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Albania Rally: Fast tactical prologue on the beach Saturday - Mountain hotel.







The shortest day of the rally was actually already the longest day for some participants: After a well-designed show-start in front of a pyramid monument in the center of Tirana, there was the prologue at the beach, just 40 kilometers from Tirana. But the participants already had to deal with a greater range...

In a long off-road transfer, the rally participants were led in a roundabout way to the beach, 100 kilometers it was on slopes, boulders and water to deal with. Although the section was not considered temporary, but there was a maximum time.

"We wanted to give the participants a taste of what is to come," says organizer Edvin Kasimati the detour. "Many people go too fast here. This rally is one of the less speed than driving skill, prudence and good navigation. It also gives us (the organization) more time obviously." Rainhard Friedl from Austria (Mitsubishi) came through quickly: "A beautiful, challenging course, but even here one could even go fast break something."

After they met at a crowded beach, which was quickly filling with hundreds of spectators. A small beach bar probably seen the sales of the year, when suddenly the entire rally entourage bought storaged drinks empty.

Instead of 14 kilometers, the track was only 7 kms long - but not easy kilometers. The water between the dunes and steep cliffs, it was consistent with low and extremely soft sand - the first vehicles stucked already at the start. Driving with low-gear and full speed was the secret of this day.

Nevertheless, even on the first 7 kilometers, threw four motorcycles and one car out of the race. The Toyota Land Cruiser of an Albanian team broke spectaculary his turbo, with a loud bang and a highly visible white smoke cloud. But during the night they repaired the car, now wants to try it again.

Two Dutch motorcyclist, a Swede and a Czech, it also caught. Sand, water, destroyed wheels - even the motos were in the range. A biker had even double misfortune: He "parked" his damaged bike directly next to the water and walked the last 600 meters to the finish line - but the flood came and sank the bike in salt water. The organization needed more then two hours to find the bike...

After the prolog there was another 70 kms liaision - but "Albanian" 70 kilometers. Who was driving fast, they managed in two hours, because it went through lonely villages and forests in the mountains in the middle, on single track, sometimes very narrow serpentine roads.

Who had through here with a service truck needed strong nerves ... sometimes an oncoming car had to back up to one kilometer, because the road was simply too narrow.

The reward came in the evening: A beautiful, normally skiing winter resort in the middle of a hills plateau with a hotel that was rebuilt like an old castle, with free running cows with cowbells and the mountain atmosphere it reminiscents more like an Italian Alpine village than the Balkan. Here is the Rally convoy will stay for two nights.

This Sunday, a short circuit is on the agenda - but here, short is "relative". After 80 kilometers of liaision, there will be a special stage with nearly 60 kilometers. "It seems today to be ultra-hazardous" means Rainhard Friedl. "We have unsecured mountain passes, winding roads, a lot of rocks and steep slopes."

A look at the road book shows: Hard curves on hard turns, a lot of "Caution" signs after another, sometimes up to four attention marks (!). Especially dangerous places were marked in a new way: The road book images are negative, the correct road is printed white on black background...

10.06.2012 | 09:55 CET | ARTICLE: MR / HS











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