Rick Aarts finishes right after Frank Stensky today, after a long and hard battle for the podium. Matthias Behringer was the first truckdriver to arrive, with the young Tom Heuer in Tatra on his tail. We never saw such speeds in the Baja Deutschland, never before was the finish so close and the competition at such a high level – and the tension will remain until the price giving ceremony tonight!
Chasing each other Frank Stensky, Rick Aarts and Ronald Schoolderman changed positions over and over again, making small mistakes in the navigation or like Rick Aarts with an old fashioned flat tire. Replacing the tire as fast as possible they raced at full speed to catch up. ‘We want to win, there was nothing else to do!’ says Nienke, Ricks’ daughter and codriver. ’After 1,5 lap we saw them again at a checkpoint, an incredible feeling!’
Ronald Schoolderman was the first of the three to make a big mistake, rolling his car in the dust. No windshield, bent steering and trailing arms – but they continued to secure their place on the podium. In what must have been the fastest lap in his career he finished as fourth car, behind Dutchman Bert van Es who is racing a standard Toyota Land Cruiser, his former servicecar for the Dakar in 2006.
Matthias Behringer had his lucky day, finishing the Baja Deutschland. A race on his own turf, with the truck he used in the Silk Way Rally earlier this year and accompanied by Dutch truck driver Marty van den Oever. ‘We cannot beat Matthias,’ says Tobias Henschel, who ranks second together with truckdriver Tom Heuer in their Tatra 815. ‘After yesterday we could only defend our second place, which I hope we’ve done succesfully.
Robert Striebe with his MAN KAT 4×4 is one of the local heroes and he prides himself with fast results running a standard KAT. Today the truck had to work to keep up with the pace of the Baja Deutschland, missing the extra punch from the turbo on his old diesel. ‘Our cabin needs serious work,’ says Michael Braunlich, his copilot. ‘I am sure we have broken the cabinsupports!’
Even though we have a list of finishers we don’t know yet who has won – this is up to the timing crew of the Baja Deutschland, who will check the data and see who has driven all checkpoints today.