Back to the future - Historic

Back to the future - HistoricFrom Chris Biewer [ 27/07/2005 ].
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At the recent Eifel Rallye in Germany there was not just an international field but a Historic Rallye Party. It is a show organised by photographer Reinhard Klein under the very fitting name “Slowly Sideways”. This Rallye Party meanwhile is a regular and even in itself already legendary part of the Eifel Rallye. There are real ex-works cars or works car replicas ranging from a Ford Anglia of 1961 to the Lancia Delta intergrale evoluzione of 1992. In between you are hard pushed to detect what is missing to make the museum complete. Cars as diverse in concepts, spectacle, sounds, as Saab 93, Datsun 240Z, Renault Alpine A110, Lancia Stratos, Ford Escort RS1800, Peugeot 504 Coupé V6, Mercedes 450SLC and a range of group B cars were all present. What is strange however, is that the historic section of the Eifel Rallye seemed to attract more official and manufacturer support than the main international rally – an aspect we will come back to in a “Back to the future – S2000” article!

Indeed, on the international German Championship Eifel Rallye 2005 works teams concentrated on 2 Skoda Fabia WRC. 59 cars started the international section of the rally with group N Mitsubishis making the bulk of the field.

In the Historic Rallye Party there were 64 cars! By nature many ex-works cars, but there indeed was a Peugeot and a Toyota with official current works support!

Last year TTE boss Ove Andersson was even at the scene managing Juha Kankkunen’s and Björn Waldegaard’s start in 1986 group B Celica TCTs! This year an F1 appointment interfered with Ove’s plans, but it didn’t stop TTE sending car and mechanics!

More so, yes we did have people like 1979 WRChamp Björn Waldegaard turn up. Juha Kankkunen, Stig Blomqvist, Michèle Mouton, Walter Röhrl, Malcolm Wilson and even some of the current star drivers show an interest in similar historic events, such as Roger Albert Clark RAC and East African Safari. On this year’s Eifel Rallye we already had with Björn Waldegaard and Armin Schwarz more international star names in the Historic Party than there were in the international rally.

Next I wondered why from the German scene I knew so few names in the main rally. Then I spotted that former German championship navigator Dieter Hawranke, who competed until the last German championship event with Christoph Schleimer in an Opel, suddenly was sitting in a historic Lancia, and he wasn’t the only German fame name to prefer the historics.

The event impressed deeply with it’s huge variation of cars and concepts and not to forget noises. The highlight clearly was Armin Schwarz in the ex-works Audi Quattro S1 – IN-NP 31, the very car Hannu Mikkola used on the 1985 RAC.

This massiv turbo hiss and pop orchestra changed with the rumbling bark of S-DP 1910, the very Mercedes 450SLC that finished 6th with Björn Waldegaard on the Safari 1979. There was an original 1974 Safari works Porsche 911 as well as a 1984 Dakar works Porsche!

Ford Escort RS1800 and Talbot Sunbeam Lotus all driven extremely sideways already was what turned last year’s RAC into a success. Other than the RAC, the Eifel Historic Rallye Party had the novelty that times are not important. Maybe they were not really important at the 2004 RAC too. But the point clearly was that there should be no pressure, it should just be show.

This meant drivers were not forced to break their car in taking stupid risks. I have seen incidents where drivers choose road going winter tyres because they actually wanted to have less grip! But then nearly without exception the bug bit them and it was surprising just how much on the edge these legends were driven! Unfortunately, this year one guy made an unwanted point of this fact:

K-AM 5660 was the group B Toyota Celica TCT with which Björn Waldegaard won the Bandama Rallye 1986, the last victory of this model. This car is, sorry was, still sitting at TTE and was brought back into life 2 years ago. Björn Waldegaard drove it first on the Eifel Rallye 2003. Ove Andersson retired her from Killerney Rally of the Lakes 2004. Than a strange scenario that is only possible in this type of show rallies: Eifel Rallye 2004 Juha Kankkunen started with this car knowing he had another appointment for the last leg.

Björn Waldegaard tried a Lancia Rally 037, a car he never had the chance to drive in his career. Björn didn’t overly like the Lancia and so there was a swap and K-AM 5660 was eventually shared between Kankkunen and Waldegaard on the same event! Eifel Rallye 2005, after early electronics problems for Armin Schwarz in the Audi Quattro S1, Björn was in a convincing provisional lead with K-AM 5660 – a very provisional lead, I couldn’t tell you who won this show event and quite frankly: who cares! You could see how Björn enjoyed it ever more.

I have seen Björn and this Celica 3 years in a row now but never anywhere near as sideways as last Saturday. In fact, these were powerslides you would expect from a nimble Sunbeam Lotus or Escort RS1800, I never knew you could drive a Celica like that! But 3 stages from the end Björn and the Celica was suddenly missing. At the finish Björn reported: “If this show makes you feel younger, I was driving like a bloody beginner! On the 4th from last stage I cut a corner too much, tried avoiding action from an inside pole, the wheels then got caught in the outside ditch and, oh my God, this was a huge shunt! I feel so sorry for the team. TTE was so enthusiastic preparing this car and I destroyed it all!”

Video footage including this car about 6km before the crash can be found below – and already there it was an accident waiting to happen, that’s how he pushed it. Hopefully we can show some of the footage at a later point. That one will look crazy in our database: “Built 1986, winner Bandama Rallye 1986, written off July 2005!” Rest in Peace K-AM 5660

A video compilation from this event can be downloaded by clicking here. Download to see and hear the awesome action. You will need Quicktime player or a Quicktime MOV codec to view the movie. Enjoy.

Photos:

Eifel Rally 2005
Lancia Rally 037 Evo

Eifel Rally 2005
Ford Escort RS1800 - S.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Audi Quattro S1 - IN-N.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
BMW 3-series (E30) - M1.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Mercedes 450SLC - S-DP.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Mercedes 450SLC - S-DP.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Mercedes 450SLC - S-DP.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Mercedes 450SLC - S-DP.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Mercedes 450SLC - S-DP.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Porsche 911 - S-AR 790.jpg

Eifel Rally 2005
Toyota Celica TCT

Eifel Rally 2005
Peugeot 504 Coupé V6

Eifel Rally 2005
Peugeot 504 Coupé V6

Eifel Rally 2005
Peugeot 504 Coupé V6

Eifel Rally 2005
Peugeot 504 Coupé V6