On the first day of the ADAC Vogelsberg Rally in Hesse, Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl from the Brose Motorsport rally team took a narrow overall lead, but then fell back to fifth after the Brose Skoda Fabia R5 suffered a puncture. However, they were able to celebrate finishing a deserved second in the overall standings after a magnificent effort to catch up.
Spurred on by the hope of capturing a large number of points in the German Rally Championship (DRM), Dominik Dinkel and his co-pilot Christina Kohl traveled to the Vogelsberg district in Hesse to face 12 trials that had to be completed in best time over a total distance of 134.64 kilometers, of which 15 percent was on a gravel surface. The competition was also stiff: Eight R5 and two S2000 cars were among the list of the 82 starters. Only 58 of them completed the second round of the DRM in regulation – clear testimony to the high demands of the Vogelsberg Rally.
Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl ended the first trial as fifth, stormed to the best time in the second, and even shared the overall lead after the third with the same time as the initial leaders Christian Riedemann / Michael Wenzel in a Peugeot 208 T16 R5. The Brose Motorsport rally team then conjured up the fastest first lap again on asphalt in the dark, but then skidded unfortunately off the track at the start of the second. “You can’t see the whole of the right-hand bend after the start and there were suddenly more stones and dirt on the track than expected. The car’s rear sheared out, we slipped to the left onto the sloping embankment and we had to fight our way back with difficulty onto the road through a pasture fence,” stated Dominik. The incident cost time and reduced the air in the front right tire. The car still hung on decently for a further lap, but on the final one the Brose Fabia was driving just on its rim. Dominik and Christina lost more than half a minute and fell back to fifth, 30.4 seconds behind the leaders.
On the Saturday morning, Dominik and Christina went on the attack right away. And they were in good company: The reigning German Rally champions Kreim / Christian had to step up the pace uncompromisingly after a restrained opening. They clocked the best time in the first loop – and the Brose Motorsport rally team followed in their slipstream. After the sixth trial, Dinkel and Kohl had moved up into fourth overall. Two trials were enough to transform a 21.2-second deficit behind former European autocross champions René Mandel and Dennis Zenz in a Ford Fiesta R5 into a 1.5-second lead.
Shortly after the start of trial 7, the Peugeot of leader Christian Riedemann overturned severely. As a result, the trial could not be resumed. That meant the Brose Rally team climbed to third. However, that was not grounds for joy – everyone would have preferred to have achieved that position on the track. The canceled trial meant that Dominik and Christina also had 12.96 kilometers less to continue their comeback.
The situation among the leaders did not change in trial 8. Wallenwein / Poschner defended tooth and claw against the threat of falling back a place, but ultimately dropped 3.2 seconds against Dominik and Christina. What was once a large lead had now dwindled to just 3.0 seconds. It seemed that the leaders Kreim / Christian were heading for certain victory. However, sudden tire damage on the Skoda cost them a little over 40 seconds and the lead, which Dinkel and Kohl in their Brose Fabia captured with by far the best time on the trial.
Then came the finale, two trials that would decide the outcome. In just his third rally in an R5, Dominik Dinkel stoutly held his own against Fabian Kreim and needed just 6.6 seconds more than the latter. In view of the pace set by the two front-runners, all Sandro Wallenwein could do was to shore up his third place. Just 5.7 seconds separated the top two going into the final trial. Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl lined up for their final attack and got everything out of themselves and the Brose Fabia R5. In the end, they clocked the best time of 9:18.1 minutes, six-tenths of a second ahead of Kreim / Christian, to record a total time of 1:20:46.6 and come second in the Vogelsberg Rally in Hesse. That means they finished just 5.1 seconds behind the winners after 134.64 challenging kilometers that had to be driven in best time.
Dominic and Christina were beaming with happiness at the finish, and rightfully so: “Now we’ve largely made up for our misfortune at the Saarland-Palatinate Rally. But what’s even more important: We were able to gather further valuable experience with the setup of our Brose Skoda Fabia R5 and increase our speed even further. The level we’ve now reached gives us optimism for the next two events, which we’re looking forward to enormously.” The next is the Sulingen Rally on May 5 and 6.