The German Rally Championship for 2023 has started, and the battle for seconds is still going on. The traditional DRM prelude, the 58th ADAC Rallye Erzgebirge, began on the Stollberg market on Friday at 4:25 p.m. From the first special stage on, all of the classes kept trading blows until late at night. Even though it was dark, Julius Tannert and his co-driver, Frank Christian, were able to keep their focus and finish day one in the first place.
The duo won one of the four special stages in the tough DRM top league and took the lead in the Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 after a strong and perfect performance every time. Philip Geipel and Katrin Becker in their Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo are in second place. They are the defending champions and have won two special stages. They are 2.7 seconds behind the leader. Behind them, Marijan Griebel and Tobias Braun are waiting in their Skoda Fabia RS Rally2 in third place. Christian Riedemann and Nico Otterbach (Hyundai i20 N Rally2) are in fourth place. They are a bit behind the leaders, more than 20 seconds behind.
The current champion, Martin Christ (Opel Corsa Rally4), is in first place in the DRM2 category. He and his co-driver, Lina Meter, have won two special stages. Sepp Wiegand, who works for the same company and is a local hero, comes in second, four seconds behind. Raffael Sulzinger and Lisa Kiefer came in third at the Ford Fiesta Rally4 as a team.
The DRM Nationals fought until late at night as well. Ruben Zeltner, who has won several “Erze” awards, is in the lead of the NC1 with his wife Petra in the Porsche 911 GT3. This wasn’t a surprise. Andreas Dahms and Paul Schubert are in second place at the DRM Classic with their green Porsche 911. They are also in the first place.
In the special category DRM Trophy, Georg Berlandy, and Tina Annemüller finished the first day of the “Erze” in first place in their Skoda Fabia R5, ahead of Oliver Bliss and Alexander Hirsch, who was also driving Skodas. The Skoda Fabia R5 Evo driven by Dennis Rostek and Dennis Zenz, who was the champion last year, is in third place.
In spite of what the weather report said, it didn’t rain in Stollberg after Friday afternoon. Even though the surface was partly wet, the drivers still had to pay close attention, especially since the last two special stages took place in the dark. During the Saxon night, unique images were shown to the many people who came to see it. They saw white beams of light and red-hot brake discs in Gablenz, and the last round on the lit track in Jahnsdorf was a spectacular way to end the first day of racing.
The 58th ADAC Rallye Erzgebirge’s second and final stage starts at 8:57 a.m. on Saturday. Amtsberg 1 is the fifth special stage.