The 53rd running of the Rallye des Alpes, a FIVA Category A regularity rally for classic and historic cars, is moving from its traditional end-of-June date to one week later on July 3rd through 8th, 2011.
While the format of the Rallye des Alpes 2011 remains much the same as before, with five days of driving through three countries – Switzerland, Austria and Italy – to tackle some of the most famous Alpine roads and with nights spent in five star hotels, there are a couple of minor changes. Firstly, the start venue has moved some sixty kilometres further up the shores of Lac Leman from Geneva to Lausanne. The scrutineering of the cars and the competitor’s documentation will be centred on the Beau-Rivage Palace with its terrace giving fantastic views down the lake and away to Mont Blanc.
Secondly, the last two and half days of the rally will be in Italy with the backdrop of the Dolomites providing a stunning setting for the action. For Thursday and Friday nights, the rally will be based in the Grand Hotel Savoia in Cortina d’Ampezzo, perhaps the most beautiful of all Italian ski resorts.
Another new feature that is being rolled out for the first time is the opportunity for competitors to reduce the cost of entry by opting for a more modest class of hotel.
Raymond Gassmann, the man responsible for the revival of the Rallye des Alpes in the 1980s and its Event Director, said. “I am so pleased that we have been able to make a few changes that will make our event more attractive to competitors who, like me, love old cars and nice hotels. We get many lovely people who come and do our rally every year and, by injecting some variety into our format, this makes it as interesting for them as it is for new competitors sampling the wonders of the Alps for the first time.”
From the start in Lausanne, the Rallye des Alpes 2011 goes first to Zermatt with its pedestrian precincts and magnificent views of the Matterhorn from the chosen hotel, the Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, and then to an old favourite of this event, the Suvretta House & Resort in St Moritz. The end of the third day of rallying finds the crews in Austria at yet another fantastic hotel, the Klosterbrau in Seefeld. As its name suggests, it has its own brewery! And the final two days both finish in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The names of these places are enshrined in the history of the event since, during the 1950s, Cortina together with St Moritz and Innsbrück (Seefeld) frequently featured as staging posts on the original Rallye des Alpes.
All the traditional benefits of the classic Rallye des Alpes will be present in the latest edition in 2011. Robert Rorife has again devised a route that he promises will be a little more ‘sporty’ than last year but still easily completed by novices. The Rallye des Alpes’s unique ‘age coefficient’ is still applied to the regularity section penalties that gives older cars as good a chance of victory as the more agile modern ones. The rally also benefits once more from the services of skilled mechanics under the direction of Walter Kammermann who drive with the rally to lend aid to crews having trouble with their cars. And every morning, a dedicated baggage service spirits competitor’s luggage to the next hotel and places it in their room.
The Rallye des Alpes 2011 is open to cars manufactured from 1919 to 1971 inclusive, though the most modern cars from 1964 to 1971 run in a special category and may not win the rally outright. However, there are awards in all categories and there is the special thrill of everyone being able to compete for the much-prized Coupes des Alpes (Alpine Cups), trophies whose derivation goes right back to the original Alpine rallies held a hundred years ago.