On several occasions this season, the Brose Motorsport rally team of Dominik Dinkel and Christina Kohl has been very close to capturing overall victory in a race in the German Rally Championship (DRM) and has stood on the winner’s rostrum four times. After a flawless drive under extremely tough conditions, the two pilots managed to chalk up their first win in the seventh out of the eight DRM races and moved into second spot in the overall standings of the 2017 DRM. That means they even have a chance to win the championship at the final ADAC Three Towns Rally.
Many believed that the 2017 DRM would be decided after the 14 trials which had to be driven in best time over a total of 129.32 kilometers around Osterode in the Harz Mountains. But that was not the case, even though it looked that way to begin with. The title favorites Fabian Kreim and Frank Christian in a Fabia R5 from Skoda Auto Deutschland were ahead after the two Friday trials over 21.57 kilometers. However, Dinkel / Kohl in their Brose Skoda Fabia R5 were trailing by just 4.3 seconds.
On the Saturday, the route’s surfaces were damp to wet and conditions kept on changing. The bends were open on their inside, without any boundary or barrier, and so enabled what is termed “cutting” in technical parlance – a factor that put extra demands on the teams. In the first loop over three trials, the Brose rally team opted for a conservative choice of tire and so played safe and commandingly defended its second position. In the subsequent service session, the data was analyzed and the setup adjusted perfectly to the conditions by the experienced squad of technicians from Baumschlager Rally & Racing (BRR). So as to translate these changes optimally into quick times, the pilot also changed his style of driving from aggressive to gentle.
In the repetition of the morning loop, Dinkel / Kohl clocked two best times and, despite ending up crossways after a severe turn in trial 5, maintained their gap to the leaders. During the midday service session, the rain turned into a cloudburst for just over 15 minutes. That was enough to transform the narrow cart roads on the next trials into slippery tracks.
The leaders Kreim / Christian slid off the track on trial 9 and were only able to be freed from their awkward situation thanks to the rapid help of spectators. In spite of the adverse outside conditions, Dinkel / Kohl clocked two more best times on the slippery course to lead going into the concluding trials.
Careful, yet determined driving meant the team finished just 3.5 seconds behind in them and so captured its first overall victory of the season: “We really wanted this win,” stressed Dominik. “Not only for ourselves, but for the whole team that gave us a perfect Brose Skoda Fabia R5 at all times. And, of course, also for our sponsors who, like Michael Stoschek, have always firmly believed and trusted in us. Also and especially when things haven’t gone so fortunately. A huge thank-you for that!”
However, there were no big celebrations to mark the first win in a DRM race. “Our goal for the season is now to finish second in the DRM. And that’s what we’ll fight to do at the ADAC Three Towns Rally on October 20 and 21,” adds Dinkel. “We even have theoretical chances to win the title now. So we’ll attack to the hilt and give our all!” So that the team goes into the Three Towns Rally with the best-possible preparation, it will line up at the Liezen rally on September 29 and 30. All the setup variants for the Fabia R5 will be tested again there and refined for the Three Towns Rally.