Friday, 3 September 2010

Female Rally Drivers After 1950: Germany

Janina Depping

Rena Blome now has her own post.

Gisela Blume – drove in European rallies in the 1980s. She was a contemporary and rival of the similarly-named Rena Blome. Gisela won the Coupe des Dames in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1981, driving a Peugeot 104. She was 56th overall. Another run in the Monte Carlo Rally in 1982 ended in transmission failure, driving a Ford Escort. After that, she concentrated on German rallies, in Escorts including an XR3i and an RS2000. Her best rally result was probably her eighth place in the 1982 Rallye Deutschland. She died in 2015, at the age of 60.

Janina Depping - rallied a Mitsubishi in Germany and around Europe. She took part in some WRC rounds and was eighth in a pre-WRC Rallye Deutschland, in 1999. That year, she was also fifth in the International ADMV-Pneumant-Rallye and seventh in the Van Staveren-Zuiderzeerally, driving a Ford Escort. Later, she rallied a Proton and a Mitsubishi in German rallies. In 2008, she was runner-up in the Group N class of the European Rally Challenge, after a string of strong finishes. She was meant to drive in the Challenge again in 2010, but did not, or at least, not for the full season. She returned to the stages in 2011, and was 38th in the Rallye Deutschland in Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. In 2012, she used the same car in a mixture of German championship rallies. She was second in the ADMV Wedemerk Rallye and ninth in the Sachsen Rallye. In 2013, she continued to compete in German events, but sadly, she died following an accident on the Wartburg Rallye, in which her co-driver Ina Schaarschmidt also perished.

Christine Dietl - took part in national and international rallies in Germany between 1997 and 2003, then again from 2009, although she started competing as early as 2001. She was tenth in the 2002 ADAC Rallye Oberland, and won Group N. In 2002 and 2003, she finished in the top 15 of every major rally she finished, which was four out of six. She was driving a series of Mitsubishi Lancers. After stepping down from high-level rallying, she continued to compete, taking part in slalom, rallysprint and circuit events in a diverse range of historic and modern vehicles. Since 2010, she has driven a Ford Escort RS2000 in German rallies. In 2014, she won her class twice, and had a best finish of 17th in the ADAC-RGR Kathrein Rallye 200. 

Christine Dorfner - began as a co-driver in the mid-1990s, sitting alongside drivers including Dragan Milinovic. She started rallying herself as part of a women-only championship, in a Mitsubishi Carisma, in 1998. In her first year, her best result was a respectable eleventh, in the Pneumant Rally. She was also 20th in the Rallye Deutschland. Later, in 1999 and 2000, she rallied a Proton Wira and SEAT Ibiza in major German events, but did not manage another top twenty finish. Her best was 39th in the Hunsrück Rallye, where she was tenth in class. Her usual navigator was Tanja Neidhöfer.

Nadine Eisenkolb - rallies a Suzuki Swift in Germany, in the Junior class. Her first rally was the ADNV Rallye Grünhain, in 2012. She was 76th overall, out of 91 finishers. In 2013, she took part in five rallies, and finished four of them. Her best finish was 34th, in the Sachsen Rallye, thirteenth in class. Her best class finish was in the Rallye Erzebirge, where she was ninth in Class DIV6. She was 60th overall. She had a quieter year in 2014, still driving the Swift. Her only major rally was the ADAC Rallye-Race Gollert, in which she was 35th. 

Tina Grewe - rallied a variety of cars, normally Citroen Saxos, in Germany between 1999 and 2002. She was 9th in the 2000 ADAC Rallye Junior Cup and fourth in 2001. Her best result in a major German rally is 22nd, which she achieved on the 2002 ADAC 3-Städte-Rallye, in a Saxo. She was also the winner of class A6. Her other cars include a Volkswagen Polo and a Mitsubishi Carisma.

Saskia Grossmann – rallies a SEAT Ibiza in Germany, and has been driving since at least 2013. She is most active in the Rhineland area, and has competed in the Köln-Ahrweiler Rally on three occasions. In 2014, she drove in the Oberehe Rally, and was 91st overall, third in class. She entered the same rally again in 2015, but as a co-driver to Wolfgang Grossmann. She returned to the driving seat in 2016, in an Astra. Her best overall result was a 32nd place, in the Reckenberg Rally. In 2017, she did three rallies for the MSC Wahlscheid team, in the Astra. 

Claudia Grüne - driver and co-driver active in the 1980s and 1990s. She seems to have begun her career as a navigator in 1987 for Axel Speck. The two worked together until 1992. Claudia began rallying her own Peugeot 205 in 1991, with Speck as her co-driver this time. She competed in the Netherlands, Poland and Belgium. Her best overall finish was 45th, in the 1991 Haspengouw Rally in Flanders. She also won her class in the Tulip Rally, and was 54th overall. In 1992, she won her class in the Hunsrück Junior Rally.

Ursula von Hanstein - German rallyist in the 1950s. She was a very able driver who was capable of finishing in the top ten of European rallies, as she showed by coming fourth in the 1952 Rally Travemünde. She was driving a Porsche. Her husband was Huschke von Hanstein, the Grand Prix and rally star, and they sometimes drove together on events in his DKW. As well as her own competition career, she acted as a manager for the Porsche racing team.

Christa Herrmann - most often a navigator, reading the maps for Winfried Herrmann and Jurgen Barth, but also drove herself in Europe on occasion. She drove a Datsun Cherry on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1975, with Charlotta Heuser, and a Volkswagen Golf on the 1977 RAC Rally. Her navigator this time was Gisela Erhardt. This came after many years of navigating.

Sabine Hertslet – German driver who rallied a Porsche in Europe in the 1950s. She was third in the 1955 Paris-St. Raphaël Rally, in a 356. Her co-driver was a Madame Schleheck. She took part in other Paris-St. Raphaël events, although details are sketchy. Earlier, in 1954, she was third in the Porsche Rallye Niedersachsen. 

Heidi Hetzer - mostly competed in historic events, from the 1970s onwards. She has won many historic races and rallies. In 1978, she did some rallies in more modern equipment: an Opel Kadett GTE. She entered the Monte Carlo and RAC Rallies, finishing 60th in Monte Carlo, but retiring with engine trouble in Britain.

Ruth Lautmann - drove a Ford, mostly in Germany, in the 1950s. She was 15th in the 1953 ADAC-Rallye Travemunde, in a 12M. In 1954, she won the Coupe des Dames of the Rallye Wiesbaden. Later, in 1956, she was fourth overall in the Geneva Rally, driving a Taunus. She is recorded as the winner of the 1958 Tulip Rally, partnering Gunther Kolwes in a Volvo PV 444, in a navigating role.

Lina van de Mars - began her stage rallying career in 2014, driving an Opel Adam in the Adam one-make cup. She competed across Germany, including the National section of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland, which she did not finish. After rather a lot of retirements, she had a best finish of 37th, in the Ostsee Rallye. Her competition career began in 2013, when she was part of a Mercedes team for the Aïcha Rallye des Gazelles. She is better-known for her TV work in Germany, which is sometimes motorsport-related, and as a session musician.

Christel Meinecke – rallied in Europe from the 1930s to the 1960s. She first rallied a Hanomag in 1938, with motorcyclist Ilse Thouret, and they drove in the Balkanique Rally together. Years later, Christel employed Ilse’s daughter Elga as her navigator. The pair entered the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956, in a Fiat 1100. In 1957, she used a Borgward Isabella, an unlikely rally car, and had a try at the Tulip Rally, finishing in 52nd place, as well as the Rallye Adriatique. She used a similar car on the 1958 Monte. At around the same time, she was a regular in the German-based Tour of Europe, driving either the Borgward, or a Porsche 356. 
Monika Petzold - rallied around Europe in the 1990s. She entered one WRC rally, Monte Carlo, in 1994, driving a Renault Clio, but did not finish. Her best finish seems to have been 28th place in the Rallye Bohemia, an ERC round, in 1997, also driving a Renault Clio Williams. Later in her career, in 1998 and 1999, she drove a Seat Cupra Ibiza and finished rallies in Germany and the Czech Republic, including the ADAC Rallye Deutschland. Away from rallying, she is or was a traffic police officer in Germany.

Coralie Schneider – competes in the Citroen R1 Racing Trophy in Germany, driving a DS3. 2015 was her first year of competition, and she is not yet in a position to challenge for overall honours. She has rallied in Germany and Austria. Her best finish in the Citroen Trophy was sixth, in the Sulinger Land Rallye, and she was 65th overall. Her best overall result was 35th, in the Baden-Württemberg Rally, towards the end of the season. She was sixth in the final Citroen Trophy standings. In 2016, she was sixth again in the Citroen Trophy, and fourth in the Junior standings. Her best overall finish was 29th, in the ADAC Welfen Winter Rally. Her usual co-driver was Anna Weyand. In 2017, she did two rallies with Bodo Kohring, in the DS. Her best finish was 50th in the ADAC Saarland-Pfalz Rally. 

Melanie Schulz - active in German rallies since 2008. After some time spent karting and competing in slaloms, she started in club events, progressing to national-level rallies and rallysprints in 2009. She did her first major events in 2010, in a Suzuki Swift, and was fifth in class in the Baden-Württemberg Rally, 34th overall. After a year out, she returned in 2012, still in the Swift, mainly competing in rallysprints, as well as another run in the Baden-Württemberg Rally, in which she was 33rd. In 2013, she drove in the Opel Adam Cup, in ADAC Rallye Masters events. Her results were mixed, with a best of 22nd overall in the Rally Deutschland National event. Her best class result was twelfth, in the ADAC 3-Städte Rally. She was 52nd overall. She continued to rally the Adam in 2014, and had a best result of thirteenth, on the first day of the ADAC Rallye Deutschland's National event. She was 15th on the second day. A very reliable year left her twelfth in the Adam Cup. A third season in the Adam Cup gave her a fourteenth place in 2015, almost breaking into the overall top twenty in the Baden-Württemberg Rally (she was 23rd) and the Stemweder Berg Rally (22nd). Her best finish was eleventh, in the second day of the Rallye Deutschland National event. The Adam was changed for a Citroen DS3 for 2016. It proved a good car for Melanie, who had her first top-ten finish: sixth in the Helfensteiner Rallysprint. She was second in the Citroen Trophy, after winning her class in the 3-Stadte Rally, and third in the German 2WD championship. In 2017, she was fourth in the German 2WD championship, in the DS3. She earned a top-ten finish in the Rallye Ulm and won her class. 

Anette Sorgalla - active in German rallies from the mid-1990s to 2004. For the first couple of years of her career, from 1994 to 1997, she did local rallies in a VW Golf. Between then and 2001, she added French regional rallies in Alsace to her yearly calendar. Her best event was usually the Welfen Rally, in which she was twelfth in 2000. After that, she switched cars, first to a VW Beetle and then to a Ford Focus. In this latter car, she was more active, but not quite as fast. Her best result in it was a 17th place in the 2004 Rallye Welfen.

Leoni Stiem – active in German rallies since 2006. She normally drives a Ford Puma, although her first rally car was an unlikely Rover 216. She mainly concentrates on her home area of Südbaden, and has won her regional rally championship three times, in 2011, 2013 and 2014. She often challenges for class honours, but her best result in recent years has been a 24th place in the 2013 Potsburg Rallye. She competes under the “Speedcats Racing” banner. In 2016, still in the Puma, she won her class in the Voralpen Rally. Her best overall result was 26th, in the Gerhard Mitte Memorial Rally. She continued with the Puma in 2017, and had a best finish of fifteenth in the ADAC Reifen-Ritter Rallye Hinterland. 

Conny Summa – rallies a Volkswagen Golf in German events, often in rallysprints. She has been active since at least 2011. Her results have been mixed; one of her best performances was in the 2014 Travering Rallysprint, where she was fifteenth, with a class win. Her best result in 2015 was a class win in the Holsten Rally. She was 28th overall. This improved to thirteenth in 2016, at the Heidbergring Rallysprint. This was one of three top-twenty finishes for her that year. She continued to rally extensively in 2017, running particularly well in rallysprints. Her favoured surface is asphalt.

Heidi Utz - most known as a co-driver in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She navigated for Dieter Eymann in an Alfa Romeo in European rallies. In addition, she did some rallies as a driver. Driving a BMW 2002 Ti, she and Margaret Lang crashed out of the 1969 Tour de Corse. Using a similar car, she was 17th in the 1970 Lyon-Charbonnières Rally, and retired from the same event the following year. She may well have been active in other French rallies at around the same time.

Eve Wallenwein - youngest member of a rallying family, who has been competing since 2013, after initially doing some co-driving. She entered the Citroen Racing Junior Trophy in Germany and Belgium, in a DS3. Shewas fifth in the German championship and third in the Belgian. Her programme consisted of seven German rallies, and the Rally of Luxembourg. Her best overall result was 36th in the ADAC Saarland Rally, with third in the Junior class and eighth in Division 5. She returned to the Citroen Trophy in 2014, and was second in class in her first rally back, the Rally Südliche Weinstrasse. Her best overall finish was 25th, in the Niedersachsen Rallye, and she was second in the Citroen Trophy class. At the end of the year, she was eighth in the Citroen Racing Trophy, and third in the junior category. She was eighth again in the Citroen Trophy in 2015, finishing third in class in the Niedersachsen Rally, and 23rd overall, also her best result. In 2016, her only major competitive outing was the Rallye Deutschland, in the DS3, but she did not finish. Her usual co-driver is Anna Weyand.

Tina Wiegand - initially a co-driver for many drivers, including Dirk Knüpfer, since 2001, Tina began driving herself in 2011, after some rallysprints in 2010. Her first car was a VW Lupo GTi, which she used to good effect, finishing 27th in her first rally, the 2011 Fontane Rallye, and 17th, second in class, in the same event in 2012. In 2013, she signed up for the German Citroen Racing Trophy, driving a DS3 R1. Her best overall result in Germany came in the Sachsen Rallye, where she was 35th, and sixth in the Citroen standings. Her best result outright was 32nd in the Luxembourg Rally, which also gave her second in the Belgian Citroen Trophy. In 2014, she contested the Citroen Racing Trophy in Germany again, as part of the German championship. After a very busy season, in which she entered fourteen rallies, she was seventh in the Trophy. By far her best finish was a fourteenth place in the ADAC Welfen-Winter Rallye, although she also managed some top-30 positions elsewhere. Her first Rallye Deutschland ended in retirement. She was fifth in the Citroen Trophy in 2015, with a best finish of second in class, in the Erzgebirge Rally. Her best overall finish was thirteenth, in the early-season Hessisches Bergland Rally. For 2016, she acquired a Volkswagen Lupo, which was not quite as fast as the DS3. Her best result in it was 24th in the ADAC Fontane Rally, with a class second. She used the Lupo again in 2017, with similar results.

Waltraud Wünsch - fourth in the 1985 Rallye Köln-Ahrweiler (Saarland?), driving a Citröen Visa. That year, she was also tenth in the International Sachs Baltic Rally. Previously, she made three WRC starts, in Monte Carlo and Finland, between 1981 and 1983. One of these was as part of Bob Neyret's Alfa Romeo ladies' team, in 1983. She rallied a number of small cars in the early and mid-1980s. She is still active in motorsport as an organiser of the Rallye Deutschland.

(Image copyright Motorsportmagazin)

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