The final days of the Balkan Offroad Rallye are on. With is only one day left, we reach the last day of the event. Every year, the decisions for the podium have been made on the last day. The last day is tough, the navigation is difficult and the terrain is new. The final stretch to the finish in front of the beach bar on the famous sand of the Black Sea gives the pleasure but can also kill the engine.. It is never over, until it is over.
Arunas Gelazninkas rules the Balkan Offroad Rallye, with 2 and a half hour ahead of Frank Modl, who lot most of this time in the last days due to navigation issues. ‘You cannot be concentrated fur such a long time!’ he said, ‘But I managed to beat Arunas several times in the sprint!’ Arunas is ready for tomorrow, and has a strong postion in the overal ranking!
There is no class where the time penalty and mechanical problems have made such a havoc as in the Side by side ranking. Yann van Beek and Emanuel Barraux managed to follow the roadbook, the timetable and the maximum speeds, creating a strong lead, ahead of the talented Lea Gauthier and her new navigator Corinne Clergeat. Jose Castan will chase the two ladies in the Yamaha, and has to make up for 8 minutes lost time..
Sebastien Mirosod is the old codriver of Eric Missiliez, racing the car they built for the Balkan Offroad Rallye. ‘We hope to be on the podium as a dedication to Eric,’ Sebastien says. ‘I was never a driver before, but the death of Eric made me move a seat in order to finish the project.’ Competing for the minutes and seconds with Jean-Francois and Marie-Aline Ryo and the other teams is perhaps the best way to remember the sporting spirit of Eric, who died July 12, 2017.
There is no class where the podium is so uncertain as in Car Open. After more than 25 hours of racing the difference between the first three is less than 30 minutes, and there are plenty of other teams waiting for a chance to get at the podium. On the last day, you try not to make mistakes. But lifting the throttle means losing a place..
Konstantin Cholakov is leading, racing with his own proto-type. ‘I am lucky to have a fast navigator, and I really like speed,’ he says, with a smile. ‘Even with the new car, I think we are close to the limit of what is possible. There is some room to go faster, but I am not sure we wille survive!’
Tomorrow on saturday September 22nd the competitors have two special stages: one in the north, on the fast tracks north-west of Varna. And one in the forest close to the camp, a classic breaker for material and morale, with difficult navigation and technical terrain. Tomorrow after lunch the first competitors will arrive on the shores for the Black Sea, for a magnificent last run to the beach near Shkorpilovtsi!