An exceptional situation calls for an exceptional edition!- There will be no Concentration Leg for the 24th edition of Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, and only one starting city: Monte-Carlo! However, the itinerary that was drawn up for the actual race will be as diverse and difficult as ever, following the recommendations of the Organizing Committee at Automobile Club de Monaco.
A whole pack of Regularity Stages is on the menu, as always, since they have remained the main features of this special rally and they help to figure out easily which crew really deserves to win. The succession of Henrik BJERREGAARD and Jaromir SVEC, the winners in 2020 aboard a Ford Escort RS2000 MkII, is open…
The Historic version of the world’s most ancient road rally is reserved to cars that have entered at least one Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo between 1911, the year when it was created, and 1983, so that a greater number of models are allowed to enter the 2021 edition. And also in order to please numerous car collectors who asked for this evolution.
After one and a half day devoted to administrative and technical checks, on Thursday January 28 (3pm-6pm) and Friday January 29 (7am-7pm), the official start of this 24th edition will be given as early as 6am on Saturday January 30, for the Concentration Leg: 273,6km between Monte-Carlo and Buis-les-Baronnies, a former property of Monaco Princes, right in the middle of Drôme provençale, where the first crews will be expected at 11:30am, just in time to take part in the first two Regularity Stages, well known by the specialists: «Montauban-sur-l’Ouvèze – Saint-André-de-Rosans / SR1 / 12am /49km» and «La Motte-Chalançon – Saint-Nazaire-le-Désert / SR2 / 2pm / 22km». In order to close the Concentration chapter in style, a checkpoint is scheduled in Crest, another historic site of Monaco’s Grimaldi family, at 3:20 pm, to make sure that the first crews will reach Champ de Mars in Valence (Host City & Drôme’s prefecture) at 4:10pm.
Heading for Ardèche on the morning of Sunday January 31 the Classification Leg will start at 7am. The first stage on that day will be the much appreciated «La Croze – Antraigues-sur-Volane / SR3 / 8:09am / 57km» complete with a traditional pause in front of the the famous « Remise », the mythical Jouanny family restaurant. Then it will be time for another legendary stage, «Burzet – Lachamp-Raphaël / SR4 / 10:05am / 49 km», in the Saint-Martial version. The mid-day pause is scheduled from 12:50pm on Place du Marché in Saint-Agrève, where tasting of local products is always part of the program, and a good way for all rally participants and followers to enjoy the moment before heading for a very demanding loop: «Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid / SR5 / 1:20pm / 25km» then «Saint-Pierre-sur-Doux – Col du Buisson / SR6 / 2:05pm / 23km». On the way back to Valence (4:55pm), there will again be a checkpoint in Plats (3:10pm) and yet another popular and friendly stop on Quai Farconnet in Tournon-sur-Rhône, from 4:05pm onwards.
Vercors and Diois mountains will be on the menu for Monday February 1 at 7am, when Part 1 of the Common Leg will start with «Col Gaudissart – La Cime du Mas / SR7 / 8:25am / 18km» including Col de L’Echarasson (1146m), then «Col de l’Arzelier – Saint-Michel-les-Portes / SR8 / 10:50am / 29km» including Gresse-en-Vercors. The mid-day pause is scheduled at Clelles Station, a stronghold of motor racing in Dauphiné (Isère) from 11:40 am, before heading for «Chichilianne – Les Nonières / SR9 / 11:42am / 21km» through Col de Menée (1457m) and eventually, to close the day, the stage of «Mémorial de Vassieux-en-Vercors – Bouvante-le-Bas / SR10 / 1:55pm / 24km» where endurance will be the key! The last pause of the day, before heading back to Valence (4:15pm), will take place on Place du Champ de Mars in Saint-Jean-en-Royans with a checkpoint at 2:55pm for the first crew.
On Tuesday February 2, the first start in Valence will be given at 6am for Part 2 of the Common Leg. The first stage of the day will be «Saint-Nazaire-le-Désert – Gumiane / SR11 / 7:30am / 29km», with seven passes on the way. The remaining crews will then head for «Verclause – Laborel / SR12 / 8:55am / 27km» to be followed by an exciting loop: «Entrevaux – Entrevaux / SR13 / 12:35pm / 15 km» including Col de Félines. The last checkpoint before entering parc fermé in Monaco (3:10pm) will take place on Place Neuve in La Turbie, from 2:35pm.
The Final Leg, scheduled for the night of Tuesday February 2 to Wednesday February 3, will start in Monaco at 8:45pmand crews will be able to enjoy, in succession, «Col de Braus – La-Bollène-Vésubie / SR14 / 9:50pm / 35km» and «Lantosque – Lucéram / SR15 / 11:05pm / 20km». The finish line will be set up on Port Hercule in Monaco and cars expected around 1am.
Last but not least, in keeping with tradition, the Gala Night and Prize Ceremony will happen on the evening of Wednesday February 3 in the Salle des Etoiles of Monte-Carlo Sporting Club (evening dress/dark suit / Black tie requested).
Report by acm.mc