Proper Rough Roads for Inaugural Balkan Classic

World Rally Championship privateer heroes to take part in first Balkans Classic Rallye.

Also, there’s more than mere snow to contend with on Col du Galibier. Still more likely to see a zombie than a car on the recently opened A35 autostrada Milan-Brescia. Another fierce kicking for Germany’s €0.25 trillion transport plan.

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PROPER ROUGH ROADS FOR INAUGURAL BALKAN CLASSIC

Eight days and 2000km on unmade roads in the Balkan Mountains.

Eight days might seem plenty to drive the circa 400km between Bulgarian capital Sofia and the Black Sea.

But on rough, unmade roads through the Balkan Mountains it looks like competitors on the inaugural Balkan Classic Rallye this September will have their work cut out.

Organised by the Rallye Breslau International Association, entries are open for all FIA cars between January 1962 and December 1981. That means no 4WD or supercharged or turbocharged engines.

The three stop rally calls at Sofia, Starosel – at the foot of the Sredna Gora mountains, beside the Pyasachnik River – and Shkorpilovtsi south of Varna on the coast.

Most of the day stages are around 200km except day six which is a 600km sprint between Starosel and Shkorpilovtsi.

The total distance covered is around 2000km. Entry fees start from €1900 per car. 

Tuthill Porsche – which entered the Francois Delecour Porsche 911 GT3 in several World Rally Championship rounds last year – is already signed up.

See more at BalkanClassic.com.

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Big sandstorms in the Sahara have combined with strong southerly winds to drop a layer of fine sand across Europe, not least on Col du Galibier in the French Alps.

Big sandstorms in the Sahara have combined with strong southerly winds to drop a fine layer of sand across Europe, not least on Col du Galibier in the French Alps. Meanwhile, work is on-going to clear D902 ahead of the summer, though the spectacular 2646m (8681ft) Galibier is not expected to open completely until mid-June. Photo Meteo-Grenoble.com

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roundup: ITALY. The recently opened A35 Milan-Brescia ‘BreBeMi’ autostrada is still struggling for traffic. A video apparently filmed just after it opened in October 2014 showed a group of friends playing football on the empty carriageway. These days locals say ‘You find more people in the street during a zombie apocalypse that on Brebemi’, according to Milano Corriere della Sera. Officially A35 is carrying just a quarter of its forecast 60,000 vehicles each day. The issue is road tolls: the 77km from Brescia West to east Milan on the original A4 ‘Serenissima’ costs €6.30 for a car while the same journey is 15km longer via A35 and costs €12.40… Initial poor take up was blamed on the incomplete A58 TEEM east Milan bypass, and connections at the Brescia end, but both are now in place. At least this all means a nice quiet trip for flush visitors. A35 is one of a host of major new roads to open in Italy recently, see more. GERMANY. A week after the new €250 billion Federal Transport Plan 2030 was heavily criticised by a national motoring club, now is the turn of the Bundesrechnungshof Federal Audit Office. In a report for the parliament budget committee, auditors said the overall plan was not plausible because the cost-benefit ratios were not clear and the projects not directly comparable. It also said the cost estimates were ‘unrealistic’. In response, the BMVI transport ministry said cost-benefit ratios were one only factor among many it had to consider and it refused to re-evaluate the plan according to widespread reports. Junior transport minister Dorothee Baer later said on twitter that ‘The Bundesrechnungshof is inherently obliged to criticize BMVI. That is their raison d’être.’ The plan lists 1800 new road projects with a combined cost of €114 billion. ACE Club Europa said last week a lack of co-ordination between the works would result in a ‘nightmarish permanent building site’. Germany is still reeling from the Berlin airport debacle. Though the country has a reputation for organisation and efficiency, a 2013 EU auditors report said that, while German roads have the lowest initial cost estimates, they were more likely to run over budget and over-time than other countries. A case in point is the major work planned on the A9 southbound to Munich. It was due to start on Monday but so far this week there has been no sign of any activity at all.

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