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Offroad Challenge 2013, 3rd stage: On the way to the final

Beate Jeske
Offroad-Challenge 2013, 3rd stage
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There are many people who consider themselves good drivers. That may be true on the road, but what about driving skills off the beaten track? If you want to test yourself, you should take part in the a uto motor und sport off-road challenge. This is not about a drive through the green, here no dirt roads are designated as difficult off-road courses, here everything is required of the driver and vehicle on special terrain.

Mercedes provides various off-road vehicles

These events are not just about the opportunity to extensively deliver the GLKs and G- and M-Class models provided by Mercedes testing. The idea of ​​competition is also not neglected. Because an exam is part of the program - if you do well and are among the top three participants in the end, you will qualify for the final. Six participants in the Offroad Challenge this year managed to qualify for the final in Graz, Austria, in the first two preliminary rounds in Langenaltheim and at the Nürburgring. Robin Wagner, Friedemann Bader, Dieter Pflimpfl-Haas, Tobias Gärtner, Claus Madloch and Holger Kirschbaum are waiting for their opponents.

Exactly these should be chosen from the 20 participants in the last preliminary decision at the Teltow-Fläming-Ring in Zossen. At nine o'clock sharp, instructor André Zänker gives a thorough briefing on what is important when driving off-road, and Mercedes press spokesman Christian Anosowitsch explains the technology of the GLK, ML and the G-Class. It starts after an hour. But the group has to wait until the afternoon for the competition. First of all, it means practice, practice and practice. The G-Model, the GLK and the ML are available for this purpose. The participants were able to get an idea that not only the G-Model and the ML cut a good figure off-road, but also the small GLK - many did not expect that.

Offroad Challenge: Time of Decision

Then the time has come, the moment of truth dawns. Before the competition begins, the group paces the arena. Many of them were sure at the beginning that they would easily get through the exam, but now you can see how they respectfully commit the course. High hills, deep trenches and above all a sandy bottom make it the driversdifficult - one can only hope that everyone has memorized the tips regarding the underground that racing driver Ellen Lohr gave in the morning. The course is made even more difficult by the poles crowned by a ball. If you get too close to the bars, you throw the wobbly balls down and get penalty points - and that's faster than many people thought.

The only competition device is the Mercedes G Professional, whose terrain properties are already legendary. But as good as the car is off the beaten track, driving errors cannot be ironed out - especially when you get too close to the bars with the pellets, as Rene Schneiderhahn discovered. 'I got on too quickly and therefore cleared the bars.' Eva Haas has demonstrated that speed does not always lead to the goal. She took a little more time than some men, but made fewer mistakes. You also had to deal with the ground under competition conditions. 'The course looks easier than it is. If the car slips, nothing can be saved and mistakes are made,' says Toni Ribbecke. By the way, none of the candidates came through without a mistake.

The lucky winners

In the end, Lars Heuer grabbed 144 points and a clear lead over Eva Haas (123 points) the victory. The lady's concept of taking it easy has paid off. Like Michael Zosel, who finished third with 120 points, she will compete in the final in Graz. Everyone else will remember a weekend that was a lot of driving fun.


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