Fritz Kaiser: “We fought neck and neck with the AC Cobra”

Q: Mr. Kaiser, congratulations on winning the 2013 Rallye Maroc Classic. It was only the third time you participated in the race. How do you explain your excellent performance? 

My secret of success is my co-pilot, my wife Birgit Kaiser. We had a great car and we found a very good calibration with our trip master to allow driving within 1/10 of a second during the timed sessions, of which there were more than 50. And, I guess, my driving was not too bad either.

Q: The third leg from Ouarzazate to Boumalne Dade with the Gorges du Dades in-between was a crucial point for your team’s success. What happened exactly? 

Not much, actually. We were just doing fine and in the evening of day 3 we suddenly found ourselves leading the race and realized that we were doing well. You know, many things can go wrong during a rallye like this, and it is, of course, difficult to plan such a victory. But once you recognize that you are doing very well you try to go for it. So the last 1000 km of the rallye became quite exciting, and we fought neck and neck at the top with Olivier Susset in his AC Cobra. We then had a minor technical problem with our car in a timed mountain run during day 5, and that evening the Cobra took the lead – 1/10 of a second ahead of us after more than 1500 km! We retook the lead the following day.

Q: The Route du Coeur took you some 2300 km crisscrossing the beautiful landscape of Morocco. Did you notice the extraordinary scenery or did you have to concentrate on the steering wheel all the time? 

Oh, yes, we did enjoy the beauty of this country, and we took a lot of photos. The Moroccan landscape is just outstanding, and I kept saying to Birgit “look at these colors!” It’s the light which makes the big difference. By the way, a classic car rallye is a very fine way to explore a country. I doubt that tour operators can match the magnificent tour we did.

Q: The Rallye Maroc Classic is known as fast and challenging with narrow and dusty roads, noisy and busy towns. Did you have any special moments during the race? 

I am sure that every team had  several special moments during this rally. We had our big bump in the road at high speed making our Roadster fly with all 4 wheels like in the streets of San Francisco. We also met a donkey in the middle of the road – again at high speed – and he refused to move. And, of course, on the very last day, during the very last timed session and in the very last village we had a little collision with a local vehicle. We were driving at low average speed, but we had no chance to avoid this one. Thanks to the organization car behind us, we were immediately able to continue the test. After that we really put our foot down and got everything out of the car to quickly return to the required average speed of that session. We thought we had lost everything there, but at the end we still made it.

Q: What about your car, the silver Mercedes 300 SL Roadster from 1957, was it reliable throughout the race?

The 300 SL Roadster is one of the great sports cars of the 1950s. Powerful, reliable and very nice to drive. There is one situation the car did not like and that was competitive driving at high temperature at an altitude above 1800 meters. There the fuel injection did not work properly and the engine lost power. But all in all it’s a very fine winning car.

Q: As the winners you will come back to Morocco in 2014 and defend your title. Is there anything you would the organizers to bear in mind for the Route du coeur edition 2014?

We hope that the next year’s rally will again take place in the South of Morocco. We just like this part of the country. But in any event, we look forward to another very special adventure in 2014.

Please also visit our special page that summarizes the Rallye Maroc Classic 2013.

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