The biennial Gstaad Audemars Piguet Classic was held 31 August to 4 September 2011 in the Bernese Alps of Switzerland. Organized by Peter Auto, the second Gstaad Classic took place on three new courses on the winding roads of the Alps, punctuated by timed stages on closed roads around one of the most beautiful villages in Switzerland – Gstaad.
The scenic village of Gstaad offered an exceptional base for competitors in the Classic. Over the three days and four nights of the competition, visitors enjoyed a range of five-star hotels and fine restaurants, all set against the backdrop of outstanding Alpine scenery.
Gstaad Audemars Piguet Classic is open to classic cars registered before 1976, along with the necessary support crew and equipment. Rally participants were grouped by Competition or Regularity, depending on the type of car and its equipment, on competences or just desires.
Gstaad Classic Day One – The first leg was 260 km along the mountain roads and five timed stages in the core of Lavaux, a region listed at the UNESCO World heritage. The ride through the terraced vineyards allowed the crews to enjoy a scenic view over the Leman Lake. Lunch at Aigle’s medieval fortified castle was one of the many event highlights.
Gstaad Classic Day Two – With 300 km and four road stages, the second day was the longest of the 2011 edition. A special one for the drivers however, as they covered part of the legendary Ollon Villars, part of former World Hill Climb Championship of the 1960s. The rally also visited Grindelwald, famous for the shooting of James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”; but also for its exceptional view over the Eiger glacier.
Gstaad Classic Day Three – The final day was the shortest for the crews who covered the remaining 170 km of the rally, including five road stages. They also enjoyed the slalom organised on St. Stephan, a former military airport.
Notable entries in the 2011 Gstaad Audemars Piguet Classic rally included the pair of Group 4 Lancia Stratos; multiple Porsche 911 RS and RSR; 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GS; 1933 Bugatti Type 50; 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta; 1955 Alfa Romeo 1900SS Zagato; 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT; 1964 AC Cobra; various Ferrari 250 GT SWB; Ford GT40; 1955 Aston Martin DB3S; 1964 Porsche 904 GTS; among others.
The Swiss team of Philippe Liechti and Carolyn Twaites finished first overall in the VHC competition category with their 1965 Porsche 911. Another early 1965 Porsche 911 finished second, this one piloted by Jean-Marc and Patricia Bussolini, while Daniela Ellerbrock and Zaklina Rohwer came home third in their 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta. See Gstaad Classic 2011 – Final VHC Competition Results
In the Regularity category, another Porsche took home the top prize as the 1964 356 of Georges Henri Meylan and Julien Stervinou came home in first place. Pierre Mirabaud and Jean Paul Cayre finished second in their 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, followed by Zorica Milojkovic and Maja Ljubisavljevic in their 1973 Porsche 911. See Gstaad Classic 2011 – Final Regularity Results
Photographer Julien Mahiels had the tough task of following the 2011 Gstaad Audemars Piguet Classic rally around the scenic Bernese Alps. He offers the following 360+ picture gallery that shows the strong field of entrants, in addition to the otherworldly views offered by the spectacular rally course arranged by organizer Peter Auto. To see more from Julien, visit www.flickr.com/julienmahiels.
Gstaad Classic 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)