Six young people, three young-at-heart BMW automobiles, a unique adventure. The endurance rally Allgäu – Orient 2017 is not simply attractive because of its exotic destination of Amman in Jordan. The unusual choice of route away from any well-built highways is also appealing.

The “5ever” private team will be lining up at the start with six people in three BMW 520i touring automobiles from the E34 Series. They are receiving some robust support from the BMW Group as their cooperation partner.

Start in Allgäu. More than 6000 kilometres to the finishing line

On Sunday, 7 May 2017, the starting flag came down in the picturesque region of Oberstaufen. Now the teams have got to prove that they are well prepared and most importantly that they have not left anything behind. The coming days and weeks will require toughness, skill and a talent for improvisation. Everybody at the starting line-up was in the best of moods.

There was a relaxed atmosphere and this was perfectly reflected in the exceptionally varied field of starters. The spacious and elegant first-generation BMW 5 Series Touring cars driven by the “5ever” team started on their long journey packed to the gunnels and fitted with special roof racks. The BMW Group is crossing its fingers for them. The team is now on its own and has to make the best use of its resources.

The rally: one of the last great automobile adventures

The Allgäu – Orient Rally (start: 7 May 2017) covers a distance of more than 6000 kilometres, making it one of the longest endurance rallies in the world. And there’s no doubt that it is one of the last great automobile adventures because the conditions along the way are tough. They are also based on the principle of maximum cost reduction. No car should be less than twenty years old or more expensive than 1,111 euros. Then there are no overnight stays in luxury hotels.

The maximum cost of accommodation permitted is 11.11 euros per person. But the competitors should preferably sleep by the side of the road in a tent. Motorways are also banned, in the same way as modern navigation devices. Side roads and good, old-fashioned maps are the order of the day. This year, the route to the exotic and fascinating destination of Amman in Jordan goes through Turkey and Israel. Special tests and tasks ensure that the journey is characterised by variety.

The entire venture is also in aid of a good cause. The surplus from the rally and the proceeds obtained for the automobiles at the destination will be distributed to various local charities. And naturally, there is also a prize – in the form of a fully grown camel. There is a good reason why the camel is the team logo. And Karim – a typical representative from Upper Bavaria – provided the first impressions at the team presentation.

The team: dedicated and motivated

You need a dedicated bunch of people to take part in a rally like this. It’s absolutely excellent that the “5ever” team have been the best of friends for a long time. The initiator of the venture was Julia Hiltrop (32) who is currently working in Florence and is not keen to spend all her life in an office. Together with Adil Sbai (31) and his exceptionally well developed talent for organisation, they formed the core for this ultimate endurance kick, which brings together such very different characters and talents.

Sofia “Soffa” Wieczorek (26) fits in very well because she is passionate about driving. She also happened to grow up with a father who liked tinkering with cars. She works hard on the press side of things as well to ensure good communication across the world. Sebastian “Basti” Schulz (30) got to know the 5 Series BMW as a child on the back seat of his parents’ car. He is going to take care of filming and photography because what is the point of an unforgettable adventure trip like this without great pictures?

Meanwhile Andreas Zachai (28) is more the quiet type and as a musician he will keep spirits up with evening entertainment around the camp fire. He is also indispensable as a talented DIY enthusiast and technie. Finally, there’s Regina Herz (29), who immediately fell in love with the BMW 5 Series Touring when it was purchased. After all, it has now graduated to become a young classic and she is already suffering at the thought of having to part with it at the destination. The talented designer also crafted the team logo that embellishes the cars.

The automobiles: BMW 520i touring as a perfect partner for the rally

The elegant Touring featuring a rear window that can be opened separately is reckoned to be extremely tough, comfortable and excellent for long distances. Kilometrage way in excess of 300,000 km is by no means unusual for the 6-cylinder BMW 520i touring. Last but not least, the size and the large number of cars on the market make this the perfect candidate for this kind of rally.

The first BMW 5 Series Touring (E34) was launched in 1991 and was immediately positioned as an innovative high-tech vehicle in the upper mid-range segment. The automobile followed on from the BMW 3 Series Touring (E30) in 1987 as the second BMW Touring and established a unique position in the marketplace with its combination of dynamic performance, innovative engineering and generous space.

It provided a convincing package with harmonious and sporting design, high body stiffness and a lot of clever solutions in the detail. Nearly 31,000 units were produced, making the BMW 520i touring the second most popular model after the BMW 525tds. From May 1990, the M50 engine was enhanced to 4-valve technology and generated 150 hp in the 520i to provide perfectly adequate driving performance in this guise.

The preparations of the “5ever” private team are being supported with advice and assistance from the experienced mechanics and professionals at BMW Group Classic. After all, the search for suitable vehicles is already the first challenge since the task is to find an automobile in the low price segment up to 1,500 euros.

We are therefore providing the team with advice on the purchase and assisting them with preparing the cars for the journey. The drivers will also have the opportunity to gain some practical experience with the modern classics at BMW Driving Experience so that they are able to take on the rally with confidence.

Vehicle purchase, workshop and improved driving skills: proactive support from the BMW Group

The private team “5ever” was supported by experienced mechanics and skilled professionals at BMW Group Classic when they purchased the vehicles. Advice and assistance was also at hand in preparing the automobiles for the rigours of an endurance rally. After all, the search for suitable vehicles is already a key challenge since the task is to find an automobile in the low price segment up to 1,500 euros.

After the team had looked at promising 5 Series Touring automobiles on the relevant used-car websites, they were supported by a BMW Group Classic mechanic on the ground when they went to assess the cars. Since most of the team members only had limited experience in purchasing used cars, they were very glad to receive advice from a professional.

Later on, a thorough check-up was carried out in the workshop of BMW Group Classic. This included the necessary service work. The team members were also given a short course on taking care of breakdowns so that they also had the skills to cope with difficulties on the journey. The absolute highpoint for the preparations included special driver training at BMW Driving Experience in Maisach.

Marco Wittmann won the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) twice and he gave the team exclusive tips about taking evasive manoeuvres, emergency braking and drifting – in current and classic BMW 5 Series automobiles. In particular, “drifting” was completely new to most of the team members. A great deal of adrenalin ensured happy faces and high spirits.

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