German Rally

General Classification :

1st : G. Klass/R. Wutherich (Porsche 911) 2,260.3 marks
2nd: A. Cavallari/D. Salvay (Alfa Romeo GTA) 2,525.9 “
3rd : J. Springer/D. Schey (B.M.W. 2000 Ti) 2,700.6 “
4th : S. Zasada/K. Osinski (Steyr-Puch 650 TR) ?
5th : K. Panowitz/R. Strunz (N.S.U. Wankel Spider) 3,028.4 “

Team Prize: Jolly Club of Milano (Alfa Romeo).

DO you notice anything strange or out of place about the way all we have only given the first five overall placings instead we have presented the General Classification? Well, first of of as usual the first ten and secondly we cannot give a total of points for Zasada. The reason, well, it all arises from the basic dislike of rallying that the authorities have in Germany, so, let us have a little closer look at the situation.

Thirteen countries in Europe each provide one major international rally counting towards the European Rally Championship, and one would tend to think that a particular country’s rally would be held within its own boundaries. However because of the unfavourable road conditions that exist in some countries, i.e., too heavily built up or overloaded with traffic, the organisers have no choice but to go further afield in their route planning. So it is that the Geneva Rally (the Swiss contribution) is held mainly over French Alpine roads, the Austrian Alpine runs into Jugoslavia and the German Rally started in Italy.

The Germans are as badly off as the Swiss for in both lands the police allow certain short sections of public highway to be closed for special test purposes, but do not allow a set route to be laid out between these tests. However, this places certain possibilities into the hands of the organisers, for they now can trace the shortest route across country following little tracks and byroads, the distance thus obtained is set at the stipulated 50 k.p.h. average and a time from A to B is established. The rally crews cannot afford to spend time searching for these tiny roads and so to avoid time penalty take the longer more main highways, and as intended is what happened on the German Rally. During the second night one such section given as 250 kilometres became any distance from 300 to nearly 500 depending on the co-pilot’s choice of route. Naturally enough as crews found themselves running out of time this developed into a road race—the very fatal thing which should be avoided at all costs. Cars were seen hurtling down village streets, going over pavements, jumping traffic lights, in fact all the very things which give the opposers of rallying poison for their pens.

The police were out in force and some eight competitors were apprehended and the Germans amongst these were reported for their offences to be considered for prosecution.

To return to the beginning of our story then. One of the captured “lunatics” was Raschig in his Saab 96S, and two of the relevant factors are that Raschig was in the same class as Zasada and is also currently well placed in the German National Rally Championship for which this event was a qualifying round. Instead of excluding the crew immediately the Automobileklub von Deutschland have decided that Raschig’s appeal should be heard first, and he will only be excluded if actually convicted. This explains why the results only go down to fifth place, for Raschig —who incidentally drove the Saab with quite convincing verve— would have finished sixth overall.

Why hasn’t Zasada got any marks shown? Here again it is because Raschig was in the same class as the Polish Steyr-Puch driver and he managed to beat Zasada on one of the seven tests which were marked on a class improvement basis. On these tests the fastest in each class scores zero, the second place man incurs the same number of marks as the number of seconds he is slower, and so on; but, if the fastest man does not finish the second fastest will score zero marks in the final totting-up. Therefore if Raschig is convicted, and excluded Zasada’s final total will be different. The feeling among competitors at the end of the rally was that anybody apprehended should be excluded so as not to leave the present position of another unclarified result.

The first three places were in no doubt though, and Porsche collected their first European Rally Championship win for some years, and it was fitting that it should be on home ground. Quite frankly though it would have been surprising to see anyone else win as the rally was tailor-made for a Porsche. The three tests in Italy were loose and of forestry nature, the two tests in Austria were hill-climbs—one up the very steep Gross Glockner Toll Road, while the twelve tests in Germany were mainly flat out blinds over quite short closed main roads. The two tests which made the event for Porsche were the ten laps of the new Mercedes-Benz Motodrome at Hockenheim and the eight laps of the northern section of the Nurburgring. Here nothing could stay with the flying Klass, and since the tests comprised nearly eighty per cent of the test mileage—victor he became! Perhaps this event will be renamed the “Mini-Marathon” next year (the old Marathon de la Route or “Lieg ” now spends 84 hours touring the “Ring”).

Talking of Minis, both the works 1275 Cooper Ss of Paddy Hopkirk/Chris Nash and Tony Fall/Henry Liddon demised at the Motodrome on consecutive laps. Both cars were losing oil by spraying it out of the breather. Hopkirk’s bearings went and Fall’s pistons melted, and still on the subject of bearings, the Ford Lotus Cortina of Vic Elford/John Davenport ran its bearings on a brand new engine some time half way through the rally. This left no contest for Klass and enabled the Italian crew Cavallari and Salvay to get into second place.

In 1965 Paddy Hopkirk wrote and said some strong criticism of this event, for that he had to apologise to the organisers before being allowed to enter, and although the 1966 event was much better there is still space for more improvement.