172 Cars, 33 Manufacturers, 17 Nations and 6 Decades
The entry list of the 2017 ADAC Eifel Rallye Festival is out and reveals a truly remarkable line-up of cars and drivers that will gather in Daun between July 20th-22nd, 2017. The entry list features 172 rally cars built by 33 different car manufacturers and participants coming from 17 different countries. "The variety of cars is simply amazing. We got nearly everything from the 1960s when rallying was just moving away from regularity to speed events right up until today's cars that really thrill the crowds in their high-speed quest for glory", says Reinhard Klein, the head of the Slowly Sideways group.
Thanks to this year's theme "Six Decades of Rallying", the Eifel Rallye Festival for the very first time also welcomes selected present-day rally cars. This group is headed by Belgian Thierry Neuville in the latest Hyundai i20 WRC but it has also attracted the current R5 cars from Ford (driven by Chris Brugger), Peugeot (driven by Dirk Riebensahm) and Škoda (driven by Matthias Kahle). The latter will experience a leap in time during the Festival. Seven-times German Rally Champion Kahle will take part in the "Festival Parade" with a Fabia R5 and then swap for the rest of the Festival to a Škoda 130 RS which is forty years older.
Welcome Evening: Fast-forward through "Six Decades of Rallying"
But it is not only the cars like those two Škoda models that will display the development of rallying, it is also the drivers. Gunnar Palm for example already won the 1963 Monte Carlo Rally alongside Erik Carlsson in a Saab 96 when it was still run under the handicap system which helped smaller engine cars to fight for the overall victory. Later, he shared the cockpit with Hannu Mikkola when they together won the Safari and London-Mexico rallies at the wheel of a Ford Escort. It will be this type of car that Mikkola and Palm will share again during the Eifel Rallye Festival. Palm has experienced a completely different era in rallying than, for example, Armin Schwarz or Thierry Neuville who know how to get the maximum from their World Rally Cars with perfect pace notes and the right tyres and suspension settings.
During the Welcome Evening of the Eifel Rallye Festival, these different generations of drivers will meet on the podium and give their view of the sport. The interviews conducted by renowned rally journalist Markus Stier will be enlivened by video clips made by Helmut Deimel. The producer of "The Evolution of Rallying Vol. 1 & 2" and "Group B - Riding Balls of Fire" will review rallying decade by decade with a specific clip for each and is looking forward to this open-air broadcast: "For me it is very special to directly experience the feedback of the fans and the famous drivers, and applause from the audience is always balm for my soul."
The Welcome Evening on Thursday night from 20.30 hrs and the autograph session on Friday morning, 11.00 to 12.00 hrs, are the best chances for fans to get up close with the star drivers such as the former World Champions Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola (along with co-driver Gunnar Palm), current Vice-World Champion Thierry Neuville, European Champion Armin Schwarz, the German Champions Harald Demuth, Kalle Grundel and Matthias Kahle as well as Mike Kirkland, Niki Schelle and Harri Toivonen.
On eBay: Secure a co-drive with Harri Toivonen in a Group B Opel Manta 200
"The raffles for the co-drives with Thierry Neuville in the current Hyundai i20 WRC and Armin Schwarz in the Hyundai Accent WRC are already over, but now we have a new chance for all those who are seeking an extra adrenaline kick during the Eifel Rallye Festival", says Otmar Anschütz, the chief organiser of the event. On eBay, you can secure a co-drive with Harri Toivonen in one of the extremely rare Group B Opel Manta 200s during the shakedown stage. The proceeds achieved during the auction will not only serve a good purpose, they will be doubled by the car owner, Wolf-Dieter Ihle, and then given to a local charity project called "Verein zur Förderung der Jugendarbeit im Landkreis Vulkaneifel e.V.".