|Hellas Rally: Heat, mountains, speed, stones - a skillful mix in Greece.|
Half time at the "Hellas Rally" in Greece, formerly known as "Evia Rally". On Wednesday, the participants had an unplanned rest-day, because parts of the Wednesday´s stage was damaged and not drivable for the participants. But - this was welcomed, because the (only) Rally Camp is located on the beach in the historic town of Nafpaktos - with a day full of sun, 28 degrees and a "summerday" in the middle of April.
The 327-kilometers stage on Monday was followed by 304 kms on Tuesday. The organizers have created an interesting mix of fast-speed tracks, tricky off-road passages, more and less demanding navigation skills through an diversified landscape between greenfields, forests and mountains.
So, even if there were "only" 304 kms, the day was long - for some very long. But why did the organizers offered such a mix? The answer is quite easy: Everyone should have a chance - with driving fast and owning a perfect vehicle, you don´t win automatically.
This surprised especially the FIA professionals Jerome Pelichet Decre and Eugenie, who made simultaneously a world premiere: They started with the first Overdrive Toyota Hilux ever on an amateur rally.
"After the first day, I needed a little time to get into a rhythm," reported Pelichet, "but now it is great fun, it is completely different to other events, the average speed is lower, the gap is very demanding - well as the navigation. A big kudos to the organizers, everything fits, agree the Road Books, the timing is great - next year we come up with our friends "
The same also said FIA professional Heyman from Israel - half a year before. The "Balkan Offroad Marathonrally" 2012 was his first event on Greek soil - and he promised to come back with several teams. He did so: 3 cars and a motorcycle, and half the family are now on the Hellas rally at the start - and Heyman drives great.
"I'm always on the lookout for special events. Otherwise we drive Dakar, Pharaons, Silk Way. And since last year also Bulgaria and Greece. And it will remain so." A greater praise can hardly given to an organizer...and it´s not a standart, that Amateur-rallies are organized on a higher level, participants of many events can "sing a song" about it.
Happy with organizers was also the Austrian KTM-rider Johannes Lukas, who confirmed himself to be critical somtimes. "There is nothing bad to say about the roadbooks. The stages and the landscape are very beautiful, the timing system is working perfect - and you know, that I´m not always so patient" he said with a laugh.
How good the chances are, to be in front also with a cheaper rallycar - this was demonstrated by the Greek team Dimitriadis / Kalfas with their Mitsubishi Pajero V20 T1, which was built shortly before the rally and only tested some kilometers.
The Greek team is leading the overall ranking in the cars, followed by the Israelian Team Heymann / Segal (Mitsubishi Proto) and the Italians Camporese / Terranova (Isuzu D-Max Proto). Pelichet / Decre in their Overdrive Toyota Tuesday lost time and were dropped back from 3rd to 8th position after a technical problem, but they tried to fix this on the rest day.
"In the bikes-category we still have more then 100 participants - now it is time that the cars to come to Greece" stated organizer Meletis Stamatis. "It would be a great chance especially for amateurs to push their driving skills - and participate against cars, which are normally only seen in major races like the Dakar Rally - and this in southern Europe, easy to reach with ferries from all around."
Only 10 of 15 cars are in the race after three days - four vehicles left because of technical reasons, the Bulgarian BMW X1-prototype had to retire because of private reasons of the driver, who had to fly back to Bulgaria.
In the motobikes and quads (started mixed), the Italian Christian Pastori (Beta) leads with only 2:24 minutes to Boudros Vasilis from Greece (Husaberg) and Martin Plechaty from the Czech Republic (+15:29 min).
In the buggies / side-by-sides, the Bulgarian Gochev took his Polaris RZR900 to the lead after the former Dakar quad-winner Josef Machacek (Czech republic) with his Hayabusa Buggy, who fell back on the third position behind the Bulgarian Tsankov (Polaris RZR900) due to technical reasons.
On Thursday and Friday two more stages are waiting with 338 and 196 kilometers. But the best news for last: There have been no significant accidents or injuries ... and this should stay that way.
24.04.2013 | 21:18 CET | ARTICLE: MR / HS