The Monte Carlo Rally, organized by the renowned Automobile Club de Monaco, is definitely the beating heart of the annual motorsport calendar. Since its first edition in January 1911, skilfully conceived by the former ‘Sport Automobile Velocipédique Monégasque’ upon request of H.S.H. Albert I, Prince of Monaco, this sport event has been representing a symbol of the Principality and French Riviera.
The Cars Collection of His Highness the Prince of Monaco has therefore decided to celebrate it with an unprecedented exhibition, ‘The Legend of Rallies’ that was inaugurated on the 20th December 2019 at the presence of the Sovereign Prince, a delegation of Rally champions and distinguished guests. A set of about fifty iconic rally cars are displayed on the ‘Red Carpet’ of the prestigious Princely showroom in Fontvieille, for the joy of sight.
Some of the most award-winning authentic models are on display on a special theme-based tour full of information about the memorable feats that amused millions of supporters of the French and International racing tours. All visitors will be having the opportunity to admire them up close until the 15th March 2020. A true journey in the Rally History through the evolution of technology and design. Starting from the limited-edition Lancia Stratos GR4 Alitalia, dating 1974, one of the most refined outcome of racing car. The 1980’s Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, high-performing car and flagship of the French car company that allowed Jean Ragnotti to win the French Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally, the Tour de Corse and many others.
The Ford Focus WRC led by Carlo Sainz, two-time World Champion in 1990 and 1992, the 2001 world winner Subaru Impreza WRC at the head of Richard Burns and thirty-two time winning Citroën Xsara WRC, driven to victory by Sébastien Loeb. Just to name some until we get to 2019 Car Manufacturer winning Toyota Yaris WRC, resulting from the most advanced high-tech production.
This exhibition of past glories promises to capture the attention of the Monegasque audience while thinking about the future as pointed out to HelloMonaco by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco (Prince Albert).
HelloMonaco: His Highness, how will Rally evolve in the near future?
Prince Albert: I think that not only Automobile in general but Motorsports will be evolving into a more sustainable way of engines developed to push a cleaner mobility, at the centre of our attention at present time. I think there will be a further move in this direction. An electric rally already exists and it is booming. Thus, it will be interesting to see how that will evolve. Meanwhile, I do believe that it is important to celebrate racing cars that marked their time in rally competition in the presence of such popular champions like Ari Vatanen, Juha Kankkunen and other great performers.
‘The Legend of Rallies’ was strongly recommended by Valérie Closier, new director of Cars Collection of the His Highness the Prince of Monaco as highlighted to HelloMonaco.
HelloMonaco: Ms. Closier what is the founding idea of this exhibit?
V.C.: I am fond of Rally that I practise personally. So, when I was offered to host a Rally car showroom I found it amazing. It couldn’t go better. I am really pleased since there are mythical race cars from 1960’s up to the present day, well representing International Rally. We can count on a part of relevant private collections belonging to world champions. We cover, then, the main stages of historical and modern rallying.
HelloMonaco: What would you expect in terms of visitors?
V.C.: Rally, unlike F1 and other motorsports, is more convivial and family-style, made primarily of pilots, co-drivers and mechanics. Therefore, I wish to attract all rally lovers to come to visit this glamourous unique collection in the very heart of the Principality where to discover any curious detail of rally vehicles. Personally, I am particularly attached to the “berlinette” (Renault Alpine A110 1600, dating 1972) since I drove it as co-pilot with my father during the French Championship. Furthermore, the Renault Alpine A 310 V6, dating 1977, belongs to me.
‘The Legend of Rallies’ is finally the chance to retrace Rally car designs through a series of artistic portraits of the most famous models by the multi-awarding painter Alain Pinède (A.P.), who has focused on the world of motorsport since ever, having developed a special know-how suitable to any client’s request.
HelloMonaco: Mr. Pinède, where does your artistic talent come from?
A.P.: I do love both painting and following rally races so that I have created seventy paintings on the Monte Carlo Rally for the last ten years with the authorisation of the Automobile Club de Monaco. Thanks to the Sovereign Prince, I had the chance to gather my creations here, in this great site, matching them with real models, beyond my wildest expectations. Consequently, I am honoured to be here and to come back in Monaco for the Historical Monte Carlo Rally, in January 2020.