Munich – Its organisers describe the Allgäu-Orient Rally as “one of the world’s last remaining automotive adventures”. The vehicles gathered for the eighth edition of this low-budget rally – which doubles as a fundraising event with a difference – will set off from Oberstaufen, Germany on Saturday, 27 April 2013. This unconventional competition for traditional and more recent classics will take in the Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara as well as the Israeli port of Haifa en route to the Jordanian desert near Aqaba. Setting this rally apart – in addition to its exotic itinerary – is the absence of a return leg. Indeed, once they cross the finish line the vehicles will be auctioned, with the proceeds going to local charitable causes. This year is the first time that BMW, MINI and BMW Group Classic are all registered as partners of the event, which will boast a line-up of nearly 250 entrants, including 41 BMW 3 Series, 5 Series and 7 Series cars. Accompanying the participants will be the organising committee’s MINI Cooper, which will be presented to a mobile midwifery service in Jordan when it reaches its destination.
This is the fourth time that BMW Group Classic has signed up as a partner of the Allgäu-Orient Rally. And, for the first time this year, BMW will be joined by MINI as a partner of the event. In 2012, five classic Minis made it to the finish line of this demanding expedition, and this time round a red MINI Cooper will have members of the organising committee on board. The model year 2003 car – which has already clocked up 180,000 kilometres (approx. 110,000 miles) – is the event’s youngest entrant. It has been meticulously prepared and is now in fine technical fettle to soak up not only everything the rally distance can throw at it, but also as many miles as possible in its subsequent life in service of a charitable organisation. The MINI will soon be added to the fleet of vehicles run by a midwifery service in Jordan whose employees often have to cover long distances to care for women in sparsely populated areas and locations far away from the hospitals of towns and cities.
The MINI Cooper is the exception to the Allgäu-Orient Rally rule stipulating that vehicles must be at least 20 years old. All the vehicles must also be left behind at the destination once the event is over. To this end, the organisers have come to a special arrangement with the Jordanian royal family; since the proceeds from the sale of vehicle parts will be donated to social aid projects in the country, the usual import regulations for old cars will be relaxed.
Though now somewhat long in the tooth, the starting field of recent classics still have plenty of miles left in them. All will have been purchased by the teams for no more than the maximum €1,111.11 set out in the rally regulations and prepared with plenty of elbow grease for their final active adventure. This year the teams will once again include many BMW Group employees and fans of the BMW brand who for months have been investing a great deal of their free time and technical knowledge in the project. A striking number of them are placing their hopes for a successful rally in the reliability and load capacity of the first-generation BMW 5 Series Touring. The BMW ranks will be further swelled by a trio of BMW 3 Series Tourings and no fewer than nine BMW 7 Series Sedans. In many cases, an admirable choice of car has gone hand-in-hand with an imaginative selection of team names: “Fleckvieh” (a type of cattle), “Doppelhöcker” (“double hump”), “Werk 6” (Plant 6), “Bavarian Pathfinders”, ”CologneCamelHunters” and the “Camel Chasing Racing Team” will each be running three BMW 5 Series cars. Elsewhere in the field, “Team 69” will not be alone with their triple-pack of BMW 7 Series Sedans; the “OILfinger” crew have recruited a BMW 730i, a BMW 735i and a 12-cylinder BMW 750i for the journey to Jordan.
The early stages of the rally will take the participants through parts of Germany and Austria before heading into Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria on their way to Turkey. From the southern Turkish port of Iskenderun the rally convoy will cross over by ferry to Haifa in Israel, before embarking on the final leg of its journey to Jordan, where the winners are due to be crowned on 17 May. Along the way, the teams will be called upon to complete a series of special trials as well as lend a helping hand with social organisations and aid projects at stage finishes. In this they will be supported by local organisations and individuals who are also doing their bit to make the Allgäu-Orient Rally a border-crossing adventure with an impressive dedication to good causes.
Cars ranging from MINI Coopers to BMW 7 Series models limber up for the Allgäu-Orient Rally.