Preparation is everything.
In 2018, the "RM II" already went to the start of the rally in Poland. And it retired because of engine damage before the end of the rally. However, the rally drivers from Eggenstein near Karlsruhe were not surprised. Because the car came directly from the workshop to the track.
"We learned from last year's events," says Christian Koepke. That's why the repaired RaceMog II was tested to the limit. And just in case, the Unimog Racing Team packed even more spare parts for the 2019 Brelsau Rallye.
The first stage showed that the planning of the Eggensteiner team had been successful: As in 2018, an injection nozzle overheated and the team only drove on five cylinders during the day. But already in the evening the more stable nozzles they had brought with them could be installed.
By the end of the fourth stage, the Unimog Racing Team had an 80-minute lead over the runner-up, who had been stuck in the mud for an hour. And the nozzle worked perfectly. The victory—within reach. From now on, the rule was not to drive full throttle, but stay ahead and cross the finish line.
Then the big shock: at the start of the last stage the sixth cylinder failed again. "The stage was a big tremor from start to finish," Christian Koepke remembers. "Because it was a huge stage, too."
142 timed kilometres, about two and a half hours driving time—that's over ten percent of the entire rally!—and all not with full power and the fear of stopping shortly before the finish, to retire prematurely again.
The engine held out. "It turns out that you don't have to call up 100 percent power for a victory in performance," says Christian Koepke. And: "The fact that the concept and the technology work makes us immensely proud".
With a lead of more than one hour over the seven Unimog competitors, the RaceMog II finally crossed the finish line. Is that much? Yes and no, Koepke and Braun explain. On the one hand, you can quickly lose a 60-minute lead—due to a technical problem, penalty times or wrong navigation. On the other hand, it's very rare for an advantage to be so large.
A lot or not, it was enough for a clear victory. "The icing on the cake is," says Christian Koepke, "that it was also the anniversary rally".
Finally time for strategy.
"The Unimog's performance on the piste is clearly superior," says Steffen Braun.
"And that makes tactical driving possible—for example, driving slower on the night stage and recovering lost time during the day". Or that you have the time at the mud hole to find the right way. Not to sink into the mud like your competitors, but simply to drive past the field.
And what happens next?
"Two years ago we were smiled at," says Christian Koepke. Now the RaceMog II is regarded as a role model: Many teams of the Rallye Breslau are considering equipping their cars with mid-engines. So the competition doesn't sleep. It's clear that the Unimog Racing Team from Eggenstein still wants to get back on the podium. The goal now is to get the engine stable. And to further reduce the weight.
In addition to the Rallye Breslau, the Unimog lunatics, as they call themselves, would like to go for an off-road rally to the Balkans. "And at some point, drive along a desert rally", that's what Steffen Braun wants in any case.