Our Top Run story continues:
Top Run Day 1 – Berlin to Budapest!
After a short sleep, delicious breakfast and saying good bye to Hece who had to go back to Finland. I jumped in the back of the Mercedes S 55 AMG of Andre and Henning who kindly offered me a ride after Hece bailed out. Our Top Run kicked off at the Ritz Carlton about 10 am. We were one of the last to leave, only Edo’s Cayenne and the M6 were still in the garage when we left. Right outside the hotel we were stopped by the German police to check the papers of the car and Andre’s drivers license. Everything was in order and off we went towards our first waypoint: Prague. I tried to sort Eastern European maps for my navigation system the night before but the ones Hece gave me didn’t work so we only had navigation until the Czech Republic. We got a call from Team Red Bull, they were already stopped by police and got a full drug test setting them back some 20 minutes. We took it very easy and still within Berlin the orange Lamborghini appeared in our rear view mirror, we followed him onto the highway but after 5 minutes he took the exit, we kept following the Mio navigation and after 10 minutes he was behind us again. On the highway towards Dresden we had to stop for gas and found the orange Lamborghini again together with the silver Mercedes SL. I bought a paper map for Czech Republic and Slowakia to navigate our way from the Czech border through Slowakia towards Budapest. Cruising towards Prague we jumped most of the line at the German / Czech border which saved us a lot of time.
Team Red Bull (DMC, Sten & Jack) kept sending us updates on their position and their progress. About 60 kilometers before Prague we saw them on the hardshoulder with a police car, we thought they were pulled over and stopped at the nearest gasstation just 400 meters down the road. After a couple minutes the orange Lamborghini pulled in behind us, wonder how we managed to overtake them twice! When I called DMC he explained they burst the front right tyre and were waiting for a towtruck. We decided to go back and see if we could help them. Easier said then done… 15 kilometers later we finally reached the next exit and drove all the way back to where they were standing with the M3 CSL. The front right tyre had a hole as big as two tennisballs on the inside of the wheel, they said the towtruck was coming and the three of them wanted to stay together and probably stay in Prague for the night. With not much we could do we jumped back in the car and headed towards Budapest, but 10 minutes later we got a call if we could please come back and take one of them because the towtruck called and said it had only room for two passengers… So we drove all the way back and picked up Jack. We cruised through Czech Republic without any problems and saw GTspirit member Zbynek on the side of the road with his laptop reporting live at our forum! Sadly it was to late to stop and we lost to much time already to go back.
Just after entering Slowakia we pulled into a gasstation and right after us an unmarked Audi S4 police car pulled in, I thought “here we go, trouble” but the cops were really friendly and told us with a big smile about how many nice cars they saw and pulled over today. They all had to pay and then were free to go, I think they did well for themselfs that day, and they even had a little dragrace on the highway in their brand new police Audi S4 with one of the Lamborghini’s . I wished the cops a good day, took over the wheel from Andre and headed towards Budapest. We didn’t see the S4 again and made it to our hotel in Budapest just in time for dinner. Former Gumballers Mark Muss and Seamus joined us for dinner and shared some of their famous stories. During dinner I received a text message from Sten and DMC, the towtruck was willing to drive them and the car all the way to Budapest, with a topspeed of 100 km/h they should be able to make it before the party ended. Little while later I received the already famous message: “We bought 5 beers to get the party started and a 5 litre fuel tank for Sten to leak in”. Poor towtruckdriver… Just after 1am they finally arrived at the party and they were still wearing their reflective vests. The party didn’t end till late that night! After the dinner and party at Signo we went to another club with a couple guys, this club was located in the middle of nowhere and when we left and finally found a taxi the driver didn’t want to take the 5 of us in one go, so two of us distracted the taxidriver while the others helped one of us in the boot of the taxi, after he got in we said we were good to go because the 5th guy rather walked back to the hotel. The taxidriver believed us and drove off! As soon as we arrived at the hotel 15 minutes later we jumped out and released our friend from Liechtenstein out his unfortunate position in the back of the Opel.
Top Run Day 2 – Hungaroring trackday!
After a very quick breakfast Sten enlighted me with one of the stories from the night before. Upon arrival at the hotel he carried the jerrycan (yes the one he leaked in!) with his luggage in with his luggage, the porter walked up to him and told him he wasn’t allowed to carry fuel into the hotel, he then picked up the jerrycan and smelled it, straight away asking the guys what was in the jerrycan, their answer: “recycled alcohol” ;-)
That morning the M3 CSL was parked in front of the hotel with one wheel missing, DMC took the wheel with him in a quest to find new tyres for his frontwheels somewhere in Budapest. After a couple hours he managed to find a pair of brand new cup tyres and get them fitted on the CSL just in time to get to the lunch at the Hungaroring F1 track. After lunch we had a little photoshoot in the pitlane and then it was our time to race around the track. After a lap with DMC, it was my turn to take the CSL out for a spin with Henning in the passenger seat. Using the first lap to get to know the track, we pushed it a bit harder in the next laps. The Hungaroring is definatly a great track, good mix of tight and fast corners and the M3 CSL was a very good companion.
The Mercedes E 55 AMG covered the track in smoke more then once, we captured some of it on camera.
After the lunch and laps at the Hungaroring our next overnight checkpoint was in Zagreb, some 350 kilometers away. From the Hungaroring we had to go through Budapest again and as we had no navigation systems we had to rely on my navigation skills. We stopped at the Hungaroring gasstation before heading for Zagreb, Team Red Bull Racing drove off, we followed 5 minutes later and a couple minutes after us the white, grey and silver Porsche. On the M3 going in to Budapest they caught up with us in the S, we don’t have any navigation since we left the Czech republic yesterday so it basicly came down to me on how what directions we would take. The Porsches didn’t follow us and took a different route. It turned out we did well and didn’t get lost. About 40 kilometers out of Budapest suddenly the Red Bull BMW popped up in our rearview mirror, apparently he lost at lot of time driving through the center of Budapest on the way from the M3 to the M7 aswell.
We then drove together till just before the Croatian border where we stopped for gas. On the way to the border we overtook the 3200 GT but after stopping for gas the Maserati 3200 GT overtook us again. We left the gasstation a bit after Sten took the wheel of the Red Bull M3 but we saw them and the 3200 GT again at the Hungarian/Croatian border. Sadly the 3200 GT wouldn’t start easily after a check of the boot for illegal immigrants… Causing us to loose sight of the M3 again.
The roads in Croatia were absolutely stunning, little traffic, perfect condition and no police or any other delays. At the Croatian border we were told to pull out full throttle for the customs enjoyment!
That night we had a good night out in Zagreb. I celebrated my birthday with team Goldstaender, Henning, Andre, Rat Boy and the two Top Run support girls and some champagne of course!
The next day we wanted to leave at 8 am sharp (right… ) and head for Dubrovnik.
Stay tuned for Day 3 and 4 of our Top Run writeup!