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Salzburg June 1.-4. 2011

The first weekend of June saw the 9th edition of the annual Gaisbergrennen. After the original hillclimb in the 1930s-1960s the Salzburg Rallye Club revived the event as a regularity trial for historic cars back in 2003. In this short period the Gaisberg race established itself in the classic car calender and it is one of the few events that can proclaim an increasing quality over the last years. With so many other events challenging for the good cars and the steadily increasing values of the classics preventing owners to use them this is not a self-evidence.

This year saw several highlights including the 1901 Lohner Porsche. The electric driven car was stored for more than 104 years before being restored by Austrian restorer Egon Zweimüller for its owner, no less than Ferdinand Porsches grandson Ernst Piech who drove the car on the closed off town course on Thursday. The car was announced well in advance for its post restoration debut and drew much attention within the media, several television teams came to Salzburg to feature the car and its owner. Egon Zweimüller himself brought another star of the weekend, a Lancia D24. Together with the Ferrari 375 MM (0382AM) that was at the Villa d´Este just a few weeks ago the Lancia blasted around the short rectangle course in Salzburg but both cars were not seen the following days unfortunately. Although the cars were escorted by the police from the scrutineering in Schloß Hellbrunn to the Residenzplatz near the cathedral the slow speed was not to the taste of the very original racer from Maranello that is used to full speed at events like the 12 hours of Sebring the car took part in 1954. The general layout of the car and maybe a radiator with reduced flow due to deposits made the fan work constantly and therefore the battery was stressed to much, a problem that often appears on rallyes with those cars. So the 375 MM was replaced by a beautiful 275 GTB for the following two days and was missed at the “main event”, the drive up the hill.

But fans for Italian cars had enough other cars to admire, including a 500 Mondial (0536MD) and the 250 GT PF Berlinetta (0415GT) or a 250 Series 1 Cabriolet that was rebodied in time as a California Spider (0829GT). Maserati was represented by a 200 SI (2415), two Ghiblis and a 3500 GT Touring Coupé.

Porsche was represented by the factory and cars included a 718/8, a Carrera Abarth, two 550 Spyders, a 906 and even a 917-10.
The 177 cars had to come for the scrutineering in Schloß Hellbrunn on Thursday morning where they got their race numbers, a transponder and the drivers were briefed for the following event. As mentioned above the cars were escorted by the Police to the city center to be lined up at the Residenzplatz were speaker Walter Zisper introduced every car to the waiting public. The weather looked very much the same as last year and nobody knew whether it would rain or not. But fortunately it stayed dry all the afternoon much to the pleasure of the numerous visitors around the track. The cars started in small groups to do 5 laps in given time and as the cars were started time-displaced there was a steadily changing field on the road. The track is about 1.8 km long were two straights with a chicane each connect the two bridges over the Salzach. The day ended with the opening evening at the Zistelalm at the Gaisberg.
Friday is the day of the name giving hillclimb at the Gaisberg. The cars are divided in 2 parts with the first group doing their first two timed attempts in the morning when the other group is driving a rallye of about 150 km. In the afternoon the two groups change place and the second group has two attempts at the hill. Some of the cars are purely seen at the hill and drive up more than twice. These are mainly the race cars that do not care about regularity. With a given time of 10 minutes up the hill the average speed is at a moderate 50 km/h. To achieve this many cars stop in the middle at the parking of the Zistelalm to wait for the last miles up the hill. The more sportive drivers can be recognized by roaring past this parking to go up as fast as preferred, the fastest was a Porsche 911 with a time of less then 4:40 minutes and an average of 108 km/h.

The ones taking the regularity more serious fought for 1/100 s with Florian and Sibylle Kunz doing best in their Aston Martin DB4.
The third day starts in the morning at the nearby Salzburgring. After two laps to get used to the track the third lap is setting the time for the three following laps. The ring is not very difficult to drive with two main straights, a chicane and few corners but again it is a question of 1/100s rather than tenths.
After the race track the convoy is rolling to the Fuschlsee to take lunch at the Hotel Fuschl. This is a great location for the cars with the traditional architecture and the typical painted window shutters.

After lunch the last run up the hill was on the program with the winners ceremony at the famous Redbull Hangar-7 where Florian and Sybille Kunz were handed over their trophy as they kept on top of the timetable for all three days to win overall.

Last year was our first year to visit the Gaisberg as the event was at the same time as the International Bugatti Meeting in Salzburg. This year the Bugatti Meeting was held just the days after the Gaisbergrennen in Spain (we will report later on that) by the agency 2fast4you. They are also doing the Alfa Romeo 8C rallye in Sptember in Austia and now guess were this event will partly be based? Yes, at the Hotel Fuschl, so once again one can see that the world of classic cars is a small one.

Watch out for the dates of next years Gaisbergrennen, they will be published on the site of the Rallye Club Salzburg (www.src.co.at <http://www.src.co.at/>) as soon as they are fixed.

Text&Images: Peter Singhof
www.ClassicCarPhotography.de <http://www.ClassicCarPhotography.de/>