ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival 2018 - The historic rally world gathered in Daun
The 2018 edition of the Eifel Rallye Festival that was held from July 19th to 21st had all ingredients that a good Festival should have. An enthusiastic audience celebrated more than 170 rally cars representing more than 90 different types of cars and participants from sixteen different countries headed by more than a dozen famous drivers from the past including former World Rally Champions Stig Blomqvist and Timo Salonen. Even the weather played its part and delivered in style with hot and sunny conditions in Daun and the Vulkaneifel region only interrupted by a short, obligatory rain shower on Saturday afternoon.
The event, run under the eyes of FIA Vice President Surinder Thatthi, was once again a feast for all fans of historic rallying. Otmar Anschütz, Chief Organiser of the Eifel Rallye Festival and Chairman of the MSC Daun, was very satisfied: "The new stages went very well, the atmosphere was great, the participants were satisfied and the weather really amazing considering that we are in the Eifel. I only saw happy faces during the weekend."
Reinhard Klein who, as head of the Slowly Sideways group, is responsible for the line-up of cars also drew a positive conclusion from the weekend. "We had a great entry, the teams gave everything to start here and it worked for almost all of them. The teams also work very closely together, not only here at the Festival, but already during the preparation. Everyone acts according to the motto: 'We drive with and not against each other.'" The renowned rally photographer added: "At the Eifel Rallye Festival, our idea is perfectly implemented because the originality of the cars is getting better and better every year. For us, it was a massive honour that cars that were constructed decades ago for a driving ten minutes flat out at Pikes Peak took part in our 'Festival Parade'."
Former rally aces experience journeys in time
The line-up of drivers of the rally cars was as colourfully-mixed as the vehicles themselves that ranged from a 1961 Volvo Amazon to the present-day Škoda Fabia R5. 1984 World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist headed the event with start number 1 and summed up the intention of the Festival: "This event is a real journey in time. It is great to be back here in my Ford Sierra from my 1988 World Championship season."
1979 European Rally Champion Jochi Kleint drove both twin-engined Pikes Peak Volkswagen Golfs in the Festival Parade and explained: "Here our beautiful sport is kept alive in a way that is more than impressive. The homely atmosphere and the massive appearance in the middle of the city are simply amazing."
Two-times German Rally Champion Harald Demuth, a regular visitor at to the Festival, took the wheel of two different Pikes Peak Audis, the 1985 Sport Quattro and the 1987 Sport Quattro S1 E2 Pikes Peak. "It is always an honour for me when Audi Tradition calls me and asks if I would like to drive one of their cars from their museum." He adds with a smile: "But I know that if I just scratch it, they will kill me."
That was not the only revelation that host Markus Stier elicited during the Welcome Evening. Asked why her husband Shekhar - with herself as a co-driver - were entered in the 1987 Race to the Clouds, Yvonne Mehta remarked: "My only possible explanation is that Peugeot team boss Jean Todt and Shekhar had drunk one whisky too many." The Kenyan co-driver added. "I was really scared in the 205 T16 because I was sitting on the right side and in the left-hand corners I could look downhill for miles. I would only return to Pikes Peak if Timo Salonen was at the wheel." Timo Salonen replied: "Nobody ever asked me if I would drive for him at Pikes Peak. But to be honest, I am not at all upset."
While the 1985 World Champion drove a 'normal' Peugeot 205 T16 E2 on two stages, car owner Erich Müller also brought his latest 'project' to Daun, a replication of the Peugeot 205 T16 Pikes Peak. On the show stage, he reported on building a car that simply does not exist anymore as the three original cars had either been converted into 405 T16s or were modified very differently for a second career in rallycross. "The Pikes Peak car was the greatest 205 ever built and I'm an absolute 205 freak." Since there were hardly any documents and only photos, the reconstruction was not easy. But nevertheless his car features some original parts. During the restoration process he discovered that the doors and the boot lid had a layer of yellow paintwork on them. "At least these parts are original", explained Müller.
Winners without competition
Although there is no time-keeping and no competition at the Eifel Rally Festival, the Rally Party on Saturday night also included a Prize Giving ceremony. Six prizes, each beautiful model car dioramas built by Bernd Buchkremer from Bernd's Rally Miniatures, were presented to the winners by famous drivers. Marcel Baldauf and Silke di Clemente showed the most impressed sideways action of all the course-opening cars in their BMW 325 and received the 'Sideways Star' from Stig Blomqvist. The Škoda 180 RS from Sven and Dirk Braune was awarded 'Best replication' from Jochi Kleint. Harald Demuth handed over the prize for the 'Best original' rally car to Ihle Motorsport who appeared with the twin-engined 1986 Pikes Peak Golf which had just recently been restored to its original condition. The VIP drivers themselves were the jury for the 'Champion's Choice' award and they selected the Toyota Celica Twin Cam Turbo of Gerd Dicks and Dani Portela.
The 'Special Price' went to Austrian Reini Sampl who drove in an Audi TT in the group of course-opening cars despite normally being confined to a wheelchair. The Paralympic athlete clearly proved that a person with a handicap can not only have a lot of fun in life but also be actively involved in motorsports. Sampl received his trophy from Yvonne Mehta. The finale and emotional highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 'Rallying Ambassador' prize to the 'The McRae Family' - Jimmy McRae and his two sons, Colin and Alister. When Jimmy McRae received the trophy from a former team manager, John Davenport, he was overcome with emotion and was struggling to find words to express his thanks for the honour.
Co-drives for a good cause
It has become tradition at the Eifel Rallye Festival to auction co-drives for a good cause during the shakedown. While Isabelle Brack was the highest bidder in an eBay auction and secured herself a ride in the 1987 Pikes Peak Volkswagen Golf Bi-Motor, François-Xavier Fasel did the same to get into the cockpit of the 1986 sister car owned by Wolf-Dieter Ihle who doubled the amount raised by Fasel. Both vehicles were driven by their original driver, 1979 European Rally Champion Jochi Kleint. A total of 1,655 Euros was raised for initiative 'Vor-Tour der Hoffnung', a charity organisation supporting children suffering from cancer. Their Chairman, Jürgen Grünwald, was pleased: "Normally we cycle in the region to collect donations for children suffering from cancer and this is a really cool contribution."
News in brief
FIA Vice President in Daun
Surinder Thatthi, a Vice President of the FIA, visited the Eifel Rallye Festival for the first time and, during his speech at the Welcome Evening, reported on Kenya's plans to return to the World Rally Championship. Thatthi announced that Kenya will host a World Championship candidate event in 2019 with the aim of a full WRC return in 2020. Thatthi pointed out that the Safari Rally had brought wonderful rally pictures to the world and that this was also thanks to the Festival co-organiser Reinhard Klein. Thatthi was one of several guests who made their way from East Africa to Daun. Others included former Nissan works drivers and co-drivers Mike Kirkland, Jayant Shah, Aslam Khan and Yvonne Mehta.
Meeting of the Pikes Peak conquerors
Five Germans have tackled the Pikes Peak so far, and three of them met at the Eifel Rallye Festival to exchange their experiences. While Jochi Kleint tackled the 'Race to the Clouds' three times for Volkswagen, Harald Demuth drove a Seat Leon Supercopa in 2011. The only German lady, however, conquered the summit as a co-driver to Austrian Gerhard Pegam in a rented Ford Mustang. "We were enthusiastically received at the finish and then it even started to snow - an indescribable feeling!"
Reini Sampl - a rally driver with a handicap
After the all-gravel Super Stage, Reini Sampl explained with a wink: "We have a clear division of labour in our team. I made our Audi TT very dirty, my co-driver Tina Annemüller has to clean it." The Austrian is confined to a wheelchair and does everything in the car - particularly braking and accelerating as well as steering - with his hands. Sampl was thrilled by his first visit to the Eifel Rallye Festival. "Many friends had told me that you simply have to drive here in the Eifel. All I can say is that they were absolutely right. I will come back if I can. If you love old rally cars, you have to come here. I've seen cars here I didn't even know existed."
Journalists from 19 different nations
Three TV stations, three radio stations, many journalists of the written word and photographers reported on this year's Eifel Rallye Festival. A total of 114 journalists from 19 nations spread their voices, words, photos and videos from the Vulkaneifel to rally fans in the whole world.
Get your cameras ready
The photographic competition brings countless and above all fascinating pictures to light every year. In addition, attractive prizes await the winners. All information under: https://www.eifel-rallye-festival.de/en/Photo_Contest.html.
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