20.02.2011 – Best graduate at ADAC Rally School in Oschersleben
To gain some new experience after numerous successful moments in circuit, hill climb and slalom racing, Valentin took an active part as driver with his BMW 120d Coupé in this year’s ADAC Rallye School at Oschersleben. Together with his father Gerolf Hummel as co-driver and 27 further participants Valentin learned in theory and practice about what is expected from a prospective rallye driver. He was instructed and supported by the adept rallye driver and ADAC Junior Cup winner from 2003 Maik Steudten. His former co-driver, the national and international experienced Sebastian Geipel, undertook the task of instructing the co-drivers. The ADAC Rallye School shall make it easier for interested people to gain ground in rallye sports by well-directed and consistent advancement.
After the official greeting on Friday, several skilled drivers from kart, slalom and gymkhana racing appeared in the following round of introductions. The whole Friday was mainly theoretical and consisted of topics like the structure of motorsports, the typical rallye procedure and the current regulations.
On Saturday, after some early morning exercises, all the drivers were free to demonstrate their skills on the race and kart track of the Motorsports Arena Oschersleben. Partly with and partly without Maik Steudten as co-driver, Valentin became quickly familiar with all the characteristics of professional rallye driving. In the course of the day, after a further theoretical lesson, the indispensable pace notes were prepared. During a rallye these notes are the connection between driver and co-driver and were dictated by the driver to describe the route to be driven in detail. All these details are then read out by the navigator to the driver on the special stages, so the driver can complete them at high speed. Driving by means of these notes was part of the next exercise, although Valentin would have been able to drive the route just from his memory. Finally, an eventful second day ended with a written test in the evening.
At first on Sunday their respective start time was communicated to all the drivers to challenge the next exercise: driving a regular interval with aid of the road book to the next time control point. Not an easy job for everybody, Valentin and his father didn’t have any problems and they arrived just in time at the control point at the nearby Arena Offroad Park. Over there the second part of the drivers’ training should take place on the gravel pit. Although Valentin was used to drive on tarmac roads, it wasn’t difficult for him to control his car also on a road with less grip. Valentin’s skillful drifts were often noticed by Maik Steudten, who complimented one of the youngest drivers several times. Whereas some of the drivers left the gravel pit with transmission failure, bursted tires and other damages, Valentin finished this exercise without any scratches.
After a last practical test driver’s instructor Maik Steudten drew the following positive résumé: “As one can see, you are very talented, although I asked myself how you will handle it on the gravel. That’s often a bit problematic for circuit drivers, but you did a very good job.”
At the end it wasn’t surprising that Valentin finished the training as the best one and was rewarded with a participation on the ADAC Dacia Logan for one rallye of the ADAC Rallye Masters, where ADAC also provides him with service by professionals.
Due to his new experience Valentin will start at the ADAC Rallye Masters. At the Rallye School he also met his co-driver Katja Geyer from Frankfurt, as they had a perfect teamwork when driving a special stage on trial. The next weeks they will spend their time on a comprehensive training and we will see how they acquit themselves during the Rallye Erzgebirge in April. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.