Elmar Wiederin: 1001 Nights in a Porsche 356
The 2013 edition of the Rallye Maroc Classic, the 20th, begins this Saturday. Shortly before the starting gun fires in Casablanca (Morocco) we managed to talk to one of the veterans of this demanding and exotic rallye. Elmar Wiederin, Senior Partner at BCG Schweiz, has taken part in almost all the Rallyes du Maroc, so he is better placed than just about anyone else to explain its peculiarities and virtues.
This year will be my eighteenth time.
Q: What is it about the Rallye Maroc Classic that keeps bringing you back?
I love the unique combination of the “1001 Nights” ambience that comes from Morocco’s exotic architecture and culture, the camaraderie that exists between participants, many who have been coming for years, the scenery – from snow in the Atlas Mountains to the desert sands – and of course the driving on great roads through great areas against the clock.
Q: You take part in various classic car rallyes. What makes the Rallye Maroc Classic different?
It’s the unique mix of landscape, the sun (in March!), the exotic ambience, the interesting participants and the very professional organization. Every year we look forward to meeting our “competitors” and together getting to know parts of Morocco that we haven’t previously been to. And every year, new areas in the south of the country are opened up with roads and hotels.
Q: You know a lot about Morocco. If you had to pick out a highlight from past years, what would it be?
Over the seventeen years that I’ve been coming here the country has developed amazingly, and mainly positively. When I first came, all you would see on the roads were donkey-pulled carts and ancient Peugeots. These days you will find the streets of Marrakesh full of luxury limousines and Moroccans in Western clothing. But the country has remained true to itself and its culture. You still find places in the Medina in Fez that make you feel like you’ve gone back hundreds of years. And the strong Berber and Tuareg cultures in the High Atlas and in parts of the south are virtually unchanged.
Q: High temperatures, sand, deserts – these are extreme challenges. How do the cars cope?
Driving 2,500 km over hill and dale, often at great speeds, obviously takes it out of any car. I have driven my Porsche 356 A Cabrio in all 17 of the rallyes I’ve taken part in here. It’s perfect for the conditions: light weight, no electronics, no chance of losing any coolant. I have punished the car over 45,000 km of Moroccan roads and it has never let me down. Its descent from the VW Beetle definitely has its advantages.
Please click on the logo below to start the slideshow with Elmar Wiederin’s pictures from the Rallye Maroc Classic.
||Share this on Twitter|