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Kitzbuehel, 25.-28.05.2011

This year's Alpenrallye was held in its 24th edition in the last week in May around Kitzbuehel. 207 classics and their crew found their way to Austria to enjoy 3 days of driving around the famous winter sports domicile. The scrutineering was on Wednesday and Thursday morning on the car park of the Hahnenkamm, place of the famous ski downhill. Chassis Numbers and registration were checked in beautiful sunshine but the forecast already predicted the forthcoming bad weather of the next days. With a long hot and dry period over Europe that was also visible at the Mille Miglia a few weeks earlier with the absence of snow on the Monte Terminillo it was just a question of time when this would come to an end and the change in the weather comes usually fast in the mountains.

The cars ranged from an early Rolls Royce Phantom I, a pair of Lagondas and Bentley, three Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 to youngtimers like the BMW M1 or the first Lamborghini Countach. The Rolls Royce was driven all the way from Monaco just to fail in Kitzbuehel and one could get the impression that he did not want to become wet. Two Ferrari 250 GT Lussos and a 275 GTB took the 470 km of the next days under their wheels, an additional Daytona Spider was present but not seen on the road. VW as one of the sponsors had a couple of rarities from their Zeithaus with them including Beetles, Karmann Ghias, a very popular T1 Samba and a rare Puma GTS and a SP2. Being part of the VW classic program now Porsche entered a 550 Spider and two Carrera GTs.

In the afternoon the first leg was held on 60 km with the start in nearby Kirchberg. The crews were sent on their way with a 30 seconds time difference, among them several “celebrities” as every year with Hansi Hinterseer (TV host and musician) on his debut, actors Andrea Sawatzki and Herbert Knaup, German football world champion Paul Breitner or more familiar to the classic car world Strietzel Stuck in a yellow Porsche 914/6. Being a regularity event they had to challenge several time trials and checks along the road and as some of them were on the open road the waiting classic cars in front of the checkpoint caused some irritations for the regular road-users. Most of the cars came home dry that day but the last ones already saw some rain drops on the way back to Kitzbuehel.

What looked like a shower after a hot day in the evening should become a continuous rain on Friday. The first cars left Kitzbuehel at 7 am in the rain with their hood up and they should not have many opportunities to take it down again in the next 2 days. Usually convertibles are preferable on such events but this time many crews could be happy with their hardtop, those who not even had a soft top had to be sorely afflicted. But even the closed cars had to fight with steamed up windscreens making the time trials more difficult due to limited visibility. But not just the pressure tubes on the road were difficult to see but also the panorama of the Alps as the mountains lay in the clouds most of the day. After just a few dry spots on the 275 km the day ended with heavy rain again.

The Saturday with the final loop of 135 km to the Walchsee (therefore called the Lake-loop) started under the same conditions as the day before but weather improved over the day and in the late morning the sun was out again for the last miles. After a lunch break the cars were lined up in Kitzbuehel for the final parade through the city where they were admired by the crowds.

The event ended with the prize giving in several categories with Dr.Horst Keil and navigator Thomas Linhardt on Mercedes-Benz 300 SL becoming overall winner in their 10th attempt to win this rally.

Next year will see a jubilee with the 25th edition of this classic and one can hope that the weather will honour this as well so that the participants can see along the road what is essential for a rally in the Alps: the mountains....

Text&images: Peter Singhof