The 20th edition of the Rally Monte-Carlo Historique pays tribute to the participation in the 1967 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo of French rock icon Johnny Hallyday and Henri Chemin in a Ford Mustang. Half-a-century on, the event promises to attract another strong entry to see who succeeds from the 2016 winners Daniel Perfetti and Ronnie Kessel (Alpine-Renault A110).
As usual, the 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique will be open to cars that took part in the actual event from 1955 until 1980. To give all competitors a chance to target an honourable result, there will once again be a choice of three average speed levels to comply with during the competition.
The rally will start on Wednesday, January 25, with the week’s first Concentration Run starts from Stockholm (2,735km / 9:10am), Glasgow (2,092km / 6:09pm) and Lisbon (2,212km / 7:10pm). Another start venue option is Copenhagen (2,074km / 12:20pm) on Thursday, January 26), or competitors can choose Bad Homburg (1,242km / 3:40pm), Barcelona (1,050km / 5:50pm) or Reims (1,004km / 8:30pm) on Friday, January 27.
The routes of the different Concentration Runs will convene in Digne les Bains from 10:00am on Saturday, January 28, before moving on to Saint André les Alpes – near the spectacular Verdon Lake and Gorges – from 10:55am. Competitive hostilities will then kick off with the first Regularity Section between Entrevaux, Val de Chalvagne and Entrevaux (15.78km) at 12:10pm. After this appetiser which takes in the Col de Félines (altitude: 930 metres), the field will head to the end-of-day halt in the Principality of Monaco .
The rally will resume at 06:00am on Sunday, January 29, with the beginning of the Classification Run. The first test will be a classic of the modern-day event, namely a visit to the Col de Corobin (1,211m) as part of Chaudon Norante-Digne les Bains (18.63km, 7:55am) which will be used for the very first time as a Regularity Section. It will be followed by another legendary test – Thoard-Sisteron (35.74km, 9:40am) – which is famed for the eternally complex conditions found at the Col de Fontbelle (1,304m). After a halt in front of the Town Hall in Sisteron from 10:50am, competitors will head for the nearby Baronnies Provençales Natural Park for Orpierre-Laborel-Saint André de Rosans (39.34km, 12:00 noon) which is another classic that is familiar to regulars. The day’s fourth and last Regularity Section will be Vassieux en Vercors-Saint Jean en Royans (23.55km, 12:45pm) via the Col de L’Echarasson (1,146m) which could well spring a few surprises before the overnight stop Valence which will be reached at 4:00pm.
From there, the first part of the Common Run will strike out to France’s Ardèche region on Monday, January 30 at 07:00am. The day will begin with La Croze-Saint Julien du Gua-Antraigues sur Volane (50.64km, 8:00am), followed immediately by the mandatory ‘gourmet’ halt at the Jouanny family-owned La Remise restaurant! The competition will continue with Burzet-Le Chambon (39.70km, 9:53am).
The lunchtime break is scheduled for 11:50am in Saint Agrève where the sampling of local produce is always a popular moment for all. Unlike in 2016, when the afternoon saw the rally head for France’s Haute-Loire department, competitors will stay in the Ardèche this time, with a run through Saint Pierre sur Doux-Col du Buisson (22.36km, 12:30pm) before the day ends with Lamastre-Gilhoc sur Ormèze-Plats (36.00km, 1:35pm) which has featured since 2015. The drive back to Valence will take in the traditional and ever-popular stop in Tournon sur Rhône (Quai Farconnet) at 3:00pm.
The second part of the Common Run on Tuesday, January 31, which begins at 05:00, will mark the return of Col de L’Echarasson (1,146m)-La Cime du Mas (17.96km, 6:22am), chased by a classic in the Drôme Provençale region (Saint Nazaire le Désert-La Motte Chalancon, 21.60km, 8:19am) and the awesome Verclause-Laborel-Eygalayes test (37.70km, 9:11am). The last Time Control before parc ferme in Monaco will be set up in La Turbie (Place Neuve) with the first crew due to check in at 2:50pm.
The Final Night Run (January 31-February 1) will start in Monaco at 9:00pm and features two notorious tests: Luceram-Lantosque (26.89km, 10:00pm) in the Vésubie Valley, and La Bollène Vésubie-Moulinet-Sospel (52.78km, 10:45pm) which includes the celebrated Col de Turini (1,604m). After the event’s last against-the-clock sections, survivors will head back to Monaco (Port Hercule) for the finish where they are due to arrive at 1:20am.
The 20th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique will conclude on Wednesday, February 1, with prize-giving and the Gala Evening in the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club’s Salle des Etoiles (evening dress or dark clothing mandatory).