|Grand Erg: Kern and Geis the overall winner in front of Kastner and Britz.|
Rallyreport by Joerg Russler: Day 10 - the final day. In the camel stadium in Douz everyone just needed to know what their fast cars were capable of doing and raced round the circuit, after having called it a day. Even Tobias Teichmann was able to drive some decent drifts with his temporary rear-wheel drive vehicle.
However, during one manoeuvre in front of the numerous audiences, his Pajero tilts to the side and is barely spared from rolling over. That would have been embarrassing. Nevertheless now he is named as the coolest drift driver in the history of the Grand Erg - although receiving the last place award.
Stage Report Day 10 Nabeul - The descision
The teams have different ambitions for the last day. While some want to take it unhurried to the finishing line and then go on the 350 km to Nabeul, others take it really seriously. For this reason Tobias Teichmann, the Mitsubishi pilot, joins up with the Team Kastners Toyota HZJ already a few kilometres after the start.
Despite the rear-wheel drive. However overtaking next to the determined lane on the salt lake is impossible. As the first rocks dot the route, the red Pajero pulls away.
"It was one of the best stages. Vera fast, it was a lot of fun. The rally in all was very exhausting. The last three days were very exciting for us, because we only had rear-wheel drive and no more all-wheel drive. It was an absolute challenge. That’s why we are proud, that we could cheat our way through so well" Tobias Teichmann (111) beamed.
Team Seip was stopped with the second fastest time: driving today was fine. Fine and fast. Unfortunately we had some trucks in front of us in the bulkhead, we couldn’t really pass them. But otherwise it was super", Olaf Seip comments. The fast tracks are Team Seip’s cup of tea. "Then we can max out everything better." Being ahead is just "nice".
Alexander Oberberger (105) thought the good finish was nice too. "I think we have now managed that the car will remain intact. We had had problems with the front suspension; we were repairing the day before yesterday a lot. The setup is quite good at the moment, the car drove fantastically. Four or five days long we couldn’t drive."
Today’s plan: "We just wanted to reach a relatively high rank in the daily classification. It was very nice, we experienced a lot, we were outside (in the dunes) for three days, it took five days to get the car back. Yesterday and today second place, that just awesome. It was great."
Holger Grabatsch, a teammate, sees the final with mixed feelings: "it was a lot of fun. Although very exhausting, because it was a very demanding route. A fast image sequence in the road book is actually our cup of tea. The look at the table does hurt in the end."
Martin Kern and Martin Geis, the overall leading team, remain unimpressed of everything. "We slowed down a bit today, we had been in good time yesterday - with lead time - so we didn’t want to wreck the car and drive it safely over the finish line. "The last stage is everything else than a "ride": "Paying attention was very important, since Russi definitely had his reasons for making all those exclamation marks in the road book."
Martin Geis the navigator is thrilled as well:"the eroded ditches were quite demanding." The head start before team Kastner was enough in the end. For this reason the nice Swabians should in fact be happy about their Grand Erg 2012 overall victory.
Congratulations - from the other participants as well, who properly receive them in the Club Aldiana. The driver isn’t all that surprised about the victory: "At the very beginning we didn’t count on it. As we walked through the harbour in Genoa and saw all the cars, which took part as well, we were quite impressed. During the rally a place within the first three was realistic. Only after the day in the dunes, was victory within reach."
Martin Geis even reveals his recipe for success: "we never gave up the tactic of peace and calmness. Another important thing is: the mood in the cockpit is always good."
On second place team Kastner roll over the finishing line - father and son are not only a good team in the car.
We weren’t faster today, just smarter", the senior laughs and hands over to junior.
"Because I have such a perfect navigator, we didn’t have to look much. It was very relaxing today. The landscape was beautiful; we finally had time to enjoy it." The tactic for the final has definitely paid off: "we drove a bit slower today, as we didn’t want to destroy anything. Of course we didn’t want to lose second place. Now let us celebrate and everyone will have a drink on us in the Club Aldiana."
Very funny - after all there is free beer.
Not completely fit, but with the overall third place team Britz rolls over the finishing line in their 8x8 KAT - in tow of Walter Schneider’s Unimog. "He should get the fairness award, considering how many cars he towed out. Because of us he had to drive lowest gear. After yesterday’s damage of the injection pump we could only go at full throttle or nothing at all - 18 kilometres to the finish the clutch failed. Thanks to Watson we reached our destination", Ralf praised.
Enough praise, now it’s time to celebrate. The rally Grand Erg 2012 is over.
2012/05/03 | 05:19 CET | ARTICLE: MR/SY/HS/RUSSLER