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Eifel Rallye Festival 2018 – Celebrating the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

 

As is traditional, the ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival held in Daun/Germany from July 19-21 2018 runs each yearwith a different theme. In the past, the famous demonstration event has already celebrated the 'Safari Rally', '30 Years of Group B' and 'Six Decades of Rallying'. For 2018, it has been decided to dedicate the event to the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in the US. At the 'Race to the Clouds', held in the Rocky Mountains, the competitors have to tackle 19.99 km and 156 corners before they reach the summit of Pikes Peak at an altitude of 4,301 m.

Back in the 1980s, the mountain road was entirely gravel and it played a very special role for rallying. "Pikes Peak became the new home for some of the Group B cars that were banned from the WRC", recollects Reinhard Klein. He is the head of Slowly Sideways,the group of rally car collectors that makes up most of the one hundred and fifty cars entered in the Festival, and he has visited the 'Race to the Clouds' as a photographer. "At Pikes Peak, the Group B cars from Audi, Peugeot, Ford, Lancia and Austin Rover were run in their most extreme form and that is exactly how we will see them in the Eifel. Of course, for the Pikes Peak cars entered in the Festival, the same strict rules apply in terms of originality as for all other vehicles taking part in our event." At the Eifel Rallye Festival, the hill-climb racers will make up a special 'Pikes Peak Parade' and will tackle two different stages. On Friday evening, they will drive the 'proWIN Hilgerath' stage. On Saturday, they will have a go at the second pass through the 'Risselberg' stage whichitself is a former hill-climb track.

While entries for the 'normal' Eifel Rallye Festival only open today, many of the cars taking part in the Pikes Peak Parade are already confirmed. Audi Tradition will open its museum and bring two original works cars to Daun.These are the1985-winning Audi Sport Quattro and the 1987-winning Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 'Pikes Peak'. While Harald Demuth will take the wheel of the Sport Quattro, the 600 bhp supercar from 1987 will, according to what is known at present, be driven by the man himself, Walter Röhrl. A third winning Audi will join the fray. This will be entered by private collector Wolf-Dieter Ihle and it will also be piloted by its original driver, in this case, John Buffum, who won Pikes Peak twice.

Audi has a unique record at the Race to the Clouds winning the event six times in a row from 1982 to 1987 with three different types of cars: Audi Quattro A2, Audi Sport Quattro and Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 'Pikes Peak'. All these unique cars will be re-united at the 2018Eifel Rallye Festival.

One of Audi's main rivals in Colorado from those days will do its first kilometres since the 1986 Pikes Peak hill-climb. Wolf-Dieter Ihle has recently purchased the twin-engined VW Golf which entered the race in 1985 and 1986. This very special car will shake off the Colorado dust, some of which can still be found inside, and it will also be driven by its original driver, former European Rally Champion Jochi Kleint.

While these cars are still in theiroriginalspecification, the three Peugeot 205 T16s that were used at Pikes Peak in 1987 have changed their shape radically over the years. Two of them were converted to 405 T16s, while the third one has been used in Rallycross. But now, after thirty years, this gap will be filled by Austrian Peugeot collector Erich Müller who is just completing a replica of the 'missing' 1987 Pikes Peak Peugeot 205 T16.

Another Group B car will make its way from the UK to Daun. Mark Rennison, who tackled the US hill-climb in a modified Ford RS200 right up until 2014, will bring this car to Daun. The whole project was initiated by John Wheeler, the 'father' of the RS200 and a regular participant himself in the Eifel Rallye Festival.

"We are really impressed by and proud of the Pikes Peak entries we have received so far. But we are still in talks with further teams and there is a good chance that we can welcome some more precious cars that competed there", says Otmar Anschütz, Chief Organiser of the Eifel Rallye Festival and President of the MSC Daun.

Double World Champion Walter Röhrl, who was the first driver ever to reach the summit in less than eleven minutes, sees two reasons for his 1987 success at Pikes Peak. "The Audi engineers had understood quickly that with a four-wheel drive car,downforce, i.e. wings, are necessary even on gravel." After seeing the times of the 'winged' Quattro in practice, Peugeot hastily added new wings to its 205 T16 but still they could not beat Audi and Röhrl that year. A fact, which was also down to Röhrl'smeticulous preparation. "Together with my wife Monika, I drove up the mountain eight times and made my own pace notes. Then I gave each of the 156 corners a specific name and learnt all of them by heart. In contrast to some of my rivals, I knew where I was all the time." Röhrl is especially delighted that his 1987 winning car is still running today. "It is great to see that Audi takes this unique Audi out of its museum and shows it in action to the audience."

More information on: www.eifel-rallye-festival.de

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