Charade – the Full Monte

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On May 21 an exceptional event took place when one of the most beautiful circuits in the world was resurrected for a day. On that date, the old 8-kilometre Charade track, inaugurated in 1958, that runs through the volcanic hills near Clermont, played host to a score of drivers, riders, cars and bikes from its past, along with over 12,000 spectators. Under threat of closure only a few short years ago, the new circuit directors have turned the situation around by providing more sustainable, less noisy events and as a result they have gained the approval of the residents and the city to the point where permits were granted to close the roads to allow the Charade Super Show to take place for the second year running.

The drivers from L to R: Soheil Ayari, Hubert Rigal, Valentin Simonet, Sébastien Loeb, Christian Sarron, Giacomo Agostini, Nicolas Prost, Jean-Louis Schlesser, Rudy Servol, Nathanael Berthon, Philippe Alliot, Jacky Ickx, Romain Monti, Jacques Laffite

“It’s crazy to imagine F1 cars on this track, because this road is unlike anything we know today. It is closer to a WRC stage” was the comment of a surprised Sébastien Loeb, who did some laps in a 1992 Lancia Delta Group A. Patron of the event and third in the F1 Grand Prix de France held here in 1969, Jacky Ickx was happy to drive a GT40 on the full circuit. “I hadn’t been to Charade for 50 years and I don’t know how to thank the organisers for giving me such an opportunity,” said the 78-year-old Belgian driver. I had forgotten how beautiful the environment of this circuit is, with the Puy-de-Dôme in the background, and how harmoniously drawn its curves are. It’s a pure treat behind the wheel.”

Spectators saw demos by cars from all eras, from the Bugatti Type 51 to the Delta Evo-e of 2023, including the improbable Lamborghini SCV12 with 830hp, or seven F1s including the Matra MS 80 identical to the one driven by Jean-Pierre Beltoise at Charade in 1969

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