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Offroad Challenge 2013: Fine motor skills in rough outline

Dino Eisele
Offroad-Challenge 2013
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D he Mercedes ML rolls over the ramp and dips its muzzle in the clay-brown pool. It has rained a lot in the last few weeks. Car three moves cautiously, but without hesitation, through the pond and climbs up a steep rocky ramp on the other side. The driver crosses the edge and, with his hind leg raised, lets the car slide into a depression while a torrent pours out of the underbody.

What instructor Andreas Fischer from the driving safety center at the Sachsenring calls a trial course has not only two deep water holes at 500 meters, but also inclines of 30 percent and inclines of 80. The loam is reduced by the clay partly to 0.1 m. Car three stops. The driver lights a cigarette and says with a grin: 'I need a break first. You're so full of adrenaline.' After five minutes he gets back in. 'I would like to do it again.'

The fourth off-road challenge is taking place

It is the fourth season of the auto-motor-und-sport off-road challenge ever 20 participants test their skills in the field on three weekends in the summer and try to overcome boundaries and classify themselves for the final in Spielberg, Austria in autumn. The playground on the first off-road Saturday of this season is the quarry in Langenaltheim, Bavaria. Limestone slabs are mined here, which look great in hallways and bathrooms, with embedded fossils on request. In the Altmühlalb there are always world-class fossil finds.

Monica Roos watches as the other participants slide down the slopes and grind the limestone with loud crunching and cracking. 'From the outside it looks worse than it is,' she says. She loves SUVs, but so far she has only driven up to kindergarten with them. That changes today. She is amazed at herself and at the capabilities of her ML. 'It is unbelievable what technology can do today.'

The applicants come from a wide variety of motives and are at the most varied of levels. While Roos describes himself as a complete beginner, the budding vehicle technician Mathias Mertens does gymnastics up and down a 100-meter-long steep slope in a G-model as a matter of course. Anxiety? 'Oh, that's fun.' The physician Michael Kornus is there because he recently bought twelve hectares of orchards. 'With the caddyI couldn't get up there, 'he says.

Mercedes provides off-road models

The measurement technician Stefan Guse has just bought an off-road vehicle and dreams of extensive off-road trips, maybe even in a converted all-wheel-drive truck. As an extreme athlete, Frank Ziegler has already won the German elimination for the Land Rover Challenge two times Days when loading a cupboard, the outer straps on the right foot were torn off, but he stepped up with a stabilizing cuff. 'Only the sensitivity to the gas may be a bit missing,' says the tall architect, who ended up in fifth place.

Not only because of the imperial weather, the mood was great. The rustic devices that Challenge partner Mercedes brought up were particularly popular. Some of them had fun with thundering gas from the exhaust of a G 500 V8 To make water dance in a puddle, others fell in love with the much more Spartan but original Professional version. 'You can feel the mountain even more,' says Frank Glöckl from the Erzgebirge, who wanted to see what such a G-model can do.

Robin Wagner knows a little about off-road vehicles and motorcycles out. The only 19-year-old Swabian had already expected a good placement, but when his name was not called among the places two to five in the end, he doubted himself. Wagner is a winemaker and not afraid of steep terrain. 'I know something like that from the vineyard,' he says easily. Incidentally, the doubts were unfounded. Wagner got top marks in the theory test as well as in the maneuvering test with the help of the 360 ​​degree camera in the Mercedes GLK.

Off-road challenge also for absolute beginners

Wagner was third in the decisive slalom course. That was on the program in the afternoon after coffee and cake. One took longer, the other shorter. Completely flawless when balancing over bumps and climbing over knolls and there was nobody between the 19 gates, but everyone got through, and many even with flying colors. And they can not only present their certificates at home, but at the next party they can also impress the conversation partners with axle articulation, slope angles and the benefit of a rear axle differential.

Friedemann Bader was already on his way home when he did received good news from second place by phone. Dieter Pflimpfl-Haas was pale astonished that he finished third and will be able to travel to Graz in October. Wife Barbara didn't win a prize, but was still happy: 'Graz is my home', she says.

Under the benevolent eyes of racing driver Ellen Lohr, Monica Roos scored the first goals with speed and skill. A few of the wooden balls enthroned on the poles do fall, but they doOff-road beginner masters the 400 meter long slope in the third fastest time and is completely satisfied with herself. 'That was probably the bravest day of my life.' The tall husband, who has also appeared, has to put on his pumps to kiss his wife. It says: 'Today I have grown a meter.'

The biggest hero of the day was the one who didn't appear. Jörg Kastner tried to make the trip to Bavaria until the end, but had to cancel the day before because he had more important things to do. As a helper of the Red Cross, he fought against the floods on the Elbe.

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