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.

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