The route will this year have a more easterly orientation compared to the previous years in which we were largely driving in the French Alps, Jura and Vosges. This has nothing to do with us not being satisfied with the French hospitality or not recognizing the French roots of the ‘Tulip”, but is entirely driven by our intention to present different routes to our participants every year. On Monday May 2nd the first stage will be driven: a beautiful route through the Aosta Valley in Italy, followed by an afternoon leg through the Lombardy Province. The finish of the first day is located in Cinisello Balsamo, which is in the northern part of Milan, Italy. The level of difficulty in this first day is not too high, so that all teams have the opportunity to get into the rhythm of the rally.
On Tuesday May 3rd, the route runs north through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. The Italian part of the route includes some beautiful roads and lunch will be at a karting circuit where the crews can watch other crews drive their regularity test during the lunch. In the afternoon route we will cross a pass with an altitude of more than 2.000 meters. We have not covered such high passes for many years and that will be a challenging drive indeed. The routes in Switzerland will also provide some stunning views. After that we will drive in Liechtenstein and Austria; both countries where the Tulpenrallye has not been for many years. The finish of the second day will be in the recently built Montforthaus in the city centre of Feldkirch, Austria. The local authorities have provided us with the approval to park all cars in the beautiful and old centre of Feldkirch (including the street where the James Bond 007 Quantum of Solace movie has been recorded).
The start on Wednesday May 4th will include a regularity test at a test track near Feldkirch, after which the route will go in westerly direction. The morning will include some challenging navigation routes south of Lake Konstanz (no CH Highway vignette required for the route this year) and lunch will be served at a beautiful golf resort in the South of Germany. The entire afternoon will cover some interesting routes in the Black Forest in Germany. The finish of the 3rd day of the 2016 Tulpenrallye will be in the Hotel L’Europe in Horbourg-Wihr (near Colmar, France), which we have also visited in previous years. The Expert class will drive the evening leg on Wednesday evening.
Thursday May 5th will then provide a full day of driving in our beloved France including some routes through the Vosges, the area where the Tulpenrallye has been driven most. The navigation challenges on this day will be significant and the finish on that day will be in the Kurort of Mondorf-les-Bains in Luxemburg. We did visit this location also during our jubilee-edition of 2013 and the Mondorf Parc Hotel will again provide the right ambiance for our evening dinner on Thursday.
Friday (May 6th) will as always be a challenging day. The route on that day will go through Luxemburg as well as Belgium, with lunch being organized at the border between both countries. The nature of the maps in both countries as well as some of the constructions designed by our road managers will provide interesting ingredients for a solid day of classic rallying in which all crews will need to work hard to maintain or improve their positions. The finish of the 5th stage is at Bilderberg Hotel Kasteel Vaalsbroek in Vaals, which is the same location as in the previous two years as we do significantly enjoy the hospitality provided by our sponsor Bilderberg Hotels.
The 6th leg will be driven on Saturday May 7th with a route from Vaals to Noordwijk in the Netherlands. The new concept for the last day through the Netherlands that we have tested in 2015 will be maintained with more navigation on rural roads (with special rules for time and speed controls), a limited number of tests as well as at least one particularly challenging map reading stage included in the route this last day. Along the route there will also be some stops in a limited number of villages in the Netherlands, allowing the general public to meet the event.
The total length of the rally for the Expert class will be about 2350 km, the Sporting Class approximately 2200 km, the Touring class about 2050 km and for the Vintage Class 1800 km, divided into 6 stages which are divided into several sections.