Rally Greats at Eifel Rallye Festival

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Stig Blomqvist, Rauno Aaltonen, Bruno Thiry, Kalle Grundel, Nicky Grist, Harald Demuth, Rui Madeira, Rudi Stohl and Niki Schelle were just some of the rally stars that attended the Eifel Rallye Festival in Germany’s Daum region on 27-29 July, where over 160 historic rally cars entertained tens of thousands of fans, at what is possibly the biggest rally festival of its kind.  WRC star Thierry Neuville travelled from his pre-rally testing in Finland to be present to see his brothers Yannik Neuville and Tom Heindrichs perform on the rally stage in a Ford Fiesta WRC and Citroën DS3 WRC that Thierry used to drive himself in the WRC.  The multiple WRC vice-champion said, “For me, it’s a huge pleasure to see my two brothers having fun here in my former cars.  These wonderful machines are usually kept in the garage, so it doesn’t do any harm if they are driven in a manner appropriate to their history here.  Besides, it’s completely stress-free on the demonstration stages, as it’s all about the fun and not the time.”

One of the many stories recounted by these rally stars came from Rauno Aaltonen.  He had won his home rally, The 1000 Lakes, in Finland in 1961 with a Mercedes 220 SE.  “That was my father’s road car with the production engine.  I built my own sump-guard, which was mounted to the car on rubber.  When landing after the many crests with a sump-guard fixed directly to the chassis, the driver always blacks out briefly due to the hard impact.  That was not the case with the rubber-mounted protection.  In addition, I always tried to land like a cat on one wheel and at a slight angle.  To do this, I adjusted the suspension and lost a little less time with each jump.  That’s how it was enough to win against all the Saabs.”

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