Nordschleife surprises Mats
For Mats vd Brand and Eddy Smeets it was the very first Rallye Köln-Ahrweiler. Over the past season, the duo proved that they can perform well in unknown rallies, but the Nordschleife seemed something different. The green hell devoured the M3 of Mats and Eddy when they were in the lead.
Mats VD Brand: Just like Ypres, this was a competition that did not count for us. At the request of my super tuner Dries Bosch we drove Köln-Ahrweiler to close the season nicely. To entertain us, to give out our business card and try to break through the victories of Berlandy was our plan. Something we made clear from the start because after Friday night we were in the lead with a 7.2 seconds lead for the long second rally day. Our safe tire choice Saturday morning turned out to be a good decision because the stages were more slippery than expected, but that was nothing compared to the Nordschleife. That was just ice driving without spikes and the first fast corner we clapped at 140 km/h in the crash barrier. We drove even further until the suspension arm broke, just like at the spot where our tuner Dries and a lot of Dutch supporters were standing. They were gutted as us because they would also like to see a Dutchman win …
Eddy Smeets: On day 2 Berlandy opened with a scratch time but on SS 3 and 4 we were again the fastest. That pace was maintained at the first part of SS 5 – the road towards the Nordschleife – but once it was up to the so-called green hell, that pace was unfortunately too high. The young wolf next to me was taken right away, while others survived that slippery track. This immediately reveals the strength but also the weakness of Mats as a driver: he always gives everything and drives constantly at 98 to 100%, never less. As long as things are going well, it’s a garantee for good passages and horribly fast times with one of the most delicious rally cars ever. But if you flirt with the limit and/or get surprised by slippery roads, it can also go wrong. Therefore we unfortunately cannot put Köln Ahrweiler on our list of achievments.
Picture: Patrick MohrTags: BMW M3, Eddy Smeets, Mats vd Brand, Rallye Koln Ahrweiler