The second race in the German Rally Championship was held around Schlitz (Hesse) last weekend. The ADAC Vogelsberg Rally, with its selective route profile and varying surfaces, attracted Germany’s rallying elite to the Vogelsberg district.
Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl were ideally prepared for the weekend. The favorite event of the young pilot from Rossach was intended to help him gather even more experience with the new Brose Skoda Fabia S2000. And despite their excellent start to the season at the ADAC Saarland-Palatinate Rally, both of them stayed grounded.
It was clearly evident at the service area that the Dinkel/Kohl team had caused quite a stir at the first race of the season. Many interested people and rally fans lined the KRT service tent. There was a lot of curiosity about the young team that proved a match for the large works teams despite its technical inferiority. The families of the two and many friends also converged on the Vogelsberg district to get behind them.
They set off on the first stage on Friday evening with start number two and got off to a good start: Dominik Dinkel was able to finish between the two works teams from Skoda and Peugeot after the first four trials on difficult and muddy routes. The young man from Rossach specially liked the circuit in “Willofs,” where he almost clocked his first best time on the last trial and moved up into second place in the darkness.
Like on the Friday, the Saturday morning began with typical April weather, in some cases with the rain pouring like cats and dogs. The routes, which were already sodden from the day before, became muddier and muddier. That was an advantage for the experienced works teams. The choice of tire was to prove crucial. Dominik Dinkel opted for the wrong ones and so lost valuable time right at the start of the day. As a result of the problems in the morning, both of them had difficulty finding the right rhythm. The competition also had problems: Fabian Kreim in a works Skoda Fabia R5 had to retire with a damaged radiator after the sixth trial. The biggest tussle Dinkel had at the time was with teammates Yannick Neuville and Jürgen Heigl, likewise in a Skoda Fabia S2000. In the duel with Dinkel, Neuville made a mistake and so lost his chance of a place on the rostrum. Dinkel/Kohl had a small aha moment on the seventh trial “Ulrichstein 2.” A spin that unfortunately cost time again gave Riedemann a 32-second cushion over the pilot from Rossach.
With a brief spurt on the eighth trial of the day – “Feldatal 2” – Dominik Dinkel was able to conjure up a best time in Vogelsberg’s mud. Second place was within grasp and he embarked on the final trial of the day with a large time cushion of almost a minute over his pursuers Herrmann Gaßner Senior and Rene Mandel.
The penultimate trial was annulled due to the fact that a participant from the field of historic vehicles leaked oil on the route, with the result that the power stage (with extra points for the first three) was moved to the final trial. As in Saarland, Dinkel only finished fourth in it, just missing out on the extra points, but arriving safely at the finish – the young driver showed that he can set clear priorities, namely to secure the important points for capturing second place overall.
After their third place in the Saarland-Palatinate Rally, Dinkel/Kohl were able to repeat their top result. An outstanding second place in the overall standings means they have now moved up into an incredible second spot in the German Rally Championship. The top successes are a source of pride for the young pilot from Rossach – and means he can give something back to his sponsors: Michael Stoschek, the ex-FIA Historic European Champion with his Brose Group and Kaspersky Lab. The next race will be staged in Sulingen from May 6 to 7, 2016.
Standings after race two in the 2016 German Rally Championship:
1st place: Christian Riedemann with Lara Vanneste in a Peugeot 208 T16 R5 – 39 points
2nd place: Dominik Dinkel with Christina Kohl in a Skoda Fabia S2000 – 33 points
3rd place: Fabian Kreim with Christian Frank in a Skoda Fabia R5 – 27 points