Marocco Rallye 2013 (October 13th to 19th 2013) – Interview Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann

Dr. Thomas Schünemann im SAM bei der Silk Way Rallye 2012

Dr. Thomas Schünemann im SAM

Schünemann: „Marocco has everything you could wish for“

October 9th 2013 – The start gets closer for the HS RallyeTeam: In only a few days, Matthias Kahle and Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann will line up for the Marocco Rallye (October 13th to 19th 2013). In our interview, copilot Schünemann reveals the Kingdom’s secrets for great offroad sports and what are the keys to success in desert rallyes.

Thomas, next week the HS RallyeTeam will compete in the Morocco Rallye for the first time. What is particular about this Rallye?

Dr. Thomas M. Schünemann Marocco is one oft he best countries for desert rallyes in the world. The tracks on the edge of the Sahara offer everything a pilot could wish for: The country is mainly known for its rocky desert. Nevertheless, there are also canyons, dried out river beds, palm groves and, of course, soft desert sand that will be highly demanding for Matthias as driver and me as navigator. It was not without a reason that the Rallye Dakar lead through the Kingdom nearly every year between 1993 and 2009 before being moved to South America. Another advantage is Marocco’s political stability that guarantees a safe rallye.

The organizers said there would be less than 20 kilometers of rocky tracks and a focus on navigation. How do you like that?

TS In my mind, it is great when the track requires teamwork and challenges both the driver and the copilot. Especially in the so called erg, a small sea full of soft dunes, the navigation is highly demanding. You get stuck if you try to drive straight through the dunes. The challenge is to stay on firm sand – what often requires a wavy way – but not to lose orientation. This is the high art of desert rallyes.

In 2006 and 2007 you have already crossed Marocco in the Rallye Dakar. What did you learn for this year?

TS Those were our first to participations in the Rallye Dakar and, to be honest, we were pretty much greenhorns by that time. I remember the old Dakar in Africa and still have a rough idea of the tracks‘ characteristics, but I would not say I know the route. Anyway, desert rallyes are not about knowing a certain track, but about your general capability to read landscapes und apply your knowledge and experience to the terrain you are facing.

You came 13th overall in the Rallye Dakar in January. What are your goals for Marocco?

TS Good question. The engine performance of the 4WD-protoype have been further improved by SAM, what is supposed to have positive effects on our overall performance. It is difficult to predict a concrete position, as a lot can happen during the six rallye days. Nevertheless, one thing is clear to us: We strive to leave our direct competitors of the Dakar behind us and move closer to the top.

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