From the dashboard of Eva and Adam Ilnicki
Many of our DVC members already know that in the beginning of September Eva and I traveled to Poland to take part in the 1st Historic Edition of Rally of Poland. Probably not as many people in the DVC know that Rally of Poland is the second oldest automobile rally in the world, after the famous Monte Carlo Rally. It is also the most prestigious and biggest event in automobile sports in Poland and Central Europe. The first edition of the rally took place in 1921. In 1960 Rally Poland for the first time became a round of the FIA European Rally Championship (the rally was then the most important championship round in the world). In September 2012 the Cracow Automobile Club organized the first ever edition of the Historic Poland Rally (RPH), the rally is referred to the tradition of Poland Rally and its formula to Rally Monte Carlo Historique.
We arrived in Poland a couple days before the Rally and had very little time to adjust to not only the new time zone but also the different laws of the road. I had not driven a car in Europe since the 1980’s. My first couple of hours on the road was under the great supervision of my brother-in-law, I was in hell. After one full day of “driving school” in the city of Wroclaw (our hometown), we went to Cracow for the Rally. We met up with our friend Erwin (which many of you met at our Memorial Day Party). He was kind enough to let us use his 1970 Fiat 124 Spider for the Rally.
The first day of the Rally was basically a photo opp. It was an honor start from the old town square of Cracow. The second day of the Rally the fun began, the race had truly started. All together there were 57 cars racing including us, with our famous number 27. To make the long story short we signed up for something much harder than we originally anticipated. The Rally was extremely hard /very fast and most of the driving was on side roads off secondary country roads with two way traffic. On the first day we lost a lot of points because we learned the many rules as we were driving. The route the rally was available 30 days prior to the start of the race. Most of the competitors took advantage of this and practiced multiple times going through the route. Unfortunately Eva and I were not so lucky and had switched seats from a Boeing 777 straight to the Rally car, (the Boeing 777 doesn’t take the turns as quickly). The Rally was about 500 miles long on mountainous roads. The first day we were behind the wheel for 12 hours and second day was easier, only 10 hours. As you can see in the picture that is attached in the gallery our directions were very simple, just distance and direction which we had to turn. We were not given any street names or other information. Our only friend was a bike odometer which calculated precisely every meter we drove. When we made mistakes, Eva my navigator had to deduct the amount of km/m we over drove, and then she was in hell.
In conclusion we finished the Rally 38th out of 48 classified teams. About 9 teams did not complete the Rally. We are very proud of our placement and extremely happy that we took part in the Rally. It was a great adventure. Not to mention that we proudly displayed our DVC colors on both sides of our Fiat. Some day we will return to the Rally of Poland. After the Rally we took some time to travel around the southern part of Poland (we shared some pictures with you in the gallery).
As many of you know I am a professional driver and long distance driving is my daily bread. But those 500 miles on Polish serpentine roads in the Rally were the hardest I’ve ever driven! When Eva and I finished the Rally we found out that instead of blood flowing through our veins we had premium high octane gasoline flowing in them.