After the overheating problems during the GTC Rally the Clio has been able to cool down for a while. Friday 16 September they were allowed again and this time without cooling problems.
Where the rally started on Friday for the spectators, it already started on Thursday for the Kelvin Schäffers and Matthijs van Hilten team. They couldn't rest. So they had to get to work right away: “the rally had a course of 8 different tests instead of 3 or 4. On Thursday we spent no less than 8 hours in the car” according to Matthijs the navigator.
Friday was a challenging day for the team. This day it faced ever-changing weather conditions and completed its last three tests in the dark. If you thought you had good vision with high beams, uh-uh. This is how Kelvin describes: “The high-beam headlights had changed their mind mid-stage to cut it. Then suddenly it was quite dark. Fortunately, she flickered back on quickly.”
The guys from the service team successfully made some adjustments and repairs to the car. “This also increased confidence in the car at the same time, allowing us to drive faster,” Kelvin said.
Despite the wet and dark conditions, the team survived Friday evening. The short rally has been achieved! On to parc fermé where the car will remain overnight.
With 10 more stages to go and built up confidence in the car, the team is off to a good start on Saturday. However, Saturday again had its challenges. “One of the biggest hurdles for us in the car was the changing weather conditions. It could rain very hard one moment, the next the sun was shining brightly. For example, it was not always easy to gauge how the car would react at different times."
Saturday was not all about plodding in the car for the gentlemen, they could also regularly enjoy themselves: "There was a wonderful 'flow' in some stages with some very nice cornering combinations."
Stage 11/14, Ypelo 1 & 2 were both neutralized on the Saturday. Kelvin: “This just shows how treacherous and challenging the weather conditions were. Still, it was a shame, because I would have liked to have ridden all the tests.” With two more tests to go, the HART successfully completed the Hellendoorn rally and closed the rally successfully.
The competitiveness was even in parc fermé in the boys. “Around ten past twelve we got the 'go ahead' from the Marshalls to enter parc fermé and go to the car so we could drive out. Then we sprinted to the car as fast as we could. This one was at the very back. Finally stood in second to get out. We had a lot of fun with this real Le Mans sprint at the end”
Lastly, the organization of the Hellendoorn rally deserves a big compliment from the team: "The route book was sublime and the new tracking app for reconnaissance also worked well."
On the 16th of October, the HAN Automotive Rally Team will take part in the Twente Rally. Will we see you standing next to the stages again?