Recce Updates McKleins Rally Tips have now been updated after our rally recce. You will be able to find the latest insights highlighted, to give you the most up-to-date overview for this rally.
Variety is the spice of life on Rallye Deutschland. This is no ordinary asphalt rally particularly because it features a huge mix of different road contours and surfaces. There are the challenging vineyard stages of the Mosel valley on Friday, rough multi-surfaced – yet high speed – roads within the Baumholder military area on Saturday followed by a Sunday finale on smooth flowing asphalt in the Saarland countryside. Three distinct, yet totally different, characteristics in one rally.
2017 sees a lot of changes for Rallye Deutschland, almost half of the special stages are new and the Service Park has moved out of the historic town of Trier to the tranquil lakeside at Bostalsee. The scene here certainly wont be very quiet during the rally as fans can expect a festival atmosphere at Bostalsee with a wide array of entertainments and catering stands adding to the occasion. Theres a completely new look to Thursday, starting with a brand new Shakedown stage close to Bostalsee followed by the ceremonial start and opening Super-Special stage, both taking place in Saarbrücken city centre. Friday features an innovative new circuit style stage used three times in addition to two loops round two stages in the better-known Mosel vineyards. The Power Stage on Sunday will culminate with the cars driving directly onto the finish podium for the closing ceremony inside the Bostalsee Service Park.
Many thousands of fans travel to Rallye Deutschland by car, as its quite centrally located in mainland Europe. If you intend to fly in then you have options of Luxembourg, Frankfurt (Hahn & am Main) and even Cologne airports. Even with the huge crowds the traffic tends to flow quite well throughout the rally weekend, but its always advisable to arrive early at your chosen location. Be prepared for some steep uphill and downhill trekking within the vineyards of the Mosel valley and do take some waterproofs in case of rain. Food and drink is fairly easy to find in any of the villages and towns en-route, and if you do go to the Baumholder military area then theres an array of decent mobile catering outlets. If you have some spare time then a visit to any of the restaurants along the Mosel is well worth it, Trittenheim village being as good a choice as any.
Shakedown: Eiweiler, 4.09km
The 2017 Shakedown stage is a new one for Rallye Deutschland, however it was part of the Peterberg stage in previous editions of the rally.
The first half kilometre of this stage is gun-barrel straight and flat-out. It ends with a left-right-left chicane made from straw bales and its very tight. Its virtually guaranteed that somebody will hit these straw bales because the approach speed is so high. This could be worth watching.
The main point for spectators starts at the mid-point at km 2.3 and continues uphill for 600 metres. This section comprises of many corners with big cuts on open grassland, amid large, well-organised spectator zones. These zones have some crossing points to allow you to roam freely. The parking and access can be found at Eiweiler village.
SS1: Saarbrücken, 2.05km
There is little possibility to recce this new Super-special stage before the event. However as it is only 2km long, it should be pretty straightforward to arrive, have a quick look around and find the best vantage point for your individual taste.
SS2/5/8: Wadern-Weiskirchen, 9.27km
The major benefit of spectating on this stage is that you see the cars twice because it is actually two laps of a 4.6km circuit. It is also used three times in the day, opening options in your days plan for a visit. The best location for viewing is shortly after the start from km 0.3 through to km 1.1. The first bit sees the cars come into view over a crest, turn right then blast flat-out to another square left-hand junction. There is ample taped-off viewing areas and freedom to move around for different views. Further on at km 2.1 is a tricky left-hand junction under trees, beside a small shrine. The road here is full of mud, so if it is wet this will be very slippery. In each case the access is via the car parks close to Morscholz village.
SS3/6: Mittelmosel, 22.0km
If you wish to experience the Mosel Valley on this years Rallye Deutschland then this stage is your only real chance. This is a genuine vineyard stage and as such there are many, many corners. You need to find a safe vantage spot and these are all taped areas for safety reasons, but there will many of them. Our first recommendation would be to park in the parking area close to the town of Klüsserath and walk, first uphill and then east along the vineyard service road. This section offers the best Mosel river views and a big variety of corners; just pick the one that you like the most.
The downhill plunge from km 6.3-6.7 offers superb views of high-speed action on fast corners before the drivers brake very hard for a right-hand hairpin – all with a scenic view of the Mosel River. The best access is to walk uphill in the vineyards, from the far eastern side of Klüserath.
At km 8.6 is a well-known very fast, right-hand intersection. Its quite dangerous for the drivers because there is a dip in the road and several have crashed here in the past, including former F1 driver Robert Kubica.
Km 10.5 offers another good option. Here the drivers have to brake very hard for a tight uphill left-hand junction. Spectators can stand higher up on the vineyard edge and see how different drivers decide to tackle the hairpin; some will opt to flick the car around on the handbrake, whilst others will not. The access is easy too; at the western end of Klüserath you turn off the valley road, cross a small bridge and head into the vineyards.
SS4/7: Grafschaft, 18.35km
Grafschaft is another well know stage from previous years of Rallye Deutschland, this version of the stage was used as the Power Stage in 2014. The first 400 metres of the stage has plenty of great spots for viewing. Here the cars follow a narrow precipice, in vineyards above the Mosel river. There are plenty of places to stand on the banking above the cars and watch them hurtle below.
At km 1.9 is an exciting fast, left-hand corner followed immediately by compression and a fast uphill right-hand corner. You can stand on the banking and see everything. You can stand at the next corner (an uphill right) to see a bit more of the stage. Theres a plenty of organised parking here as its a spectator zone. You need to head for the village of Wintrich and consult a map for the nearest public car park to this location.
The last 500 metres of this stage has some decent options for both access and viewing. You can easily park close to the stage finish and then follow the marked walkways to one of two square corners, which the drivers aggressively cut on the inside to make them faster. These corners are on flat land, however you will be able to look up the steep slopes of a vineyard and watch the cars descend at high speed. You could position yourself at the Stop Control, from there you can see the last few corners of the vineyard section and youll be in prime position to see the expressions on the drivers as they remove their helmets at the stage end.
Food and drink:
Friday is the day to experience one of the many small wineries and quaint restaurants along the Mosel. The best town to head to is Trittenheim (close to the start of Mittelmosel) where there are many good choices to be found.
SS9/13/14: Arena Panzerplatte, 2.87km &
SS10/15: Panzerplatte, 41.97km
The sensible choice for spectating on Saturday is to head to the military training area at Baumholder where, if you stay for the whole day, you will see the cars in action five times. There is very little special advice to offer spectators, because this is a highly controlled area, all of which is off-limits except for the official spectator points. Access to the Panzerplatte is via shuttle buses from any of the main car parks. Once inside there are a few options for viewing areas, everything is well organised and fully signposted. Panzerplatte is a huge open expanse, one should feel free to wander around, within the obvious limitations.
Starting with the Panzerplatte Arena, there is a big hillside close to the start where most people congregate to watch the cars plunge downhill to a 90° left-hand corner. In fact many of the corners in this small stage are square 90° turns, which means theres not much to be gained by walking far. Instead you should position yourself close to the walking track signposted for the Gina Jump. After you have seen the top WRC cars on the Arena stage, you have time to walk to the Gina Jump, which is on the long Panzerplatte stage. There are marshalled crossing points to help you get there, which you absolutely must use.
One alternative viewing location on the Panzerplatte (long version) is slightly to the North of the Arena (signposted Platte Nord) where you will find a configuration of tight turns around straw-bale chicanes.
SS11/16: Frisen, 14.78km
If a day in the military area is not for you, then Frisen does offer some good alternatives, in a completely different setting. Shortly after the start at km 0.7 – 1.5 are three decent corners in wide-open cornfields where the rally cars take big cuts. You can position yourself to see more than one of these corners and compare the different styles and lines that the drivers take. There is some parking in the fields just after this location; you just have to walk back towards the start to find them.
At km 10.6 is a really interesting place, where the stage crosses a main road (L123) alongside a motorway. You can view a sequence of corners; first a tight left-hand hairpin, then youll see the cars accelerating whilst turning right before braking hard for a tight right-hand corner. The access is really straightforward; you take the L123 from either the East or West and park as close as you can to the junction.
SS12/17: Römerstrasse, 12.28km
This new Saarland stage is super-fast and, for the majority, run in completely open landscape. The first good spectating point comes at km 1.5. Here there is a 500 metre section comprising of a fast left, followed by three flowing fast right-hand corners. The spectator zones are all controlled taped-off areas, set well back from the road. The best location however is a section from km 5.0-5.7. It starts on a steep descent with the cars at full speed, into a tricky right hand corner, followed by two big cuts (right, then left) where the cars will commit fully to the grass on the inside. At km 5.7 there is a crest where the cars join a wider road at high speed, this could see some dynamic movement. There is easy access to this location (Parking P4), 500 metres from the junction.
Food and drink:
If you are in the Baumholder military area then you are kind of stuck there and must rely on the many of the mobile catering units selling the usual fare (the German bratwurst is definitely worth trying). Outside of Baumholder there is the town of St Wendel (between Frisen and Römerstrasse) where you can find everything from sit-down restaurants to fast food outlets.
SS18/20: Losheim am See, 13.02km
In truth this stage is quite poor for spectators, its more-or-less all flat-out straights linking square T-junctions on narrow asphalt. The one and only place we would recommend is at km 1.7, where you can watch the stage in wide-open scenery through a wind farm. At this point theres a square right-hand corner with gravel on the inside. On the exit of the corner is a wide expanse of grass, which is where the cars will end up if they get the corner speed fractionally too high. If its wet, then this will be quite slippery. Access is straightforward, approaching the stage from the South off road L156.
SS19/21 (Power Stage): St Wendler Land, 12.95km
The first decent location on the stage is at km 0.9. This is a mega fast approach to a narrow square left-hand junction in completely open scenery. There could be some locked wheels under braking as the drivers scrabble to scrub off speed for the corner. Without doubt the best bits of this stage are close to the finish. There are two proper jumps quite close to each other. The first comes 750 metres before the finish and is on a relatively narrow road, the second however, is on a massive wide crossroads. Here the cars will still be accelerating when they arrive at the intersection and, with the finish in sight, theres no way theyll be taking it easy.