Shortly after a challenging edition of the celebrated Monte-Carlo Rally, at its 88th edition, a new key event inflamed the passions of all rally enthusiast, celebrating the historical automotive heritage. The 23rd edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, from the 29th January until the 5th February 2020, has mobilized crews from all over Europe to gather to fixed starting places and finally to Quai Albert 1er in Port Hercules.
This iconic rallying race, organized by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM) under the high patronage of Their Serene Highnesses Prince and Princess of Monaco, is officially recognized by the International Automotive Federation (FIA) being rightly considered as an intriguing endurance race where automotive-pace strategy counts much more than speed. A truly unique opportunity for more than three hundred teams from twenty-eight different Countries that came together in ‘start towns’: Reims, Glasgow, Hamburg, Milan, Athens, Barcelona and Monaco.
But nothing is simple when you have to face a series of Regularity Stages (R.S.) keeping the same speed, the best you can, on roads open to the public. This year, in fact, the route was modified up to 70% and three different speed ratings were fixed by the ACM Organizing Committee to comply with street conditions and vehicle performances. It all began on the 29th January where the Concentration Leg started in all European cities towards the same destination to be reached by the following day: Buis-les-Baronnies, within Drôme Provençale region. Two following RSs in the heart of Provence allowed all crews to get to the city of Valence.
The Classification Leg started on Sunday, early morning, in Ardèche, to reach some of the most legendary stages of the rally route with local food tastings included. On Monday the 3rd February 2020, all participants enjoyed a ‘natural breath’ on a rough path headed to Vercors, Ecrins Nature Park and Diois area to come back finally to Valence. The following day, at dawn, the second part of the Common Leg began approaching the legendary Col de Corobin, on the Maritime Alps, and then Place Neuve in La Turbie, after a set of intermediate stages.
All racing cars finally entered the Monegasque territory to deal with the Final Leg performed during the night between Tuesday the 4th and Wednesday the 5th February with a two-stage challenge until 1:30 a.m., approximately. The arrival podium in Monaco played as a real ‘red carpet’, spotlighting the best ‘vintage’ models from ‘Alfa Romeo’ to ‘Zastava’ for the joy of all visitors that could enjoy a selfie with their most preferred models in a bright spring-like sunny day.
“We start the first drafting of the route in April (of the previous year) with Historical Department of the Automobile Club de Monaco (…) finally a last check 15 days before the start of the rally to set up signs and make sure the road is clear”, pointed out Jean-Marie Conterno, Assistant Secretary General at ACM, underlining the importance of cooperation with local authorities both in Monaco and in the rest of Europe.
“This Rally allows everybody to go back to great old times, in present times”, highlighted an operational member of ACM – “The presence of many fans on the route testifies the popularity of this sport competition, despite being without classification”. A successful outcome that is more and more technological to increase safety and encourage a smooth race. Each car is equipped with a GPS system to allow the Race HQ team to find the geolocation of all teams and be informed about emergencies and possible penalties. “There is a continual track of the competitors on the maps thanks to the GPS on the cars; if they stop on the road, we will contact them to make sure everything is alright”, outlined Mr. Conterno.
But what does really mean to participate to this epochal race? HelloMonaco asked Michel Perin (M.P.), skilled rally co-driver, three-time winner at Dakar Race co-piloting with Pierre Lartigue.
HelloMonaco: Mr. Perin, what are your impressions about this edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique?
M.P.: I have been participating to Rallies in Monaco for about twenty years and this year I feel honoured to attend this historical race with Jean-Luc George on board of Ford Escort RS2000 Mkll (1979), being classified at sixth position in the final classification. I will keep a memorable souvenir of my staying in Port Hercules, just after facing one of the toughest tests. The two-time trials, from La Croze to Lachamp–Raphaël, on Sunday, and last night race to Col de Braus. We got it! … morally supported by the organizing staff always ready to welcome us with a smile.
HelloMonaco: What would you expect for the future?
M.P.: I am looking forward to the 24th edition. We started thinking about it, already. What else?
Waiting for next year, on Wednesday the 5th February, Henrik Bjerregaard (Denmark) and Jaromir Svec (Czech Republic), at the wheel of a Ford Escort RS2000 MkII (1979), were able to stand on the podium, winning the prestigious ‘Coupe de S.A.S. le Prince de Monaco’, (H.S.H. Prince of Monaco Cup), that was given, together with all other top prizes, during the Awards Gala at Sporting Monte-Carlo. ***
Official web site: https://acm.mc/en/
Social link: #RallyeMonteCarloHistorique