The 2011 Breslau Rally on YouTube

We just got home from the Rally this evening. It will take a few days to get our photos and videos online.

In the meantime, check out RallyeBreslau’s Breslau 2011 Playlist on Youtube for a great video summary of the race. Our Internet access wasn’t good enough to watch these during the rally, and we haven’t watched them thoroughly yet, but we did find a few clips of our team.

Sebastian Poncet (Unimog pilot) and Xavier Soriano (Jeep pilot) from our team were interviewed on Wednesday evening after Stage 4. The interview is at timecode 1:42 in the video below:

You can also see a short sequence of the Unimog around timecode 4:20 in the June 24th video of the Base Camp. Our cameo is at timecode 4:30:

The Breslau Rally: Day 8, The Final Stage

We woke on Saturday to a damp, cold and windy morning for the final Stage of the Rally. All the Specials were held near the camp, and the Start would be on the same circuit that had been prepared for the Finish of Stage 6.


The teams were to drive the course in the opposite direction before going to a second Special in a quarry, followed by a parade on the Dresden bridge. One of the drivers made an error while maneuvering at a Check Point and ran into a table, hitting one of the rally staff. After the accident the organization decided to cancel the Special in the quarry, so the rally ended on a disappointing note.

It started to rain around mid-afternoon when the teams arrived back at the campsite after finishing the race. They set immediately to work loading the cars in the trailers for transport home, barely stopping to savor the feeling of satisfaction at having completed the race. The cancellation, along with the cold and the rain, made the occasion seem dreary, when it should have been a time for celebration. Good preparation, determination and team work had been needed to reach the Finish; many of the other vehicles had been damaged along the way and had dropped out.


As we packed up the truck under the rain, we were wistful: sad that the 2011 Breslau Rally was over, but ready to go home. Evening brought a buffet dinner for everyone under the shelter of a large tent. There was live music and lots of beer: finally, the celebration of everyone’s achievement as the rankings were announced. No one from our team won any trophies, but everyone had made it to the Finish Line, the most rewarding prize of all.

The 2011 Breslau was our first rally experience, and it was fantastic! We met some wonderful people during the rally and made many new friends. We hope to see them all next year if we’re able to participate again, either as part of a service team or perhaps as competitors ourselves.

The Breslau Rally: Day 7

It was a relatively relaxed morning; there was enough time for the maintenance, and no one felt pressed.



The camp in Zagan was an exceptional place. It was part of a military base and the site of Stalag Luft III, where Allied Air Force Prisoners of War made their famous escape by digging an elaborate system of tunnels beneath the camp. Unbelievable but true, the story was immortalized in several films including “The Great Escape” starring Steve McQueen. A portion of the tunnels is visible beneath a glass covering next to the memorials.

After the briefing, the teams began preparing for departure. The cars and trucks started the race around noon. Stage 6 was about 85 km long with 160 km of liaison. The Start was in the Zagan camp, and the first Specials were nearby.

The service vehicles had to break camp and transfer to Dresden, where the last Stage of the Rally would take place on Saturday. The camp in Dresden was around 170 km away, so we had time to watch a bit of the race before setting off.

The organization provided a few GPS coordinates for nice spots to take photos. We located them on the map and then picked one not too far away to watch a rapid passage in the sand.

Soon after we arrived we saw the first cars and trucks to pass on a fast dirt straight-away several kilometers long. After about a dozen vehicles had passed at intervals of a minute or two, there was a long pause. We had to wait what seemed like hours before we saw the next cars.

Later we learned that one of the Unimogs had rolled over, and the race was suspended while assistance attended to the vehicle and crew. We stayed until around 5pm, long enough to get some good photos of our team, powerful engines exploding through the countryside, clouds of billowing dust trailing behind as if the sand wanted to keep a memory of where they had passed.

Several hours later, when we arrived at the camp in Dresden, we set up quickly and headed over to watch the gymkhana at the Finish Line. It was dark, cold and windy. We drank coffee, huddled on the sidelines as the number of arrivals dwindled.

The Unimog arrived in camp just after midnight. It had been a good day for the team: two of our crew finished in the top third of the ranking for the Stage, coming in at the 14th and 39th positions.

When it was time to go to bed, we were glad to crawl under the covers; it felt like November. As the rally had advanced, there were progressively fewer and fewer generators running all night than at the start, so it was relatively quiet and peaceful to fall asleep to the sound of the wind, gently lapping at the tent.

Tomorrow would be the final day of the Rally.

The Breslau Rally: Day 6, “Hannibal”

Sleep came quickly to those who had stayed up for most of the night preparing the vehicles for the Stage 5 marathon, but it didn’t last long. The cars and trucks departed at 6:30 am, and even though our teams were later in the starting order, they had last-minute checks to make before the start. Known by the name “Hannibal,” Stage 5 is over 500 km in length over varied terrain of sand, dirt and mud.


When everyone was underway, we broke camp and headed south 240 km to Zagan to set up again before evening. We’d be spending the day on the road and wouldn’t have a chance to see any of the 500 km Stage.

As we headed out we saw the signs of the heavy toll Stage 4 had taken. Many vehicles had to abandon the rally after suffering too much damage to repair overnight. Many cars were leaving on flatbed trailers and some stayed parked in camp, repairs still in progress. Our team was doing quite well; everyone had been able to start today.



It was raining when we reached the camp near Zagan, but the service crew quickly set up the tent and readied the tools in case repairs were needed once the drivers arrived.

We had to wait for over three hours before the first of our team made it to the camp. The day had been good. The route was long, but without any major difficulties they had few problems and made good progress.

The evening was relaxed since there was no need to work on the vehicles. We ate dinner together under the tent, and everyone went to bed around midnight with the prospect of getting a good night’s sleep; the briefing for Stage 6 wouldn’t be held until 10 am the following morning.