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Dakar Rally 2013: SAM Mercedes shows a good performance in the rally.





Reliable technology, experienced drivers and highly committed teamwork - this was the recipe for success of the "HS Rally Team" during the Dakar 2013. In spite of their strong rivals, Matthias Kahle and Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann impressed with position 13 overall. On more than 8,500 kilometers they only had to get out their shovel four times, the jack twice. The chronicle of a success story.

"The competition on the top is tighter than ever before", identified Matthias Kahle, driver of the HS RallyeTeam, already prior to the start. "We are one of 20 teams that fight for a Top Ten position." The team relies on the 4WD-prototype SAM 30D CC after its successful premier on the "Silk Way Rally", in which Kahle and his navigator Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann had the podium within reach till the last day and finally ranked seven.

Kahle/Schünemann intentionally started the first two days in the dunes of Peru without any haste. The Germans hardly had any experience with a 4WD vehicle in the soft sand of the desert and thus intended to approach their limit cautiously without taking any risk. But the duo, that had been sharing the cockpit since 2004, worked together well and learned quickly.

Kahle/Schünemann got stuck three times on the second stage, but then really forged ahead: In only two days, the SAM improved from position 34 to 17 overall! Unfortunately, the team also claimed the breakdown of its Fast Assistance- race truck of Mathias Behringer, Hugo Kupper and Michael Karg due to a motor defect.

Despite this setback, Kahle/Schünemann moved forward with every stage and achieved better results every day. In the mountain air of the Andes the Germans started flying high and ranked 12 in the daily classification. After the day-off in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, the team even made the leap to the Top Ten. On the curvy gravel tracks around Cordoba, Kahle and co-pilot Schünemann could turn their many years of experience in rallye sports in two ninth positions.

At the same time, the SAM 30D CC convinced with its impressive reliability during the first Dakar participation. During the 8,574 kilometers long journey through Peru, Argentina and Chile, the 300 HP strong 4WD vehicle only suffered minor damages like a broken transverse link, a crack in its charge air cooler, a door that bounced up and two tyre damages.

The real moments of shock during the two-week desert rallye were caused by the unsettled weather: On the eight day, Kahle/Schünemann were driving through a dried-out riverbed, when suddenly a flood wave came rolling towards them. The reason were heavy rainfalls in the Andes. The tenth stage also had to be stopped due to similar conditions.

The "HS Rally Team" could not be impressed by such adversities. Kahle/Schünemann showed a faultless performance in the second half of the rally and got stuck in the sand only one more time. The distance to the top was as small as never before when the Germans reached the goal of the world’s hardest rallye. By 05:33:33 hours behind, the team would always have been in the Top Ten during the last years.

With the strong competition, Kahle/Schünemann finally reached Santiago de Chile on position 13 overall. "We have hardly made any mistakes on 8,000 kilometers and showed an outstanding performance on some stages", navigator Schünemann said beamingly in the finish. "Each of us really has given everything during the last two weeks in order to reach the best possible result. Considering the strong competition, the 13th place can be seen as a great success."

2013/01/22 | 22:55 CET | ARTICLE: MR/HS/SAM/KLEIN











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