Our after recce report by Iain Tullie

Last June Iain Tullie and Timo Rietbergen completed the first recce for the coming Winter Trial. You will all be eager to find out where we are going in more detail so here are a few words by our route designer.


Timo and I have just completed an intense twelve days of driving around Southern Poland, what seemed like all of Slovakia and the South East quarter of Czech Republic. With nearly 5000 kms completed, I now have 129 pages of tulips and notes to work through – we tried to reduce our impact on the environment by writing everything digitally, no paper was used – Timo was also driving much more economically than the previous drivers of our hire car 😊.

We had very successful meetings with our new Local Contacts in two of the countries, Erwin Meisel (Historic Rally Poland) and Peter Novosad (formerly Matador Tyres, who assisted CRA for their 2006 Tatry Classic Marathon in Slovakia).

As you would expect, during the course of our trip we made a few changes to our programme for the event. There were some disappointments, but these were out-numbered by some very nice surprises, both the roads we drive and the test, lunch and coffee venues we visit. We found two FIA Championship venues that we didn’t know about, making four International motorsport venues in total on the event as well as using the roads from around a dozen rally special stages in the three countries.

First evening loop visits an ‘old favourite’ area in Czech, while the second is in a completely new area to the event, the compact route will provide a test for the navigators as it visits all three countries.

There will be less hairpins for the drivers to tackle than 2023, while the navigators will be pleased to know that the maps look to be a lot more helpful, at least in Summer anyway… We were amused by the different heights of the grass on football pitches we passed along the way – something you won’t be bothered about on the event, it will be the depth of snow on them that matters then!

Continuing the FIA connection from earlier, it is great that we will visit M-Sport Poland for our pre-start formalities on Saturday 27th. Their facility close to Krakow Airport provides the hub for their European Rally activities as well as the base for the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. At the time of our visit they should be completing the final preparations for the first round of 2024 in Sweden, so we hope there will be something for you to see there as well as calibrating your trip meters.

M-Sport will also be the starting point for our new optional ‘Leg 0’, which gives crews a chance for some regularity practice before the event starts, in case you have forgotten what to do since your last Winter Trial! From there, crews will head into Krakow and the splendid Sheraton Hotel, in the shadow of the historic old city. When you return there 6 days later, we are sure you will have some fantastic memories from the event.