and Maciej Radomski from Poland in their Proxcar GRAT prototype.
The top 5 was completed by the German Suzuki-Prototype of Stefan Henken / Mario Schneider and Benjamin and Lionel Servanty (France, Land Rover Defender).
The new CROSS COUNTRY CLASS for the cars surprised with many FIA rally cars – in the past nearly never seen at Rallye Breslau. And from the beginning the FIA cars dominated the race.
In the first days, Wojciech Tolak from Poland (Mercedes G500 ORC), Petar Cenkov from Bulgaria (Opel Antara RR), Robert Kufel (Poland, Ford Ranger), Herman Jasper from Holland (Bowler Nemesis) “controlled” the top 5, always disturbed by the beautiful and unique Volkswagen T3 Syncro “rally bus” of the German Bernd Jaeger and the FIA-Mitsubishi of the Polish Hanna Sobota. Cenkov/Marinov with their Opel Antara led the race the first two days, than Tolak/Szurkowski (Mercedes, Poland) became first – until Wednesday, when technical problems forced them to retire for one stage. This was the time of the all-new Ford Ranger of the former Breslau-winners Robert Kufel / Dominik Samosiuk: The surprisingly stable Ford went faster and faster – and finally overtook the Bulgarian Opel-crew. Kufel/Samosiuk could win Breslau Poland for a second time, this time only 52 seconds (!) in front of Cenkov/Marinov and 03:14:36 hours in front of the Dutch Bowler Nemesis of Herman Jasper / Evert Blaauw. Tolak/Szurkowski (Mercedes) could manage the fourth position and the VW rally bus of Bernd Jaeger / Sabine Trapp became fifth.
In the CROSS COUNTRY class of the trucks the rally had two competitors: the Polish FIA truck race driver Grzegorz Ostaszewki (Iveco) and the Dakar expert Ales Loprais (Tatra) from the Czech Republic. For Loprais it was his first Rallye Breslau – and he was surprised about the difficulties of this race. Finally Loprais and navigators Walter/Ferran was faster than the Polish crew Grzegorsz Ostaszewski / Roman Flandera / Marcin Smetek.
The EXTREME CLASS TRUCKS were split into the categories “Light” (<7.5 tons) and “Heavy” (>7.5 tons). Eight trucks could finish the race in the light-class – all were Mercedes Unimog. After mixed results in the first days, finally the former Breslau-winner and German “Wetten Dass” TV-star Udo Heidenreich won the race with his partners Hermann Schmitz and Harry Graf, followed by the “X-raid” experts Sebastian Reichenbach / Phillip Beier (Germany) and Heidenreich´s teammates Philippe Musy (France) and Tim Ibbett (UK). The top 5 was completed by the former Breslau winners Joris Peumans / Maarten de Boer (Belgium) and the Germans Felix and Michael Muellenheim.
The EXTREME TRUCKS HEAVY CLASS was dominated from the beginning by the Dutch “Baja Deutschland” winner Leon de Wit and his crew with their new Mercedes Prototype (which looks like a Scania) and the “real” Scania of the German Peter Niedergesaess (for him it was a Breslau-comeback after some years). After seven racing days, De Wit / De Wit / Breed climbed the first position of the podium, followed by Niedergesaess / Niedergesaess / Borzym and the really big MAN KAT of the Germans Leyh / Koenig / Kemmerzehl. The fourth position went to the MAN KAT crew of Menz / Rexhaeuser / Rexhaeuser (Germany), fifth became the Mercedes 6×6 SK crew of Neubert / Neubert / Markgraf (Germany).
Also the bikes were split into CROSS COUNTRY and EXTREME. The CC CLASS was very international with competitors from Poland, Austria, Lithuania, Belgium and Holland.
The final winners after some gruelling second-gap-fights: Piotr Krasuski from Poland on KTM (1st place), Beat Juen from Austria (2nd place) and Irmantas Braziunas from Lithuania (3rd place). The top 5 was completed by Tomas Jancys (Lithuania) and the 2013 vice-winner of the “Africa Eco Race”, Guillaume Martens from Holland. The “mud lovers” of the EXTREME BIKES also offered a nice fight during the rally days, but from the beginning the Breslau-expert Oliver Post from Germany dominated – and finally won the race on his KTM. Christian Offen (KTM) won the second place in front of Mirco Andreae (Sherco), Frank Weissbach (KTM) and Uwe Goetzel (KTM). All competitors in this class came from Germany.
QUADS / SSV
The QUADS/ATV crews (only EXTREME CLASS) were all coming from Poland, whilst the Side-by-Sides (SSV) were dominated by French teams.
In the SSV Cross Country only one vehicle of Nikodem Suzin / Michal Pieluzek signed in for the rally, but the Polish crew had to retire early from the race. Because of that all positions in the SSV class were set by French crews with winners: Benoit Landanger / Didier Deblaize on Polaris (1st place), Jean-Marc Meunier / Yoann Buttafoghi (Polaris, 2nd place) and Patrice and Philippe Ryaux (Polaris, 3rd place). They were followed by Christophe Caron / Lionel Drouet and Bienot Lepietre / Laurent Chastaingt. The “internal” Polish race in the QUADS was won by Maciej Marjiewicz (Can Am). The second prize took Remigiusz Kusy (Polaris Scrambler), the third – Andrzej Pieron (Can Am Renegade), The top 5 was completed by Alina Kramer and Pawel Stys.
Text by Hansjörg Schekahn
Starting in groups, just in front of Camp 1 in the South-West of Drawsko Pomorskie military polygon, the competitors started their “battle with the time” in this edition of Breslau Poland . The first special stage was a warm-up for the next 1500 km of off-road racing. Fast dusty tracks and several sand sections were introduced to the bikes, quads, SSV’s, cars and trucks. The highlight for the extreme category was a deep bog hole, which swallowed the cars and the trucks. It was the first time when the winches were in action to keep the vehicles moving. The other small water holes did not cause any trouble to the teams. They were more like warm ups for the teams to know what is coming on in the next days.
With a rain storm over the rally, the night stage was ready to start. The track consisted of 2 laps – 30 kms each, one lap was driven in around 40 minutes. Starting in groups of 2 vehicles, it was like one small Baja race. Head and tail lights, LED bars and mud covered racers filled the night in the south-western part of Drawsko military polygon.
With a later start, due to the night stage, the competitors headed East towards the Forest area of Borne Sulinowo. Also this day marked the first movement of the camp to its new location near the landing strip of the city of Borne Sulinowo. The dusty sandy tracks were changed to fast, straight forest sections. No tricky navigation, no extreme sections, just pure speeding was what the organizers prepared for this day. Arriving at the campsite, the competitors headed fast to their service crews in the picturesque old military barracks area.
After 45 km of liaison to the village of Czarne, the competitors entered a military training ground where they competed with each one in a zig-zag polygon upon leaving the open space and entering the forest tracks near the village of Okonek. There the extreme terrain got their winches working while crossing the water and mud channels. The cross country entered fast and steadily in a chase of each other in the loops of the forest tracks near Borne. While everyone was having fun, there were the “weather gods”, which made the game a bit more interesting with a small rain just before the first teams reached the finish at the camp.
Short and easy leg with almost no extreme sections. This was required due to the fact that the “new Hannibal” was just around the “corner” on the next day. Driving almost the same tracks from Leg 3 in the Borne Sulinowo forests, the competitors had almost no problems to reach the finish. It was now the time for the service crews to get to work and for all others – to prepare for the new movement towards the last camp near the city of Drawsko Pomorskie.
The “new Hannibal” leg was made up of 2 special stages. Due to the exceptional situation that has arisen on the Drawsko Polygon: the International strike forces were having emergency maneuvers, the event management was forced to cancel the second special stage of the day. The competitors were redirected after the finish of SS1 towards the new camp, where an emergency briefing was held after the last competitors had arrived.
With some changes in the roadbook, the competitors entered a newly developed extreme stage and had a longer cross country stage in the Drawsko military polygon. Sand, dust, water, mud and hard navigation – all in one for this “ALMOST” was on the itinerary. It was what the competitors resembled from the first years of the competition as “The true Breslau”. Starting directly from the camp, the competitors reached a split point – CC went for a fast loops, whether the EX went to the deep water crossings in the northern part of the polygon. After just several kilometers, the bog holes were on and the extreme winching started. Much further the newly “virgin swamp” awaited both small and big. Bottomless mud holes were the obstacles which the competitors had to pass. A true help of each other was required. As the day turned into a night, there were several cars and trucks still on the track and the recovery trucks were at sight to help them. It was racing leg which the competitors will never forget.
The final stage was on – fast, dusty and hard. Not a single turn to miss for those fighting for the top positions. Nothing was sure except one thing – concentration up to the last meters of this 125 km, long stage. Winch sections were almost non but water crossings were a blast with less water left in them. The last 3 points of the road book were in azimuths heading directly towards the finish arch, which marked the end of this hard but unforgettable edition of Breslau Poland.