A Party for many generations!
The 2015 ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival (23. - 25. July 2015) was a great success and a party for many generations. From toddlers to grandfathers, the Rally Mile in Daun and the demonstration stages were buzzing with spectators. Right from the shakedown on Thursday afternoon and the Welcome Evening presented by the Autostadt, the three-day event that ended on Saturday night with a Rally Party was well-received.
One hundred and fifty historic rally cars - all of them being famous rally cars or faithful replicas - turned the Eifel region into a mecca for rally enthusiasts. These cars were driven by crews from fifteen countries and four continents. Heading a horde of amateur drivers were the four ex-World Rally Champions Walter Röhrl, Hannu Mikkola, Stig Blomqvist and Timo Salonen. With the addition of Sandro Munari - the winner of the 1977 FIA Cup for Rally Drivers - you had five of the world's best rally drivers ever in this fifth edition of the event.
The winners of the event
One of the key elements of the event is that there is no competition and no sportive winners. Thus winners were selected by a jury of experts in different categories. The Nissan 240RS of Achim Loth and Sebastian Jeub was selected as the "Best original rally car". This original Safari Rally car was a complete wreck before Loth brought it back to Europe and restored it so nicely.
The prize for the "Best replication" went to the Fiat 131 Abarth shared on the stages by Walter Röhrl and Timo Salonen. The car was built completely new from a road car shell by Kevin Theaker of Rally Sport Developments. The English company designed and produced all the special parts itself and have already made three others.
Austrian film-maker Helmut Deimel was garlanded as "Rallying Ambassador" for his outstanding rally films such as The Evolution of Rallying Vol. 1 and 2.
The five champion drivers Röhrl, Munari, Mikkola, Blomqvist and Salonen also selected their favourite rally car and gave it the "Champion's choice" award. This went to the original 1977 Monte Carlo Rally winning Lancia Stratos owned by Guido Avandero.
Europe's biggest classic car magazine, Oldtimer Markt, gave out its own prize, the so-called "Durchhalte-Pokal" (Endurance Cup) for a team that really had to fight to get to the finish of the Festival. This was awarded to Friedhelm and Julian Pinnen and their Talbot Sunbeam Lotus. After they had broken the Talbot's steering following a hard landing on the Bosch Super Stage, the owner immediately drove to Duisburg (180 km north of Daun), picked up a new steering and came back. On Saturday morning, the new steering was built into the car and the father-and-son-team drove the rally to the finish.
Enda Garvey from Northern Ireland was less lucky. The winner of the "Unlucky fellow award" had brought a Peugeot 405 T16 and a Toyota Corolla WRC but could hardly drive these. One reason was that the Pikes Peak Peugeot - the highlight of the Festival Parade - refused to run at the start of the stage thanks to a faulty petrol pump. The other was that, Garvey and his whole family were suffering from stomach problems.
Peter Schlömer, Chief Organiser and President of the MSC Daun: "Already on Thursday, the number of spectators was much higher than last year. And considering the weather on Saturday, we were surprised how many day tickets were sold that day. To have such an enormous following is a great reward for our work. But the best thing is that everyone was happy."
Reinhard Klein, Head of Slowly Sideways: "What is happening here is simply incredible. We have received an entry full of unique cars. By now, all drivers and spectators know that the Eifel Rallye Festival is an event which is only about fun and without any pressure. This is also the reason why Stig Blomqvist is joined by his wife in the co-driver's seat."
Christian Geistdörfer, part of the organising team: "This was already the fifth Eifel Rallye Festival and it is really incredible. The great reception by the spectators is simply amazing. There are so many emotions involved between the drivers, cars and fans. We all can be proud of this Festival."
Andreas Hornig, Representative of the sponsor Autostadt: "The fascinating thing about this Festival is the proximity of the fans to the cars and drivers. On other events you often find separated VIP areas. But here the drivers are there and 'touchable'. For us, the Eifel Rallye Festival is a great opportunity the show the Autostadt and the ZeitHaus, a great platform." Hornig got the chance to join Röhrl in the co-driver's seat of a Porsche 911 RSR for one stage and was delighted: "This was the ultimate experience. How he controls the car is pure art."
Walter Röhrl (Fiat 131 Abarth & Porsche 911 RSR): "It is just wonderful to meet so many of my former colleagues. It felt like a class trip with old friends. The atmosphere was simply fantastic. Already on Thursday there were many, many spectators in Daun and there were big crowds watching the action on Saturday, despite the bad weather. This shows what the people want to see. They love these old cars as their sound and their looks rouse emotions and memories."
Sandro Munari (Lancia Stratos): "This is the best and most beautiful event of its kind. I am very thankful that I could be here. I had never expected that the young people know so much about me and the days when I was driving."
Hannu Mikkola (Mercedes 450 SLC & Toyota Celica 2000GT): "Apart from Renault and Saab I probably drove all rally cars in my career. But my favourite is still the Ford Escort. But it is also fascinating to see how well-presented the Quattro is here in Germany."
Stig Blomqvist (Ford Sierra RS Cosworth): "This is the first time for 25 years that I drove this Sierra. But I immediately felt at home. I am coming to the Festival every year and always like it here. This is date that I would not miss."
Timo Salonen (Fiat 131 Abarth & Peugeot 205 T16): "This is like a class trip. It is great to experience how many young people are interested in our cars and stories though they weren't even born back then." Then the Finn, who was known for smoking heavily and even had an ash tray in his rally cars, added with a smile. "I thought that no one would recognize me after I stopped smoking eight years ago."
Mike Kirkland (Nissan 240RS): "I have never seen so many great rally cars in one place and with many of them being driven by their original drivers For me, one thing is for sure, the Eifel Rallye Festival does for the history of rallying what the Goodwood Revival does for the history of circuit racing."
Harald Demuth (Audi Sport Quattro): "That was just awesome. It is always impressive how good this car was back then. I hope the fans liked it as much as I did."