THE STORY OF 1979
The STAR organization does not manage the get 1979 edition viable, both financially and organizationally, and announces early 1979 that there will be no Tulpenrallye this year. The Amersfoort Motor and Automobile Club, A.M.A.C., takes over the organization of the impending Tulpenrallye. The rally which is well known throughout Europe is then combined with the AMAC Rally which has been successfully organized by the same organization for the Dutch championship in recent years. To give the new organizers more time to organize the event, this edition takes place in the autumn. This edition does not count for the European championship; however an observer from the F.I.A. is present in order to assess whether this will be the case next year, and then again in the spring. ‘De Flint’ in Amersfoort is chosen as a rally center.
The organizers find that organizing a rally in the Netherlands is not easy and do not get permission for a number of tests that have already been calculated. They can still just keep above the minimum number of kilometers required to keep the potential European championship status. Opel, Gulf, Wang Computers and Vulcano are the main sponsors of the event.
Among the favorites are Bjorn Johansson, (Swedish champion), and Bob de Jong as well as Henk van der Lee-Reinoud Vogt, both with Opel Kadett GTE. Bror Danielsson starts with David Booth in a Ford Escort RS1800, registered by Ford Netherlands with sponsorship of Hobo Hifi and the Danish driver Jens Ole Kristiansen with Han Jorgen Aunso in an Opel Ascona 2.0. Rally champion 1978 Jan van der Marel lives in Amersfoort and starts with Bruno van Traa with his Vauxhall Chevette2300 HS. The Dane Morten Spiro is also present and he will come back many years in the Tulpenrallye. A remarkable participant is Formula 1 driver Jan Lammers with Opel Kadett GTE; he is navigated by the experienced Eric Bessem. There is even a registration from Indonesia: Hedarmo-Rumawas.
After the technical scrutinizing the start will take place on Friday evening 12 October at ten o’clock. 21 special stages are included in the route, with a total length of 121 km. The first part lasts until the next morning, after which a break of an hour is being planned in which you can have breakfast. The first test is held in Doornspijk. One test is canceled during the night when two participants get off the road and as a result a lot of delay occurs. The second part of the rally will be held on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 8 o’clock in the evening. The first test on Saturday is on the ice rink in Amersfoort. Then the route leads to Nunspeet. The last special stage test is at Doornspijk, after which the participants go to the finish in Amersfoort.
Danielsson can initially not interfere in the battle for the first place, because he has problems with his clutch. This will not be resolved until Saturday morning during the break. Van der Marel and Johansson are already well ahead and compete for the lead together. Van der Marel however is faster on most tests and, together with navigator Van Traa, is in the lead prior to the final test. On the penultimate test Johansson gets a flat tire, causing him to go back to eighth place. Van der Marel wants to take it easy on the final test to secure his victory. The clutch of his car however fails and he has to retire. Bror Danielsson and David Booth then become the winners of this first Tulpenrallye organized by the A.M.A.C.
The prize-giving ceremony is being held on Saturday evening in ‘De Flint’ in Amersfoort. The Dutch crew Vossen and Theunissen are second. Lammers ends in a shared fifth place. The national class is won by Johan van Heek and Ay Mei Oei (11th overall), while the Coupe des Dames goes to Titia Westerhof and Arila Beltzer (16th overall). All parties involved agree afterwards that it is particularly gratifying that the Tulpenrally has been rescued and that the A.M.A.C. organized a good rally. The Italian F.I.A. observer is also very positive and that leads to high expectations that the event will be included again in the calendar for the European Championship next year.