Patrick and Viviane Zaniroli – Foot off the Throttle

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Grandson of the pre-war racing driver Robert Sénéchal (Delage, Bugatti, Chenard and Walcker), multiple Dakar participant, Patrick Zaniroli, was also a journalist and long-time rally organiser, most notably as a member of the organising team of the Paris Dakar for 12 years.  With his wife Viviane he founded Zaniroli Promotions in 1999 and organised, amongst many other events, the Rallye des Princesses and took over the running of the Neige et Glace.  At this year’s event the French organiser announced that the couple will be stepping back  after a long career.

Photo Richard Bord  

“It was a wonderful last rally for us as organisers,” said Zaniroli at the close of this year’s Neige et Glace.  “After 19 editions of the Neige et Glace and more than 40 years of a career as a driver, then as organiser of the Dakar, but also, alongside my wife Viviane, the Rallye des Princesses and the Trophée des Alpes, it is time to step aside.  But rest assured, the future of the Rallye Neige et Glace is safe.  Buyers have already taken steps and we should be able to announce good news in the coming weeks.  I would like to thank all my team for the work done, because without them and without you dear competitor friends, none of this would have been possible.”

This active couple will not be leaving the scene completely.  “Let’s say we are lifting our foot off the gas a little,” said Viviane Zaniroli.  “We sold the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille to Peter Auto (21 editions of this rally for women only) two years ago and now we stop organising the Neige et Glace because we want to enjoy and do things that we have not had time to do for many years.  I think we have worked well, we have very often been pioneers in our field, but you have to know how to say stop,” she said.  “We will keep the TransMaroc where we only take 25 cars, because we have to go play in the sand at least once a year, and we love it.  And since COVID we have created tours called Échappée, reserved for 30 classic cars and/or beautiful modern sports cars – and it works well.  Our rally competitors come to have fun with their spouses – it’s fun, easy to organise and very friendly – it allows us to stay in the business but with less stress – it’s cooler.”

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