Dakar, Day 9/Rest day : Kahle/Schünemann: ‚ We are in lurking position ‚

Stop ThomJanuar 13th 2013 : ‚ Gather new strength and refill the batteries ‚ is the motto for the HS RallyeTeam on this day-off. But Matthias Kahle and Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann also took time for a short double-interview in which they summarize the first half of the rallye and dare to give an outlook for the second.

Matthias, Thomas, you have reached the day-off on position 16. How satisfied are you with your performance?

Matthias Kahle We are highly satisfied. At the beginning we needed one day to get used to the conditions, but since then we continuously move forward. Except of some minor things, the SAM operated absolutely faultlessly. The results are not as good as we have expected, what is mainly caused by the rules. Compared to the last years, petrol cars are allowed to have a bigger restrictor of 36 instead of 35 millimeters, buggies even 39. That is why we hardly have a chance to keep up on full-throttle passages.

Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann The performance difference is probably between 60 and 80 HP, it is simply impossible to compensate that with driving skills. This could clearly be seen yesterday, when we only came in 18th at the second waypoint, although we had not made any mistakes. But we can say proudly that every single part of our team has shown an outstanding performance up to now. The guys of SAM are extremely motivated and present us a perfectly operating car every morning.”

This year was the first time the Dakar started in Peru. The tracks have been new to you after the early breakdown last year. How did you like the competitions?

MK We had already listened a lot about the competitions, now we know by ourselves how demanding they are. The first days really reminded me of the Sahara, with its endless dunes and long rises in the sand where you need the whole power of the car. This was the highest level of difficulty, I especially liked the Special at a height of 3,400 meters, this was a real rallye competition.

TS Compared to Matthias, I am more a fan of sand and dunes. It was great that the rallye directly started in the sand. This is real off-road sport. However, I do not like the tracks in Argentina as much as Matthias does. Argentina is unbeatable when it comes to the enthusiasm of the people, but Peru gets close to it. The country welcomed us with open arms and it was amazing to get to know another place on earth.

Which tactics will you pursue for the second half of the rallye and what goals have you set?

MK We will continue as up to know. We drive with reason and are always concerned that nothing gets damaged. Through the breakdown of our racetruck we know that everything can end quickly as soon as a major problem occurs during a competition. It will be a difficult challenge to move forward further positions by ourselves. So our main target is to get through well – then we will automatically make up some more ground.

TS I completely agree to Matthias. We will concentrate on coping with our own challenges as good as possible. We are in lurking position and concerned about increasing our lead at the same time. Unfortunately, the changes of the rules have broader effects than we have expected. The goal that we had established prior to the rallye – a position amongst the Top Top – is hard to reach. But at least we should make it to the Top 15.

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