Slowly Sideways

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Eifel Historic Ralleyparty, Deutschland Rally
Towering performance at Eifel party

Two German events give all-action entertainment with a range of important rally cars

This year’s get-together of Reinhard Klein’s Slowly Sideways group at the Eifel Rally (July 28-29) was the best-attended ever. And it boasted the best array of ex-works rally cars, old rally cars and faithful replicas all ready to show their ‘sideways’ skills on real rally stages. To help things along, Walter Rad was in attendance doing some filming for a TV programme and took time to sample some of the cars. He drove the Audi Quattro Si owned by Garry Midwinter on the Friday night stage and while the owner was suitably impressed by Riihrl’s handling of the car, the ex-World Champion was equally impressed by the car which he thought “was even better than the ones I drove in 1985”.

For the first time, the group had all three of its Lancia 037s out with Armin Schwarz thrilling the crowds with his example until a driveshaft broke, while Dave Kedward’s ex-Safari 037 was pulled-up when the differential grumbled and a tooth was found hiding above the drain plug.

The great success of the group is its ability to inspire people to preserve and maintain old rally cars of all ages. At the Eifel, for instance, cars ranged from an early 1960s Ford Anglia and a Saab 96 850 through Group 2 and Group 4 cars to Group B and early Group A cars. Among the latter was Mark Sharrat with his ex-Carlos Sainz Toyota Celica 4WD purchased from a Russian website. Sadly the turbo failed but he found a ready market for his 105 octane fuel as Australian Jeremy Browne in an ex-works Lancia Fulvia HF was finding the local Super not up to the job of running his 1600cc V4.

With French, Dutch, British, German, Belgian, Swiss, New Zealand and, yes, Australian participants, there was a very international flavour to the weekend, enhanced by the additional presence of Bjorn Waldegård, who tried several of the cars including one of his ex-Safari Porsches.

Less than two weeks later, a smaller group of Slowly Sideways members were performing on the WRC Deutschland Rally where 30 of them ran on 10 stages between the two WRC runs. With no 037s, Lancia honour was upheld by Fred Walter in his Alitalia Stratos with John Davenport having his first ride in the multiple WRC-winning car of the Seventies.

The British contingent headed by the ex-Simo Lampinen TR7 V8 of Steve Rockingham and the ex-David Llewellin Audi Quattro of David Preece had a good run, despite some last moment gear selection problems for the Audi. Most of the old cars took it relatively easy at the famous ‘Gina’ jump on Panzerplatte but Klaus Stocker’s ex-Warmbold BMW 2002 TI landed heavily and 10 kilometres later the differential parted company with the body. But he was back with a new one fitted for the following day…

For the old cars and the spectators, the highlight of the Deutschland is the spectator stage at St Wendel. The WRC cars only get two laps — the geriatrics get four. Leon Meijers put old tyres on the back of his Anglia and entertained with some lurid slides on this city-centre stage. But the most bizarre occurrence was when the Audi E2 of Wolf-Dieter Ihle was passing the Trabant 601 RS of Mike Golle. The Audi’s waste-gate clanged shut on the overrun and, in typical E2 fashion, it backfired spectacularly. This was sufficient to shatter the windscreen of the Trabant.

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