For its 68th edition, the Rallye Neige et Glace once again started at the Peugeot Adventure Museum in Sochaux. After a day of administrative and technical checks and dinner in the museum on February 12, 80 crews set off into the night for the first four regularity tests, covering nearly 175 kilometres as they headed towards Pontarlier and Malbuisson, which would be rally headquarters for the next three days.
The following morning a 300km loop in the Doubs region skirting the Swiss border, with 10 regularity tests and, on day three, a large loop of 345kms on the icy roads heading towards the Jura, which started with more tests in the forest near Malbuisson, kept competitors fully occupied as they slid over the ice a snow, of which there was no shortage, especially in the forests.
The sting in the tail came on the fourth and final day, with the traditional loop of 250kms around Malbuisson and Lake Saint Point. Composed mainly of ZR on forest roads where navigation was to play a decisive role, as spring-like sun shone through the gaps between the trees, the toughest stages were in the last kilometres.
Going into the last day, Arnaud and Adeline Euvrard (Subaru Impreza) had the 4X4 category sewn up – they just needed to stay on the piste to take their second victory in as many years. The pair never faltered and took their category by a very large margin. In the much bigger historic category things were very different, and there was no question of anyone relaxing, as, with the daunting (and often in the past, decisive) Rochejean stage still ahead of them, the gaps between the leaders were paper thin.
With a maximum 3 points separating the top two in the standings since the start of the rally, and only 0.4 points between Romuald Sanseigne and Florin Fornasier (Fiat Cinquecento no. 20) and Belgians Van Rompuy/Vanoverschelde (Porsche 914/6 no. 12) at the start of day 4, suspense was at its height. Sadly, it was finally a fuel pump failure on the No. 12 Porsche that decided the issue, with the Belgians forced to retire a few stages from the end. This took nothing away from the well-deserved victory of the young local drivers, winners of an unprecedented third consecutive title on the event after a faultless performance. It had taken four legs, nearly a thousand kilometres and almost 40 ZRs to decide the winner.
For a full report see our April 2023 issue….
These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News. Some have been abbreviated for this web site. If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available. A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.