After partaking of the hotel’s fine breakfast buffet, we headed out to Ruwertal, the very first stage of the rally, with a start time of 10:13 a.m. We arrived with plenty of time to park in a huge grassy field and hiked about ten minutes to the first viewing area, which consisted of a short straightaway, a sharp right turn, and a lefthand hairpin. We staked out a decent position just above the hairpin, but were a bit disappointed because the best angle for photos was on the lower side of the bend, which was off-limits to spectators. (As always, I was immensely jealous of the press photographers, who get all the best shooting angles.) While we waited for the stage to start I took a hike through the woods to the next viewing area, another hairpin bend heavily shaded by trees. It was a dramatic turn but it was already pretty thickly staked out by spectators and I was worried about the low light conditions for photography, so we ended up sticking with our original position. All of the WRC cars and most of the Super 1600s made it through smoothly but some of the Evos and Subarus made some dramatic slides.
Here are photos from Ruwertal:
We grabbed some sausages and Cokes for lunch and then headed to the second running of the Schönes Moselland stage, which, as its name suggest (schön means “beautiful”), is set on a dramatic vineyard-covered hillside overlooking the town of
There were no big mistakes by the WRC cars at our turn, although Petter Solberg deposited some large chunks of rubber on the road as his already-damaged Subaru came screaming around the bend. A guy ran out and snatched up a hunk of the rubber – to take home as a souvenir?!? There were a lot of naughty spectators here who kept trying to sneak up the road between the vineyard rows, and I could swear that I saw several of them trying to touch the cars as they went by. (This is no laughing matter – one of the motivating factors for the establishment of controlled spectator zones in the last decade was that several fans lost fingers while trying to touch the cars, and more than one spectator has been run over.) The course marshals do their best to look for wayward fans and keep them behind the fences. One of the marshals was wearing a floppy straw hat and everyone jeered at him when his hat blew off and he had to walk out onto the course to retrieve it. We didn’t stick around to watch all of the independent-class cars because we wanted to get back to
Here are photos from Schönes Moselland:
We drove back to
Here are photos from Parc Fermé: