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Klaus Müller and Rolf Pellini confirmed as HERO-ERA Cup Driver’s Champion and Golden Roamer Navigator’s Champion 2023

*After season-long battle, German driver Klaus Müller, and Italian navigator, Rolf Pellini, capture the top HERO-ERA crowns from UK crews

*Crew prevails in dire conditions, proving their respective skills in the worst LeJog weather in the history of the event

Klaus Müller and Rolf Pellini confirmed as HERO-ERA Cup Driver’s Champion and Golden Roamer Navigator’s Champion 2023

After a season-long battle for the coveted HERO-ERA Cup, German driver Klaus Müller clinched the title in glorious fashion on the toughest LeJog in history by winning his class and capping that with a gold medal! His regular navigator in their Lancia Fulvia, Italian Rolf Pellini, was equally brilliant after a battle with rival navigators to also capture a class win and gold medal on the severely weather-affected 2023 LeJog – albeit with a different driver and car!

Klaus had already committed to teaming up with his original navigator and friend Eric Schwab for LeJog in the Lancia, whilst Rolf had agreed to partner Thomas Koerner in their BMW 320/4, but the crews in both cars excelled in the harsh conditions, achieving coveted gold medals in a Reliability Trial where half the field was decimated.

Rolf in particular proved his skill in Europe’s toughest road rally where navigation is exacting and the pressure continuous, whilst Klaus demonstrated his deft driving touches over surfaces where crews found it hard to even stand up, as black ice and snowy conditions prevailed from Land’s End, all the way to John O’Groats.

Klaus and Rolf started the year in style on the snow of the Winter Challenge to Monte Carlo with a superb second place. Klaus won his class with his wife Ilona Seewald navigating him on the Scottish Malts, finishing seventh overall. Then on the HERO-ERA Classic Marathon, Klaus and Rolf won their class and finished a superb fourth overall. The RAC Rally of the Tests was as hard as ever, but Klaus and Rolf were equal to the task taking second in class and seventh overall.

There was more at stake than just a gold medal for Klaus Müller coming into the finale on LeJog, as he trailed in the HERO-ERA Cup for the best driver of the year by just a smattering of points. Having fought former champion Paul Bloxidge, who wasn’t on the event, he needed to finish enough legs to score points.

Klaus commented; “The driving was a real challenge, the conditions changed so quickly, this was the most difficult LeJog I have ever done. However, the HERO-ERA Cup was safe by Leg Two and that was great, a huge relief after all the work and over such difficult conditions. To win a gold medal as well was the icing on the cake, I am still taking it all in!”

Klaus’ navigator on LeJog, Eric Schwab, added, “LeJog is always a challenge, but particularly this one for Klaus with the championship at stake. You must keep concentration the whole way but the closer we got to the finish the more nervous we got, it really was a huge challenge.”

Rolf Pellini achieved gold navigating for Thomas Koerner who himself jumped up the final driver ranks to third with his class win and gold medal, but Rolf was in his own battle to try and win HERO-ERA’s Golden Roamer Award for Navigators.

Rolf was behind Sally Woof on points coming into the event and had pressure from Henry Carr who had climbed the leader board during the season, but they ultimately slipped off the road late on LeJog with driver Nicholas Maris in their Datsun.

Rolf Pellini commented; “At certain stages, it might have been nicer to be at home in front of a warm stove! It was extremely difficult, and I was a little speechless having won a gold medal, but then to win the Golden Roamer is so special for a navigator, it means everything!

“There was definitely a release of tension, at the end, I didn’t know whether to go to bed or the bar! I must congratulate the other navigators, especially Sally Woof and Henry Carr. Henry could have won the Roamer if we had slipped up, so there was definitely some pressure!”

Guy Woodcock, Competition Director HERO-ERA, summed up the achievements of both Klaus Mueller and Rolf Pellini:

“From the opening event of 2023, the duo have been consistently racking up the points to achieve the goals they targeted, even a change of driver/navigator on LeJog didn’t impact the outcome and the prizes for both are well deserved.

“Importantly, for the first time, we have a non-UK winning partnership making the HERO-ERA Cup and Golden Roamer Trophy lively European Championships.”

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