While there’s not denying that the most prolific era in the history of rally has been the Group B times, it is unfair to say that it was any less exciting before or after these times. In fact, the rest of the decades that preceded and succeeded the era of monstrous machines with a potential of producing limitless power was a time where the playing field was more levelled, only to be dominated by the best combination of machine and human talent.
This year’s Eifel Rallye Festival was its usual motoring spectacle on loose soil. However, this year’s participation of 160 rally cars spanned ensured that the machinery came from six decades of the sport. Here, one could find everything from the 1.0-litre, three cylinder, two stroke Wartburg 353 from the sixties to the flame spitting, anti-lag spooling Group B cars of the 80s with the likes of the Peugeot 205 T16 – the 1985 and 1986 World Rally Championship winner and the ill-fated Ford RS200, that barely took off before the Group B rally rules were abolished.
Over the three days during which the Eifel Rallye Festival was laid out on the second last weekend of July, spectators flocked in thousands to watch these classic rally cars in action over the eight set demonstration stages that spanned a distance of 120km. They could even get up close and personal with the cars and their drivers at the Rallye Mile in Duan, Germany. Here, for the newer rallye fans, Hyundai WRC driver Thierry Neuville showcased his skills behind the wheel of his Hyundai i20 WRC car. Thierry Neuville had made a stop over at Daun, the epicentre of the Eifel Rallye Festival before heading off to the next WRC round in Finland.
Video: Eifel Rallye Festival 2017 Highlights by zeroundersteer
For the mature rally-goers, this year’s Eifel Rallye Festival was once again visited by rally legend Hannu Mikkola. Mikkola’s rally career spanned over 3 decades out of the six decades that the 2017 Eifel Rallye Festival highlighted. During this time, the Finnish rally driver took the World Rally Champion crown in 1983 with the help of the legendary Audi Sport Quattro A1/A2, while taking seven victories at the 1000 Lakes Rally.