In the first race in the German Rally Championship (DRM), the Brose Motorsport Team with Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl was among the front-runners from the outset and – until rain began to fall unexpectedly and shook up the placements again – was in a very good second overall.
The surface of the race over 125.92 kilometers was mainly dry asphalt, although it was peppered with treacherous, damp patches and puddles and gravel stretches totaling 5.28 kilometers in length.
Dominik Dinkel and co-pilot Christina Kohl tackled the three trials on the Friday evening in commanding fashion in their Brose Skoda Fabia R5. They finished them in third overall, a mere 3.4 seconds behind the leaders, last year’s German Rally champions Kreim and Christian.
Dinkel and Kohl continued their strong performance at a constant pace on the Saturday, which included the short sprint trials on the morning loop – two-and-a-half laps over a total of 25.58 kilometers. The Brose team, which was always among the top four overall, turned in an especially splendid performance on the longest trial, clocking the second-best time of the day. As a result, Dominik and Christina were able to strengthen their grip on third place overall. On the two subsequent sprint trials, Dinkel and Kohl repeated their placements from the first run and were even able to minimize the time by which they trailed behind the best mark in each.
Then came their highlight of the day: On the 25.58 kilometer Wind Farm stage, in which they were the only ones to crack the 15-minute barrier with a time of 14:57.4. That performance enabled them to move up into second overall. 21.95 kilometers were left and had to be driven in best time – and the top five were separated by the narrow margin of less than 50 seconds.
The first run over the Bosenberg trial was still on dry ground for the leading cars and the Brose team chalked up the fourth-best time to remain second overall. However, it began to pour down on the connecting stage to the spectator-lined circuit. That meant an unexpected problem for Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl, since their grip was almost zero. A braking mistake, in which the engine also cut out, was the consequence and the pair lost valuable time. Dinkel and Kohl ultimately finished fifth overall, a meager 2.7 seconds off a place on the rostrum.
Pilot Dominik Dinkel’s verdict: “Sure, we’d have liked a place on the rostrum to kick off the season. We’ll now simply take away the positive things from St. Wendel. For example the 10 points finishing fifth have given us in the overall championship standings. But above all the performance that we displayed over the lion’s share of the contest and that enabled us to compete as equals with Germany’s rallying elite. And also the valuable new experience we made in the rain with the Brose Skoda Fabia R5; that’s bound to help us a lot in the future. We’ll definitely go into the next DRM race full of motivation and are already looking forward to it.”
That is the ADAC Vogelsberg Rally in Hesse on April 7 and 8, 2017, where Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl finished second overall last year in the KRT Skoda Fabia S2000.