Transsyberia Rally: Armin Schwarz debrief

Transsyberia Rally in the rear vision mirror: Great adventure - score still to settle The first night at home with my family was simply wonderful. And to sleep in my own bed after the tented camps in Mongolia was pure bliss! And all the other ...

Transsyberia Rally in the rear vision mirror: Great adventure - score still to settle

The first night at home with my family was simply wonderful. And to sleep in my own bed after the tented camps in Mongolia was pure bliss! And all the other civilised things, like a warm shower, great!

Now it's time to take a look in the rear vision mirror: The 2008 Transsyberia was much better organised than last year's rally. Right from the start through Russia and Siberia we had a special stage every day. So the competition was on from day one. The stages in Russia reminded me of the world championship. They were varied and challenging. Once we reached Mongolia we had to use all our marathon skills. And those long stages were well chosen, too.

I can only describe spending more than 7000 kilometres in a car with Andi Schulz as a first class experience. He is a professional through and through. And he has a great sense of humour. Thanks Andi. Let's do it again sometime.

Tackling the Transsyberia Rally for Porsche for the second time after 2007.

I'd also like to thank all the Porsche crew who accompanied and helped us during these two weeks. Above all, a huge thank you to the mechanics who really didn't get a lot of sleep and still did a perfect job - always with a smile. You notice that Porsche is used to endurance racing. The boys have stamina! And thanks as well to Porsche for the chance to compete with the Cayenne S Transsyberia!

Am I happy with third? I can only say this: Every racer wants to win. But we couldn't do more this year. We had very strong and professional opposition. The winner, Christian Lavieille has huge experien ce from the Dakar, he also won the Pharaos Rally in 2006 and 2007. His co-driver, Francois Borsotto, has contested the Dakar seven times, with the likes of Jean-Louis Schlesser. Pau Soler, who was second, came fifth at the Transsyberia last year and he has won the Baja Qatar on the motorbike. The main profession of his co-driver Laia Peinado is to develop roadbooks.

The stages in Russia reminded me of the WRC: short, fast, diverse.

Still, if it was just about speed we would have won. Lady luck left us in the lurch at decisive moments. On SS1 the directions in the roadbook were about a kilometre off reality. Everyone drove around in the forest not knowing where to go. We then decided to go back to the last correct point in the roadbook and try again. Then we came to a waterhole...others had better luck and found their way back on track by accident. Our charge on the penultimate day was halted by a faulty alternator. But that's motorsport. I think third is good, but we still have a score to settle in Mongolia.

I know, we showed this shot already. But it's simply awesome when a Cayenne is air borne!

The organisers‘ decision to penalise three of the teams - us for instance - was annoying. After the sixth leg they imposed a time penalty because we started the fifth special stage late, but inside the allowed timeframe. The day previously Andi had received the go-ahead from the organiser to use this tactic. Well, this can get better in 2009.

To sum up my memories and feelings I can say: I would love to return next year and be amongst those who take off from the Red Square directi on East.

Mongolia: Space enough to let the Cayenne go at full bore.

Next thing for me is naturally to visit my home round of the World Rally Championship mid August in Germany, and then I have a 30-hour flight to the world championship rally in New Zealand to tackle. The trip is not exactly what I need right now, but the rally will be exciting and great, the country is outstandingly beautiful.

Joy at the finish in Ulaan Bataar: third overall!

Then I head west to catch up with my team mates in the All German Motorsports team. From 5-6 September we contest the SCORE Terrible's Primm 300. In 2007 I drove the first stint and at half-way I was leading the class by four minutes. Matthias Kahle took over but had to take it easy. We finished fourth in our class. I can't wait to climb back into our 640 hp monster!

I'll be back mid August with more news.

Until then,
Best regards,

Armin Schwarz

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-credit: armin schwarz

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About this article
Series Cross-Country Rally
Drivers Armin Schwarz , Jean-Louis Schlesser , François Borsotto , Christian Lavieille , Pau Soler , Laia Peinado , Matthias Kahle