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Bad Homburg, Milano and Reims on the bill!

Three European cities, Bad Homburg, Milano and Reims, for over 200 crews entered in the 26th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, the day after the first five starts from Glasgow on Wednesday. It’s fair to say that this 26th edition really got underway on Thursday, with several hundred kilometres to negotiate on the Concentration Route for all these superb cars, and one and only goal: to reach Monaco on Friday afternoon…

In a rally where 43 makes and drivers of 29 nationalities are taking part this year, the entry list looks like a Tower of Babel.First, there were fifteen crews setting off early this afternoon from Bad-Homburg, close to Wiesbaden and Mainz. The stars of that German start were a 1961 Volvo 544 Sport and an Autobianchi A112 entered by a Ukrainian team, but also a Polski Fiat 125 entered by a Polish team, as well as Porsches and Volkswagens.

From Milano, at the end of the afternoon, last year’s winners, Switzerland’s Claudio Enz and Cristina Seeberger, took the first start in their Lancia Fulvia 1.3S carrying number 1 on its doors.And there were 130 other crews leaving Milano after them, all cars ‘born’ between 1911 and 1983. That’s more than half the field, with far fewer kilometres to cover to reach the port of Monaco than their rivals lined up in Bad Homburg or Reims.

Maurizio Colpani and Claudio Quarantani also set off from Milano, in a superb 1981 Ferrari 308 GTB on a cool, grey day, but in the sumptuous setting of Piazza del Duomo,  There was something for everyone, with Ludovic de Luca and Fabien Moinier in a small Peugeot 104 ZS Coupé built in 1976, as well as Porsches, an Alfetta GTV, a R5 Alpine and even an antique 1961 Volga!

Saby started in Milano

Milan was also the starting point for Bruno Saby, winner of the 1988 world championship version of Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Lancia Delta HF in Martini Racing livery. He drives the same 1970 Ford Capri 2.3S as last year, and on his right hand-side sits a hell of a co-driver, Denis Giraudet.

All these starts were made possible by the involvement of volunteers from the Automobile Clubs of Germany (AVD) and Italy (ACI), the Reims Champagne Véhicules Historiques Sportifs (RCVHS) association and all the ACM’s special envoys.

Finally, most of the Franco-French crews chose to set off from Reims, where Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique is still as popular as it was in the last century. More than 80 of them took part in scrutineering, before setting off from the capital of Champagne. Most of them dreaming of drinking a cup of Champagne next Wednesday during the gala evening of the 26th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique.

The event will take place in Salle des Etoiles at Sporting Monte-Carlo. But before this happens, there are hundreds of kilometres to cover, from Saturday morning (start of the Classification Stage) to Tuesday evening (Final Stage around Col de Turini), while trying to respect the averages calculated and imposed by the organisers. Once again, given the quality of this year’s field (233 cars allowed to start, to be precise), the suspense will be total, right to the end.

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