Breslau Rally 2013, Day 7

Yesterday was Day 7 of the Breslau Rally, the longest day, known as “Hannibal,” with 11 timed Special Stages. Sylvain and Gaby didn’t arrive at the bivouac until almost midnight, so today’s report was delayed.

We don’t have any pictures of the action since we spent the day on the road moving all the equipment from Drawsko Pomorskie to the camp at Zagan. We got into Zagan around 15:30. Around 17:00 Sylvain called. The oil sump was fissured and he needed the soldering gear.

In a few minutes, we were underway. He was about 30 km away in Jasień, so it took us about a half an hour to get there.

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In less than an hour he had fixed the problem and was headed back to the next Special. We went back to camp to wait. About two hours later, Sylvain called again. The alternator wasn’t working, and he was without power. We sent a car over with a spare battery and alternator to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, the power had failed during one the timed Specials, so they lost quite a bit of time and they missed one of the Check Points. As the hours grew later and it became dark, negotiating the course became more difficult and navigating was tricky. They had some trouble locating one of the final Check Points according to the heading in the roadbook and ended up losing more time.

With all the accumulated problems, they finished in 38th position for the day.

Today is the final stage. It’s a nice morning in Zagan, and we’ll be riding again with the press team so we should find some good photo spots. We’ll post the next update once the race is over.

Breslau Rally 2013, Day 6

Today was our last day with the press cars. Tomorrow we drive the 200km liaison to Zagan, where we will set up the final camp.

The day started out hot and humid. Then we had a rain shower and the weather turned much cooler.

The special was 150km long. Here are a few pictures from the start.

In case you don’t recognize it from yesterday’s photo when it was covered in mud, the bright red Mud Racer of Cedric Porcher and Damien Kermorvant, currently 2nd overall in the cars.

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The Svoboda Tatra Team was the fastest among all the cars and trucks yesterday, so they were the first to start today. Here they are at the start,

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and later at a water crossing near the end of the stage.

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We got a few photos of Sylvain and Gaby too.

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Today we took lots of photos and some video with the camera. We’ll try to transfer everything onto the Mac and post it as soon as possible after we get back next week. There are already some excellent photos of the team in this Gallery from Didier on the Breslau Rallye website and from the Dutch Rally Press here.

At the end of the day, the Svoboda Team finished 2nd of the trucks (>7.5t), 7 minutes behind the IFA of Harald Chemnitz and Philipp Beier, and is in 4th place overall. Cedric Porcher and Damien Kermorvant finished 3rd of the cars, and Sylvain and Gaby finished in 8th position for the day. They got back to camp around 3pm, and the maintenance crew took over.

Today’s list of service and repairs:

  • Control power train (daily maintenance)
  • Break pad change (every 2 days)
  • Change the start engine
  • Change the winch engine
  • Re-intitialization of the ECU and it’s display (configurable display of settings from the engine sensors)
  • Change the transmission fluid
  • Change the 2 rear shocks

We started packing the truck a little while ago. Tomorrow is the Hannibal stage: 200km of liaison and 250km of timed special stage. We’re planning to break camp and set off for Zagan around 8:00am.

Breslau Rally 2013, Day 5

Today’s stage was 210km. A rather fast track with a few mud pits. We had a chance to ride in the press car again, so we got to see many of the highlights.

The mud racer of Bretons Cedric Porcher and Damien Kermorvant won the stage.

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Sylvain and Gaby had a good day. After being forced to abandon yesterday, they ended up 60th to start, but managed to finish 3rd in the stage. Quite an impressive come-back, although they still have a few problems with the transmission and a few concerns about the front axle to check this evening.

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The mechanics just finished changing one of the drive shafts a little while ago.

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We had a chance to talk with the Svoboda Tatra Team at the bivouac. After rescuing a Mercedes that rolled over in the first 10 km of the stage, they went on to win and are currently in 4th place for the trucks and 8th place overall.

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We exchanged information about rally plans and had a tour of their Tatra, with it’s particular architecture. It looks like a Jamal with the torpedo cabin, but there are some differences. For example the engine is set farther toward the rear than the Jamal.

Tomorrow should be another fast stage, but we don’t know yet how long it will be. It’s been a challenging course so far this year, and the orga may shorten the stage by ending at one of the CPs to give the racers a rest. Friday comes the long Hannibal stage and the move to the second bivouac in Zagan.

The first cars will start around 9am. Since the stage will be fast, the motorcycles will start quite a bit earlier to avoid being overtaken by too many cars along the way.

Breslau Rally 2013, Day 4

It was a long day for us today. We had the opportunity to ride along in one of the Breslau Rally press cars, a Toyota HDJ 80.

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It wasn’t as touristy as it looks. At one point we were on the rally track going at high speed in the opposite direction as the racers! Everything turned out fine though.

We caught up with the IFA of Harald Chemnitz, who is currently in first place in the truck category.

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We also got a photo of Sylvain and Gaby early on in the special.

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Unfortunately, their water-logged automatic transmission wasn’t cooperating and wouldn’t switch gears. They had to abandon the stage after 25-30km.

Pierre and Corinne Malquion had to abandon too.

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Their problem was more serious as they almost destroyed the engine of their Toyota KZ. Unfortunately, the rally is over for them this year.

We also spotted the Svoboda Tatra a few times during the day.

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We got lots of good pictures, but unfortunately they’re all on the camera and we can’t get them off until we get home. Today, we filled up the iPhone with video and don’t have any space for more photos until we copy them off onto the Mac. Hopefully, we’ll have a little time to do that tomorrow.

When we got back to the camp this evening, the mechanics had been working all day on the Nissan Patrol to fix the transmission, as well as doing some work on the carburetor, and making a number of other repairs. Sylvain and Gaby receive a penalty for abandoning today’s stage, but the car will be ready to go again in the morning.

Tomorrow’s special has been reduced from 250km to 210km because the army is carrying out maneuvers in the area. The Roadbooks had to be updated at the last minute and they’re not ready yet. The co-pilots won’t have much time to study them in the morning.

We’re hoping to join the press team again. We won’t break camp until Friday, when we move to Zagan.

Breslau Rally 2013, Day 3

Today was a tough stage, in terms of terrain and in terms of navigation, but Sylvain and Gaby passed all the checkpoints. At one point, at a water crossing, the water was so deep that Gaby had to swim across to assess the best way to cross.

They arrived back in camp around 6pm, and the mechanics got to work soon after.

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There were a number of repairs to make, but first they had to find them.

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As usual, mud is a problem. In addition to the break pads, it had clogged up around the starter, which needed to be cleaned out. Water had seeped into the air filter as well as the fuel pressure regulator. This resulted in a number of problems and caused some electrical issues, all of which need to be corrected. The mounts for the shock absorbers on the rear were damaged, and need to be replaced. Finally, the rear window was broken out and the opening needs to be covered up.

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The mechanics still have a few hours of work to go, but everything should be ready in the morning. Tomorrow’s special is 205 km, and should be fast although there is another big water crossing. The Orga says it is too deep for the motorcycles and quads, but due to all the recent rain, it may also be too deep for the cars and trucks.

We’re still waiting for the results of today’s stage.

Breslau Rally 2013: Night Stage Results

A quick update from Drawsko Pomorskie with results of the night stage “Into The Dark”.

After starting in 15th position at 10:30pm, Sylvain and Gaby arrived at the finish at 00:30am, just behind the Defender of Team Gigglepin (James Marsden and Chris Abel), winner of the Prolog.

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In the truck category, it was close, but the Svoboda Tatra team was the fastest during the night.

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The main challenge of “Into The Dark” was navigation, although there were a few tricky spots and a bit of mud.

Having been the fastest car on the night stage, Sylvain and Gaby are the overall leaders after the night stage and are starting now in the first position for stage 3, a special of 160km that begins about 6 km from the bivouac.

Now we wait for their return to the camp.

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Breslau Rally 2013: Day 2, Night Stage

Following a short special this morning, we broke camp around 10:30am for the long drive to Drawsko Pomorskie, almost 500 km away.

We arrived around 7:30pm, with just enough time to set up camp, eat dinner and attend the briefing before the start of the night stage, which will be around 65 km long.

The iPhone photos are a bit grainy, but here are some of the best ones taken just a few hours ago.

Sylvain and Gaby get ready to head out,

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Gilles Girousse,

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The Svoboda Tatra,

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Pierre and Corinne Malquion,

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Breslau Rally 2013: Prolog

The Rallye started today with the Prolog at the Lausitzring (EuroSpeedway Lausitz). With all the recent rain, the track was slippery and the vehicles were quickly covered with mud.

We took some photos of the action, but we won’t be able to transfer them from the camera until we get home. The few pictures we took using the iPhone came out looking like double-exposures. The sky was so dark and the vehicles were moving so fast that the automatically calculated exposure times were too long.

Update July 1, 2013: This artifact seems to come from the HDR, we’ve turned it off for these types of shots.

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Here are our guys, Sylvain and Gaby, in their Nissan Patrol V8 (car on the right),

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Starting order for tomorrow’s special was determined by the results of the Prolog. They finished in 15th place, in part because the rear axle shaft broke during the race. They weren’t sure what had happened until the mechanics got to work once they’d returned to the bivouac after the Prolog.

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We didn’t have a spare axle shaft, but fortunately, we brought a spare axle, so the mechanics were able to replace it during the afternoon.

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However, the replacement axle is a different one, so the gear ratio is not the same as the front axle and the differential needs to be changed as well. The mechanics still have a few hours of work to do before the car is ready to go again.

Tomorrow is a liaison day as we go to the next camp in Poland. We’ll take the car on the trailer because tomorrow’s special is a night stage and doesn’t start until 10pm.

Breslau Rally 2013: Scrutineering

We arrived at the Breslau Rally bivouac around 3:00 am, so we took the liberty of sleeping in this morning. We’ll undoubtedly need the rest to get through the coming days.

We spent the day setting up camp, taking care of all the registration details and passing the technical control.

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In between, we had had a chance to snap a few pictures of some of the trucks that will be competing in the race.

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The Prolog starts tomorrow.

Breslau Rally 2013 Here We Come

We got off to an early start this morning to cover the 1,000 km to the start of the Breslau Rallye north of Dresden.

The Erg Racing Service truck is looking sharp loaded with about 3.5 tons of material, including the trailer and race car.

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And that’s not all, some additional spare parts are being carried on a second trailer attached to a Toyota 4×4 sedan.

We had a few problems with the trailers, so we haven’t made good time. We still have about 200 km to go before we arrive at the bivouac. It looks like we’ll get there sometime in the wee hours of the morning.

Tomorrow the team will be completing registration and resting up for the Prolog on Saturday.