In our third and final look at the 2023 Eifel Rallye Festival, we take a look at the final stages of action.
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Winners even without best times
One of the secrets of the Eifel Rally Festival’s success is its lack of timekeeping on the stages. Nevertheless, winners are always crowned at the grand finale on Saturday evening. Only this is done according to very different criteria, which nevertheless caused many surprises and happy faces. The prize for the best original vehicle went to Robert Whitehouse with his Lancia Rallye 037, which had been Fabrizio Tabaton’s car at the 1984 Sanremo Rally.
This vehicle, which is now very valuable, is mostly only to be seen in a museum. The prize was presented by Yvonne Mehta, who had also navigated Whitehouse through the Eifel. The ‘Champion’s Choice’, the choice of the VIPs present, fell on the beautiful Lancia Delta S4 of Rolf Wyss and Oswald Backes. The prize was presented by World Champion Stig Blomqvist. The ‘Best replication’ prize was awarded to the Belgians Adalbert Engler / Eva Smets for their Ford Mustang by rally professor Rauno Aaltonen. For the first time, the ‘Sideways Star’ for the ‘most sideways’ competitor did not go to a team from the advance car squad.
In a close decision between many contenders, the jury chose Yannik Neuville and co-driver Joshua Sonnet, who had driven the Ford Fiesta WRC in an impressive manner. The prize was presented by acknowledged drift expert Niki Schelle. The most beautiful vehicle of the 2023 Festival edition was the very rare Opel GT of Josef and Monika Schöderle from the 1973 German Rally Championship.
The prize was presented by two-time DRM champion Harald Demuth. A special prize was awarded to Team Portugal. The four crews had brought their cars to the Eifel all together on a single car transporter. Led by 1995 Group N World Champion Rui Madeira in the Mitsubishi Lancer were Paolo Pimentel Torres (Datsun 160 J), Carlos Pinho (Ford Escort RS Cosworth) and Victor Lopes in the Citroën CX. They received their prizes of honour from the hands of Kenyan Safari legend Mike Kirkland.
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Photos By Sam Tickell
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