Mercedes Benz Classic had entered a beautiful SSK with former F1 driver and Le Mans winner Jochen Mass at the wheel...
Being already in its fourth edition, the ZOUTE RALLY® brought not less than 165 classic and thorougbred cars at the starting line. Again a unique and beautiful spectacle of men, women and machines battling it out on the picturesque polder roads in the West and East Flanders coast region. The ZOUTE RALLY® was held on Friday and Saturday October 11 and 12, and the cars had to cover some 250 kilometers each day.
The actual parcours was of course held secret, and was only given to the participants at the start of the event. The ZOUTE RALLY® with timed stages was actually reserved for about 100 classic cars. It also included this year a novelty, the FLYING 1/4 MILE®, held on Friday in Heist and Saturday in Ostend respectively.
A non-timed tour was reserved for fifty-odd oldtimers, who just performed a tour following a roadbook. Their parcours was somewhat shorter, actually some 150 kilometers.
Driving a 1947 Cisitalia, which had participated in the 1947 Mille Miglia with the team Minetti-Facetti, the two ladies Sabine Goethals and Sylvie de Meulenere are smiling at the start of the ZOUTE RALLY®.
As the photos amply show, it proved again to be a very pictureque event. But not only the amateurs of classic cars in action were spoiled, the public could also admire exclusive cars exhibited in the ZOUTE TOP MARQUES® event. Indeed, 13 stages with the latest models of 13 noble premium marques were to be admired on the Knokke Zeedijk, Albertplein and Kustlaan. There were also a few "firsts" , like two Alfa Romeo 4C's, which were displayed on the Kustlaan. One was in Competizione Red and the other in Madreperla (or Mother of Pearl) White...and these were the first 4C Alfa's to be seen on our Belgian streets. Just look at the photos...
The thoroughbred Alfa 4C made in Knokke its debut on our Belgian streets...
BMW showed its new series 4 Coupé (see photo below) and an impressive M6 Gran Coupé, painted in a matte pearl white livery.
BMW Belgium had also entered a beautiful and mint 507, built in 1957 and driven by the two athletic champions and brothers Kevin en Jonathan Borlée. Kevin teamed up with BMW Group Belux CEO Peter Kronschnabl on Friday, and his brother Jonathan did the same on Saturday.
We just show here the car in action at speed on the FLYING 1/4 MILE® in Heist, and it is a rare car indeed: between 1956 and 1959, only 252 cars were built.
A man and his car: Jochen Mass starts up the SSK, gently touching with the bottom of his hand the lever of the ignition advance...
Mercedes Benz CLASSIC had entered a stunning and pristine SSK driven by Jochen Mass. I had met Jochen at the Paul Pietsch Rally, when we were both members of the Mercedes Benz CLASSIC team, and I met him again at the celebration of 60 years SL in Marbella, which was also a very memorable meeting which ended up with Jochen and other colleagues in the small morning hours in the hotel bar and lobby...
In the FLYING 1/4 MILE®, some very rare cars were seen, like this 1936 Wanderer 25 K entered by Michel Vandenbroeck and Pietro Avanzini.
Needless to say I am very grateful to Christophe Vloebergh, Press Relations Manager MB Cars and Erik Van den Heuvel, Director Press & Corporate Communication, to arrange an interview for me with Jochen Mass at the start of the ZOUTE RALLY®, which you also read further in these columns...
Hans Knol ten Bensel
The very SSK which MB CLASSIC had entered is a formidable car indeed. The car was acquired by MC CLASSIC in 1990, and the car was totally rebuilt in the following two years, based on the factory drawings of chassis and body.
The car is one of the most powerful and reliable SSKs, and therefore it has been entered by MB CLASSIC during the last 20 years more than 100 times in numerous events.
The car also participated 10 times in the Mille Miglia, in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and last but not least this year's edition.
The ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® concluded on Sunday October 13 with the ZOUTE GT TOUR®, where around 100 exclusive and modern GT cars could be admired. The bolides started off at the Kortrijk-Wevelgem Airport and arrived around noon in Knokke Heist.
On Sunday, the ZOUTE CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE® was held at the Fairway 1 of the Royal Zoute Golf Club. Cars were divided into pre- and post war categories.
The FLYING 1/4 MILE® in Heist proved to be a succesful novelty to the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® .
Suffice to say that on Friday, in the VIP-tent on the Albertplein in Knokke, a ZOUTE SALE® was held by Bonhams 1793.
One of the remarkeable cars for sale at the Bonhams auction was this 1949 Austin A125 Sheerline Cabriolet. This truly massive car had truly unique coachwork by Vesters & Neirinck of Brussels . The car was sold for €24,150 inc. premium.
One can understand that for car lovers all over the world, the ZOUTE GRAND PRIX® is a unique event, impressive in the variety of activities it has to offer. We would here also like to congratulate the organisers for the impeccable organisation,
The organisation of the event was absolutely impeccable...
not only for the public, but also for the press. Indeed, we received all the information we could think of, where timely transported by continuous shuttle services to the viewpoints and the respective venues, and last but not least, catering was excellent.
Needless to say we already look forward to next year's edition!
Hans Knol ten Bensel