Unfortunately, it has become 2 bridges instead of 3!
The Trois-Ponts rally was the first on the R-Box rally calendar 2022 and was mainly intended to get race kilometers in the legs and to evaluate the winter updates.
A lot of hard work has been done on the car in the winter months, and as usual this again results in numerous updates. Obviously, the pain point from the past, the entire charging system, has been completely reviewed and renewed. Because we love challenges, we have also completely mixed up our note system.
Add to that the refreshing -7°C at the start of the first test, and all the necessary ingredients were present to have no idea how the first kilometers were going to go.
We immediately got a test of 21km pushed in front of the wheels (Wanne), more than enough to be immediately woken up.
Because it was difficult to estimate to what extent the ice gods had attacked the wet wooded strips, we started with caution. After all, goal number 1 was to arrive, so risks were out of the question. Somehow I feel better in the Ardennes and this time I was able to disconnect much better from all observations regarding the condition of the car. I think this was also the first time I was fully focused on driving and we immediately noticed that I digested isidoor’s notes much more easily.
KP2 Vielsalm also went fairly smoothly although we had a bit of understeer on the square at the church. In retrospect, the full wet’s up front were not the best choice and at times they had to endure a lot because it was much drier than expected.
Because we only had service after the first loop of 4 KP’s we were forced to finish both Lierneux and Bodeux with the same tires.
During service 1 we decided to mount supersofts in the front. The intermediates behind had given us enough confidence so they were allowed to stay. Our service crew also softened the suspension around a bit.
This was a good choice anyway because on KP5 Wanne we clocked the 2nd time 34 sec faster being a gain of 1.6 sec per kilometer. This resulted in 2 big smiles in the R-Box BMW because the fun factor was already a lot higher.
Meanwhile, even the sun was out of the party, although the temperature continued to flirt with the freezing point.
The following KPs were more or less identical, despite regular minor mistakes – due to the occasional slightly too boisterous driving style – we managed to steadily increase the pace and we had a great time.
Finally the hoped-for progress and we were eagerly looking forward to loop 3, and especially reaching the end of the rally came within reach.
But after FP 8 on the way to the regroup, disaster struck again. The battery voltage started to make crazy jumps and the alternator seemed to have run wild. The regulator that was supposed to keep the voltage neatly at 15V had fallen into a coma and could no longer control the voltage. We saw the battery voltage go smoothly over the 16V and we still set up all possible consumers such as the lights, windscreen heating, all fans and pumps but the battery voltage continued to rise cheerfully with the result that the power steering went into error.
Without assistance it is impossible to drive the car, even on road sections it is quite a job to keep the BMW within the lines. On the way to the service we had the same error a few more times and after resetting 2-3 times it turned out that the power steering ECU had completely given the pipe to maarten. Unfortunately, despite all the resuscitation attempts by the service team, the ECU did not survive and we had no option but to throw in the towel.
A very painful and unexpected end but this time we look back on the match with more confidence. First of all we had a great time, Trois Ponts is a very nice rally to drive, we have finally learned something and made progress and we can only conclude that the E30 M3 is a very nice car to drive.
We have known for some time that we also have a super team so sooner or later it will be fine.
In the meantime, the disappointment has already washed over and we are busy getting the car ready for the Sezoensrally on May 14.
See you in Bocholt!