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Over the last 19 years, the Tour de Corse Historique has become a major event on the French and international historic rally calendar, and many drivers, including many with great past rally successes to their names, continue to return to the legendary Corsican stages. After a first day of technical inspections and a short shakedown stage in the wet, the sun came out on 8 October for competitors, who, for five days were to rally over some 900kms and 16 special stages totalling 350kms on a route that is altered each year. Eighty-eight cars in competition and 61 in regularity delighted the enthusiastic Corsican public, who never seem to tire of lining the road to admire and listen to the melodious song of cars from the glory years of rallying in Corsica.
Heavy rain, snow, ice and bright sunshine ensured that the 2019 Rally of the Tests was a big challenge for around 80 crews during three full days of classic rallying from Torquay to Chester on 7-10 November.
Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton led from start to nish in thier Mini Cooper S. Photos Paul Lawrence
Through it all, the Mini Cooper S of Steve Entwistle and Mark Appleton dominated the action with neither crew member faltering as the Mini led from the short prologue section on Thursday evening. As the overall awards are restricted to pre-1968 cars, the overall runners-up were GT racer and Porsche expert Phil Hindley and his co-driver Martyn Taylor (Porsche 911).
The late summer heralded two Italian asphalt rounds of the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship, the Rally Alpi Orientali Historic, on 28-30 August in the north east of the country and the 31st Rally Elba Storico on 19-21 September on the spectacular island of Elba. On both events, the competition over special stages on closed public roads was fierce across the four age-based categories.
In Category 1 for pre 1970 cars, it was local crew Antonio Parisi and Giuseppe D’Angelo (Porsche 911S) who claimed maximum points on both events to take top spot of the category. The big challenge to the Porsche regularly comes from Ernie and Karen Graham in their 1600cc Ford Escort Mk1 twin-cam. The UK husband and wife crew suffered from brake issues on day one of the Alpi Orientali but fought back on day two to finish third in class.
Organisers of this oversubscribed event are inviting anyone who wishes to participate in next year’s re-enactment of the race from Brescia to Rome and back again, to register at www.registro1000miglia.it. Dates next year are 13-16 May.
Entries are now open for this extraordinary competitive Moroccan adventure, which next year will take place much earlier than its usual end of April date. The 11th edition of the Maroc Historic will run from 2-7 March and organiser, Yves Loubet says this is to take advantage of better weather.
The road book will be officially released in mid-January once the route permits have been validated by the authorities. The three main regions crossed by the rally will be Marrakech, Essaouira and Sidi Ifni. See www.yl-historicrallyevents.com for entry forms.
Photo Courtesy Maroc Historic
Former five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae used all his experience and pace as his Porsche 911RS finished leading historic car on the national section of Wales Rally GB in early October.
Three weeks before his 76th birthday McRae drove the car, owned by Brian Bell and prepared by Richard Lepley’s Prepfab operation, over the first two full days of Wales Rally GB, Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship. In the historic specification Porsche McRae tackled challenging conditions over classic Welsh forest stages like Hafren and Penmachno as heavy rain soaked the gravel tracks.
Tough going for 76 year-old McRae. Photo Paul Lawrence
The Spanish rally organisation RACC and Belgian organiser Ypres Historic Rally have reached an agreement to create the “Historic Regularity Challenge” for 2020. The aim is to promote two of the most interesting regularity events with a history in Europe: The Catalunya Rally and the Ypres Rally.
The winner of the Rally Catalunya Històric 2020, which takes place next year on 28-29 February, will get a free entry for the Ypres Historic Regularity Rally 2020, to be staged on 28-29 November, and the winning crew of the Belgian race will get a free Premium (all included) entry for the Rally Catalunya Històric 2021.
The winner of the Rally Catalunya Històric 2020 will get a free entry for the Ypres Historic Regularity Rally. Photo Courtesy Rally Classics
All crews participating in both rallies will score towards the Historic Regularity Challenge and the number of points will be those of the position in the final classification of each rally. The overall winner of the Historic Regularity Challenge will get a free entry for the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique 2021. See http://rallyclassics.club for more information.
Italian veteran ‘Lucky’ and his hugely experienced co-driver Fabrizia Pons were top scorers on the 53rd Mecsek Rallye in Hungary to finish the season as Category 4 champions in the FIA European Historic Sporting Rally Championship.
In a dramatic final round for the pan-European FIA-sanctioned special stage rally championship, their Lancia Delta Integrale moved back to the head of Category 4 (pre ’92) as former leaders Will Graham and Michael Johnston retired their BMW M3 mid-rally with alternator problems. ‘Lucky’ emerged as the only category champion not using a Porsche 911.
A rich and sportive history
Created in 1953 the Rallye Neige et Glace quickly became an unmissable event for the factory teams, keen on settling the score after the Monte-Carlo Rally. Gérard Larousse,
Bob Neyret, Jean-Claude Andruet and Jean Vinatier, in particular, are associated with the rally, considered by some to be even more challenging than the Monte.
The 2020 edition, will go back to its previous format, which commences with a meet at Sochaux at the Peugeot Adventure Museum for technical and administrative checks, before a first night stage to Malbuisson, rally headquarters for the next three days. Route masterminds Patrick Zaniroli and Alain Lopes have devised three loops using the winding roads along the Swiss border between the Doubs and the Jura and have increased the number of regularity zones to eight per day and minimized the untimed miles on the open road. With a return each night to the comfort of the Hotel du Lac in Malbuisson, organisers also offer a ‘Randonnée’ category, for those who want to join the party without the stress of being timed. Classes go from 1946 to 4 x 4s up to 1993, but most participants take cars of the ‘60s and early ’70s. Entry forms can be downloaded at www.zaniroli.com and there are discounts for early entries.
Coming soon (November 27-December 6) is the big one – The Safari Rally. First run in 2003, the legendary East African Safari Classic Rally now run biennially, is a nine-day event covering some 5,000 kilometres through Kenya and Tanzania, rekindling the spirit of the original Safari Rally, which put East Africa on the motorsport map and earned an unassailable reputation as the world’s toughest rally.
Photo McKlein Images
Open to two-wheel drive, normally aspirated, FIA rally cars built before 1986, Safari Classic is a true adventure and replicates the challenge of the original Safari, travelling through the East African landscape, passing through famous game parks and overnighting at many of the finest lodges in the cradle of Africa.
Round 6 of the 2019 FIA Championship was held in Finland on August 9-10. The Lahti Historic Rally is the only gravel rally on the calendar and invokes memories of the legendary Thousand Lakes. Won on the road by Finns Antero Laine and Topi Luhtinen in an Audi Quattro, with Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto in second place in their the Toyota Starlet 1300 and the first EHSRC entrant across the finish line, the Toyota was 1m03.5secs behind the Audi and 9.9 seconds ahead of the Audi Quattro of ‘Zippo’ and Nicola Arena, the Italians finishing third overall and second in the EHSRC contest. However, in post event scrutineering the Finnish Audi was disqualified for technical reasons, leaving the two Championship contenders first and second overall, as well as first and second in Category 3 of the Championship.
Overall winners Esa Peltonen and Jyrki Saarto in their Toyota Starlet1300 were also the first European Championship contenders across the line. Photos Jarmo K Mäki / @JamoPic.Photography
Organised by Malcolm McKay’s ClassicRallyPress organisation, this year’s Liège-Brescia-Liège Rally for Triumph TRs in July saw 26 TRs from 1953 to 1976 take part. The rally closely followed its original 1958 route but was split over 10 days instead of the original continuous 60hrs with just one 8hr break. Still formulated as a navigational endurance challenge, with three circuit tests, drivers were offered the possibility to drive the rally as a tour, but none of the TR owners were interested in that option, all battling to find the route controls and win at least a class award, if not win overall.
The route headed over the Belgian Ardennes into Germany and the Dolomites, crossing Austria to Italy then headed east into Slovenia and over the challenging Vrsic pass before dropping down to Ljubljana, where a day’s break allowed competitors to service their cars and visit the city.
The weather was superb throughout – making the scenery all the more stunning and the roads more enjoyable.