For years, most of the participants of the Rallye Breslau Poland next to Germans, Dutch, Poles and Belgians are coming from France. And they don´t come alone. Since years one French team is always participating as a big group – a really big group with the biggest fleet inside all the Rallye camp. We are talking about big semi-trucks with big trailers, mobile workshops, motorhomes etc. and they always park together like corrals in good old western movies.
But there is also the contrary, the single drivers and here we mean the French Rodolphe Wetzler. In the year 2017, with a nearly stock Land Rover Defender 110 he was waiting in front of the technical check. When the Chief Scrutineer asked him “Where is your co-driver?” Wetzler went to the back of his car, opened the door and took a 2-meter-tall teddy-rabbit out of the car. “Here,” he simply answered to the confused Orga-members.
“Ehm, what?” Yes. He came all the way from La Rochelle at the west-coast of France between Nantes and the Cognac region on wheels with the Defender rally car. Alone with no service, no trailer and no co-driver. Only a very big and cuddly teddy. Teddy-rabbit. Ready to compete in the Breslau. Surprisingly not in the (easier) Cross Country category, but no, in the tough and mud-loving Extreme. The plan was like: travel to Poland, drive and winch through the rally alone, go back to France.
He fulfilled his plan. The car didn´t look like the same after the race, same for the teddy-rabbit. But Rodolphe and teddy were able to handle everything, even travelling 1800km back home to France after the rally. For the long journey, he simply changed the tyres. “It wasn´t so bad, somehow it worked,” he reported later.
But why? Is Rodolphe a crazy men? Maybe a little bit. The Frenchman was participating in 2003 and 2004 as a co-driver for an Elsace-based Toyota Land Cruiser Team. 2005 he was back as driver with an own rally car. 2017 he wanted to celebrate his personal comeback. So or so. And because of a missing a team, he had the idea with the teddy. “This was a tribute to French rally driver Yves Tartarin,” he commented with a smile. So we all should be prepared for his next comeback-surprise…