Biggest Group B show takes shape
The Return of Group B is the theme for this year's Eifel Rallye Festival (July 21-23, 2016) and it will almost certainly be the biggest collection of Group B cars in one place since this category was banned from international rallying in 1986. "Already we have fifty-five Group B and Group S cars confirmed that will attend the Eifel Rallye Festival - and there are a few very exotic cars still in the pipeline. This number is simply amazing especially if you consider how difficult it is to get a road registration and maintain such a car", says Reinhard Klein. The rally photographer and head of Slowly Sideways is responsible for liaising with the owners of these cars. "In total, we have received more than the 150 entries that we can accept which means that there is already a waiting list for our event." In addition to these 150 cars that will tackle all eight stages totalling about 110 kilometres on Friday and Saturday, the organisers have received ten entries of very special cars for the "Festival Parade" which comprises the night stage on Friday and one stage on Saturday. The full entry list of the 2016 Eifel Rallye Festival will be published on July 1st.
The Festival does not only attract classic rally cars but also some of the legendary rally drivers of the past. One of them is Kenyan Mike Kirkland. This former works driver for Nissan and Subaru took part in last year's event and was absolutely thrilled. "I have never seen so many great rally cars in one place. 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." Kirkland, who secured a podium spot on the Safari Rally no less than five times, will travel all the way from Mombasa to Germany to take part in the "Festival Parade" where, just like last year, he will drive his original Group B Nissan 240RS from the 1983 Safari Rally. Kirkland not only flies for ten hours in order to get to Daun, but he also has to fight his way through layers of bureaucracy. He has already applied for a visa which he only gets thanks to an invitation from the organisers.
In addition to watching their heroes in action, this year one of the thousands of rally fans has the possibility to sit in the co-driver's seat of a World Champion. From June 8th, there will be an auction on eBay for a ride with Walter Röhrl in an original Group B Audi Sport Quattro. This will take place during the shakedown of the Eifel Rallye Festival (July 21st, 2016) that is held on the famous "Mantaloch" stage. The proceeds achieved during the auction will be doubled by the car owner, Wolf-Dieter Ihle, and will then be given to a local charity project called "Bürger für Bürger e.V.".
While all cars taking part in the Festival itself and in the "Festival Parade" have to comply with the strict Slowly Sideways regulations in terms of originality, the course-opening cars play a different role. The so-called "Youngtimer" group consists of some excellent drivers from Germany and the Benelux countries who really take their machines to the limit. Among these are Ford Escorts and Opel Asconas as well as the Opel Kadett C Coupé of 2013 German Rally Champion Georg Berlandy. Also included is the BMW M3 of local hero Jürgen Lenarz who literally drives through his own courtyard in the town of Sarmersbach during the Hilgerath stage on Friday night.
Spectators who are keen to visit the Eifel Rallye Festival can still obtain their tickets and programmes no matter in what European country they are living. This makes it easier for them to plan their trip and avoid queuing on the day of the Festival. And the rush for tickets is bigger than ever before. "Vacant hotel beds in and around Daun are getting scarce and the pre-sales are literally booming. At the moment, we have received twice as many reservations as last year."
While visiting the 'Rally Mile' in the heart of Daun is free of charge, there are various admission tickets needed for those who like to see the action on the special stages. The range offered goes from one-day tickets right up to full weekend tickets.
The pre-sale of tickets and programmes is open until July 08, 2016 from http://www.eifel-rallye-festival.de/en/rallye-shop.html.