Unimog Racing Team secures victory at the Breslau Rally.
Rally driver Steffen Braun knows from experience: "There's always some way forward." With his racing Unimog he has to prove himself where other vehicles soon get stuck – deep in the mud and on extreme off-road terrain. Braun and his Unimog Racing Team from Eggenstein near Karlsruhe have just picked up the prestigious winner's trophy in the Breslau Rally.
A wheel change in front.
In the end, the Unimog Racing Team crossed the finishing line just 13 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals – a pretty short lead over a distance of 1800 km along sandy trails and through mud, mountains and forest tracks. "A single driver error causing a wheel change would have been enough to cost us our lead," says Steffen Braun.
The Unimog makes it through where most other vehicles get stuck.
Rainer Ulrich, navigator Unimog Racing Team
No fear of dirt or spanners.
With every word the driver from Karlsruhe says about the Breslau Rally his passion for his hobby shines through. He's been competing in off-road rallies with his Unimog and a very active support team for ten years. He has fought his way to the top through hard work, stamina and an uncompromising will to win.
He has to spend up to eight hours in the cockpit of his Unimog on race days. It's quite some fitness test, as the races and the competition get tougher every year.
Rally driving is "like a drug", says the qualified metal worker, who spends most weekends in the workshop with his team, in summer and winter alike. Everything in racing comes down to preparation, know-how and optimisation.
Without teamwork there would be nothing.
It all started with the acquisition of a used Unimog 1300L, built in 1988, which had previously been used by the army as an airport vehicle. With just a few modifications such as safety seats, a racing cage and a cable winch, the Unimog was ready to compete in its first race.
Steffen Braun and his co-competitors gradually optimised the vehicle's weight and equipment. Now the Unimog only weighs around four tonnes. As is often the case in rally driving, no one on the team is a professional mechanic – the four-man team have all picked up their knowledge about the Unimog themselves. This is based on a lot of experience, but has also involved intensive research and exchanges with other Unimog fans, according to the Unimog Racing Team.
The recipe for success: will, the right vehicle, - and knowing each other's thoughts inside out.
While Steffen sits behind the wheel as team leader and driver, his navigator Rainer Ulrich is next to him giving instructions about the route. He's the one who keeps a clear head as the Unimog roars along narrow forest tracks at 100 km/h. Driver and co-driver have known each other for over 30 years and know each other's thoughts inside out – the perfect recipe for quick reactions in the cab.
After a long day's racing is when the work really starts for the service technicians, say Christian Koepke and Alexander Schönfeld, who take care of the servicing. They repair, maintain and optimise the vehicle, usually working at night. "To make sure everything works properly the next day." If any problems arise everyone in the drivers' camp joins in to help – that's what makes the Breslau Rally so special. Experience has shown that you can fix a lot of things if you have will and the right vehicle.
Pooled power and plenty of original parts.
Steffen's Unimog is equipped with the standard OM-366 LA engine renowned for its reliability and endurance. The Unimog Racing Team has managed to further enhance the vehicle's performance through the addition of a charge air cooler, injection pump and turbocharger. "300 hp and then some," says Christian Koepke with a wink.
With a racing clutch and a chassis modified in their own workshop, the Unimog is able to tackle any terrain at speed. The portal axles and the UG3-40 gearbox are original. According to the team that tells you all you need to know about the quality of the Unimog parts.