17th Lyons-Charbonniéres/Stuttgart-Solitude Rally

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Most of the F.I.A.’s International rally calendar is filled by events which take place in France, Germany and Italy and in addition to the big events like the Monte, the Alpine and the Liége, there are a whole host of smaller internationals which give the private owner a chance to mix with a selection of the top class drivers. One such rally is the clumsily titled Lyons-Charbonniéres/Stuttgart-Solitude which is run jointly by the Stuttgart branch of the Automobil Club von Deutschland and the Automobile Club du Rhône. As one might guess from the title, it is an amalgamation of two previously separate events, which have been run in conjunction for the past three years.

The 1964 event saw an outstanding win for René Trautmann who was appearing for the second time only at the wheel of a Lancia Flavin. The current French rally champion, Trautmann has previously driven exclusively for the French firm of Citroën and in fact his last appearance for them was on the recent Monte Carlo rally. For some reason or other—neither Citroën team manager, René Cotton, nor Trautmann have given a reason for their parting—Trautmann is now driving exclusively for Lancia who run their unofficial works team under the name of Squadra Corse. He has been joined there by Claudine Bouchet who, like Trautmann, hails from Grenoble, was driving for Citroën and won the Ladies championship of France for them last year.

The rally was decided on the results of seven speed tests, two of which were in Germany and the other five were in France. The opening test and location of the start was the Solitude racing circuit outside Stuttgart and here each car had to complete eight flying laps of the circuit. Something, somewhere, had gone astray with the organisers idea of an index to put the cars on an equal footing for they had combined two systems and come up with one having the evils of both and the advantages of neither. Each class had a different time allowed for the eight laps and if a car went quicker than the time allotted, it was awarded that time. This is quite a standard way of running such a speed test and penalty marks are usually awarded for however many seconds a car is slower than the time allotted for its class. In that case, each car that achieved its set time would be penalty free, but what these organisers did was to calculate the number of seconds taken for the eight laps (using the allotted time if that was greater) and then multiply them by the factor which was to be used on the other tests.

This curious system led to three Glas Isars leading the rally after the circuit test as their time allotted multiplied by their factor gave the smallest answer. The worst hit class was that of the Group II Cooper Ss and D.K.W.s, which, despite achieving their set time on the circuit, lay 44th overall after the circuit racing. In this class was Brian Culcheth in a newly acquired Cooper S who bitterly regretted having chosen to run as a Group II car, for this unfavourable formula caused him to finish 35th overall when, had he gone Group I, he would have finished third overall. Even worse hit were the GT cars, which were really priced out of a winning market by their hill-climb factor. Gunter Klass, who had made a good impression on the Monte Carlo this year, set fastest time on every test (except the Col du Rousset, where his gear-lever broke) in his Porsche Carrera, and yet he would not have been able to win the rally even if his time had not been ruined on the Rousset. The GT category was eventually won by René Richard in Phillipe de Montaigu’s Lotus Elan, which was 22nd overall!

Anyway, the rally was a pleasant run on the whole and gave a very popular win to René Trautmann and his new mount.—J. D. F. D.