In a series of blog posts we will introduce competitors who shared their experience at Rallye Breslau or other event of RBI Sport in the interview.
1) Who are you? What is your occupation?
My name is Jip Saris, sales manager at Saris 4×4, a 4×4 company in the south-east of the Netherlands. We repair and prepare cars for off-road and expedition. My co-pilot is Jos Beekman, drilling and soil expert at Bouten Geotron. Being friends for quite a few years now, situation ended up us being together in the car as a team. My dad joined us as trouble shooter, steady part, listener, adviser, logistics and everything we didn’t think about. It was special to do this together. My mechanics at sight were Robbert and Jeron, Stefan did a lot of work in the preparation but was a mechanic at another team during the race.
2) How did it start with your off-road passion? Since when are you rallying/driving off-road? What is your rally experience?
I’ve been off-roading with my dad Hans Saris since I was 12 years old. At the age of 18 my first Suzuki Samurai was ready for off-road, with many other 4WD’s to follow. In 2007 I’ve visited Poland for the first time, and been in love with it ever since. Beautiful nature, friendly people and great ways to do off-road. People are very into motorsports in Poland. The toughest days of that trip were the most fun for me. On the first day we hung out with a Polish 4×4 club, and in the moment I knew – The Breslau is the race I want to do some day.
3) You already have taken part in Rallye Breslau. When was your first participation? Share with us the first experience.
2020 was the first time. Driving mostly recreational in the last 20 years, I knew this would be of another level. And it was! Looking for the maximum of the car and yourself takes its toll on the car. Thankfully we had a good service crew, who could fix the car while we could prepare for the next day. Driving was very intense, but it was the best. Only one thing on your mind – the track and the car. Not thinking about things that keep us busy normally, this was great to set your mind on the rally, and the rally only.
4) In which class are you competing in the Breslau? Did you drive in a different class or category or do you remain faithful to one specific class/category?
We drove the Extreme Open class, because of our tire size. But actually we should be in the Extreme Limited, so we will have to work on that for next time. Being a ‘rally-virgin’ and then compete in the same category as legends like Jim Marsden and Hardo Mere, was quite nerve wrecking. We registered quite early, so the first few hours were all about letting the 100k rally cars pass us. After that we could drive our own pace and find a rhythm.
5) Tell us more about your rally vehicle.
Our car is basically a modified Nissan Patrol, which I already own for 12-13 years. At this moment the car is in his 3rd life, it already had some beating in the past years. That’s the reason we weren’t able to participate in 2019, there was just too much work on the car. We basically completely rebuilt it, with rust as our biggest issue. All Nissan owners will recognize that…Of course it has difflockers, roll cage, serious shock absorbers, bigger tires and a big Giggle Pin winch on the front, but it’s actually quite near to the original concept, only with a lot of upgrades.
6) What is special about Rallye Breslau? What drives you to participate in this rally? What are in your point of view the main features of this event that makes it different to other rallies?
The Breslau is a legend, It’s the most famous off-road rally in Europe, but at an entry level which is doable for a lot of people. You don’t need a € 100K car to participate. That’s what makes it attractive for many off roaders who want to go the next step. But beware; it is still a race. Once you’re at the start at countdown, your heartbeat goes up and adrenaline starts pumping.
7) Share something from your rally vehicle preparation for Rallye Breslau, that can be useful to other competitors.
Make sure the basics is in very good condition. We took extra time to make sure we didn’t go out of the race because of a rush job. Better safe than sorry. When the basics work, the rest will follow. As long as your engine, gearbox, axles and winch are working, the only other thing is your co-pilot. Keep him happy, you need him! Make sure everyone in the team knows what he should do. Keep it simple (however that gets harder during the process….)
8) Have you already taken part in other rally events of RBI Sport? Which ones.
Nope, this was the first time, but definitely not the last time. We said that to each other on the finish line. It’s like a drug, getting a tattoo or making love. After the first time you just want more.
9) What are your next rally plans?
Make the car ready for next time. Hopefully Jos and I can switch places next time and we can drive his beautifully built car, even it is a Toyota 😉