O even though it only took place for the fourth time this year, Schloss Bensberg Classics has long gained an important place in the international classic car calendar. On a weekend in August, almost 90 old and youngtimers roamed with their owners in the Bergisches Land east of Cologne and its castle parks between Bensberg and Lerbach, where they line up in front of a dream backdrop at lunchtime.
For some participants The 190 kilometers of the rally on Saturday is just a slight warm-up, because the real highlight of the event is always the Concours dElégance on the following day. As absolute newbies, Lothar Beier and Jürgen Hördt did not have too high expectations of their placement with their Porsche 356 Carrera 2 from the collection of ex-racing driver Reinhold Joest, but the two ex-racing mechanics and their finely restored oldie also had to face an Alfa at the Concours Romeo Giulietta give Sprint Zagato defeat.
Watch the award ceremony relaxed from your deck chair
It made a big splash in Bensberg : First the duo of Oliver Philip Kreyden and Alec Schärrer drove him to eighth place overall in the rally, then they personally received a trophy for their car in the 'Aesthetes of acceleration /post-war sports car' from the current head of design forge Andrea Zagato. In addition to two other designers - Fabrizio Giugiaro and Stefan Sielaff - the jury included Christian Philippsen, Wim Oude Weernink, Jürgen Lewandowski, Franz-Josef Paefgen, Jacky Ickx and the author.
Those who only took part in the rally could Watch the award ceremony on Sunday from a lounge chair and watch the winners of the Concours stroll past you. In the front row sat actor Erol Sander and his colleagues Herbert Knaup, Jürgen Prochnow and Helmut Zierl, plus TV greats such as RTL front man Wolfram Kons. The moderator of the charity marathon drove together with racing legend Jacky Ickx - and flattest at the finish: 'The organizer must have asked himself: How can we stop Ickx from winning here? Give him Wolfram Kons - and it will work.' With 21st place, the duo landed in the front midfield.
Hans-Joachim Stuck had more plans for the Bensberg Rally. He drove a Porsche 356 hardtop coupé and confessed that he had meanwhile made 'great fun' in classic car rallies. Negotiated during lunch breakStriezel, as his friends call him, already has a start at the next Mille Miglia in 2013. 'I'm really hooked,' said the long Bavarian, who thanked the audience for the applause with a yodel. His declared goal for the 2013 Mille Miglia: 'A place in the top 50.'
In Bensberg, Stuck came in fifth - and was congratulated by his Porsche racing colleagues from earlier times. Because while he was successful with the 956 and 962 in the eighties, the quintet has made the Zuffenhausen-based company famous and racing success since the fifties: Hans Herrmann, Le Mans winner in the 917, Herbert Linge, his co-driver at the Mille Miglia in the 550 Spyder, Kurt Ahrens, who achieved the first victory for the 917, Willi Kauhsen and Jochen Neerpasch.
Hans Herrmann tells of triumphs and horrors
They told of their triumphs and horrors. Hans Herrmann, for example, from the Mille Miglia, when he came full throttle around a fast left and suddenly found himself confronted with a railway barrier: 'Braking was no longer possible, so I hit Herbert on the crash helmet. And then we are under the closing one Barrier rushed through. '
The time when the later winning car was still' inoperable 'was also well remembered. Kurt Ahrens recalled: 'I was allowed to drive the 917 first. Herr Piëch wanted it that way.' And Kauhsen explained: 'We didn't have a physiotherapist back then. Mr. Piëch told us where to go.' And: 'Ms. Piëch cooked for us.' The fact that Ahrens got bad after two laps in the 917 on the Nürburgring was probably not due to the adventurous driving behavior of the racing car, but to the 'fried eggs that Ms. Piëch had made for me'.
And there were Surprises: Willi Kauhsen and Gérard Larrousse won the so-called index valuation at Le Mans in 1970, 'which was worth much more than the overall victory', as the overall runner-up remembers. 'Suddenly we had a check for 300,000 francs in our hands,' says Kauhsen. 'So we went to the bank the next morning. But they didn't have that much there. When we finally got our money, Gérard and I shared on the plane - unshaven, with all the money. The stewardess was so shocked when she came with us saw the many bills that she no longer served us. She thought we were bank robbers. '
It didn't work in Bensberg about the big prize money
In Bensberg it wasn't about the big prize money, but about automobiles that are now being traded for millions. For example the Jaguar E-Type Lightweight, in which Peter Lindner had a fatal accident in Montlhéry in 1964. In the meantime, the wreck has been rebuilt so true to the original that it received the special award for the car in the best restored condition.
Or a Mercedes 300 Sc Roadster:Not only did it win the 'Kings of Comfort /Post-War Luxury Cars' category, it also received the special audience award. No wonder that the classic is now 'traded for one million euros', as restorer Klaus Kienle revealed. The special award in honor of the ex-racing driver and Motor Presse founder Paul Pietsch, who recently died at the age of 100, for the 'Most Important Sports Car' went to a Ferrari 250 GTO.
Memories of the beginning of his career were awakened when VW head of development Ulrich Hackenberg started his Bugatti 35 T from 1926, with which Pietsch won his first races. Especially by today's standards, it is not an easy-to-drive car, if only because there is no space for normal shoes in the footwell. The start-up procedure also demands connoisseurship and concentration: on the fuel tap, build up the fuel pressure by hand, set the ignition to early, flood the carburetor, idle up, and turn on the ignition. But that's not all, because then you need a strong, intrepid man at the front of the crank. But when the eight-cylinder starts up, it's still good for top positions. Hackenberg even won two special tests with his wife Thresia and secured class victory.
The overall victory also stayed in the group. As is so often the case, the multiple German rally champions Matthias Kahle and Peter Göbel in the Skoda 130 RS were the first to celebrate. It was the most successful, but not the most beautiful Skoda in the field. The piloted press spokesman Peik von bestebostel with his wife: a Popular Monte Carlo 909 from 1937.