Revelling in The Rainmaster’s legacy on the 2016 Passione Caracciola

On the majority of historic rally events, participants pray for an absence of rain. However on the second Passione Caracciola, dedicated to legendary German driver Rudolf ‘The Rainmaster’ Caracciola, a downpour seemed almost appropriate…

After the latest ‘IWC Schaffhausen talks to’ discussion, starring Jochen Mass and hosted by Classic Driver’s very own Philip Rathgen on the eve of the event, participants were shown the new limited-edition Ingenieur chronographs before being served dinner, during which Caracciola’s Mercedes-Benz W25 Silver Arrow acted as a rather impressive backdrop. 

A special guest

The priceless car was arranged as a static display rather than a participant in the rally – but the following morning, when IWC Schaffhausen CEO Georges Kern dropped the start flag at Regensdorf, it was clear Mercedes was well represented by participants themselves. Along with a host of 300 SL ‘Gullwings’ – interestingly, probably the least expensive way to own a car of the type ‘Caratsch’ drove in period – the entry list was also populated by numerous other post-War Mercedes, including the Pagoda rally car brought along by Classic Driver dealer Mechatronik. Perhaps most relevant to Caracciola’s pre-War heroics, however, was Heinz & Doris Hoffer’s 1928 Maserati 26M Grand Prix car, entered into the rally for the second year in a row.

The spirit of ‘Caratsch’ lives on

Ultimately, it was the 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ of Giustino de Sanctis and Claudia Morbiducci that took the regularity title, followed by the Ferrari 365 GTC of Peter Straub/Madeleine Villiger and the Jaguar E-type of Christian Nagele and Carlo Lusser. But more impressive was the spirit of camaraderie and friendship apparent in all participants, who did the memory of ‘Caratsch’ proud for the second of what will surely be many Passione Caracciola rallies. His resting place of Lugano seemed like an appropriate place for the rally to conclude this year; we wonder where next year’s will begin?

Photos: IWC

From 15-19 June, the Passione Caracciola will follow in the footsteps of the legendary pre-War racing driver across Switzerland. Classic Driver will be reporting live from the event, kindly supported by IWC.