With only two foreign teams in the top five of the Balkan Offroad Rallye the Bulgarian offroad sport has developed to a new level, with several fast and well prepared teams at the start. Konstantin Cholakov brings his new Hilux to the game, a home grown vehicle with incredible speed. It is only today that Frank Stensky manages to catch a second place in the overal ranking, pushing Doncho Canev to the third place.
‘We have not become slower,’ says Margarita Staynova, the famous codriver of Desislav Slavchev in the black Mercedes, ‘The other teams have become a lot faster! And remember last year, when we ad a 2nd place overal on the fifth stage and broke down.’ She speaks about the Bulgarian teams who have been building and racing, but also about the international competition in the Balkan Offroad Rallye. ‘We have been racing with some of these teams already since 2009, and over the years you see them grow.’
Another legend in offroad racing is Thierry Gerome, who is racing with his wife in their Polaris 800. ‘I brought the 800 to be a little slower and allow my wife to learn to navigate on her first rally. But I regret not having my Polaris 1000 turbo here. These stages remind me of the early days of my offroad racing career, with such great routes through the hills. I look forward to racing here next year with a ‘Breslau Special Edition’ of my Polaris!’
In the Extreme Class today the competitors found the ‘Golden road’, an old gold mining road that has not been used since decades. ‘We had to cut and winch our way through and did almost 2/3 of the stage on our own!’ Francoise shows the muscles in her arms, pumped from the hard work today. ‘This was a proper trophy day, with lots of winching and tough terrain.’ As the first teams had to do all the work they received a time bonus based on the data from the tracking box.
On wednesday 14 september the Balkan Offroad Rallye moves to Shkorpilovtsi, the third and final bivouac of the race. ‘It might not be the most difficult day, or the most kilometers but it will be the longest day of the race,’ said Alexander Kovatchev at the briefing. Crossing half of Bulgaria the teams will see the terrain change as they get closer to the coast, with the arrival at the beach in Shkorpilovtsi as highlight.
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