Logic was perfectly respected at the end of an intense 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo, from start to finish: the top two finishers in the ecoRally Cup 2022, carrying race numbers 1 and 2 on their Kia E-Niro, finished top of the official overall classification published at midday on Sunday by Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM): Spaniards Eneko Conde and Lukas Sergnese win ahead of Italy’s Guido Guerrini and Poland’s Artur Prusak, two highly experienced crews who negotiated the many pitfalls of this 2023 edition to perfection.
Because of the risk of flooding in the valleys inland from Nice, this 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo was cut short of two regularity stages (SR7 and SR8 on Friday morning), but that didn’t change the final result. The Spanish duo were stronger, they were always at the front and they ended their week in style, with a victory (SR14) and a 2nd place (SR15) on the final Leg which took back 58 competitors on Saturday evening to Col de Turini, where it all began on Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m very happy to win this rally, it’s a dream for every driver in the world. It’s very special for us to win here in Monte Carlo. It was a very hard, very long race, and we had to remain very calm, because a mistake was always possible, in all the stages. Turini night is very special and my co-driver was very efficient. I’d like to thank all my team for this result. When we arrived here, it was to win, to make our dream come true”, reacted Eneko Conde.
“It was very different this year, with the secret course (up to an hour before the start each day). I really like this formula, we prepared our stages well, we talked a lot in the car, but we were a bit stressed. The points we gained here will enable us to go into the final round of the championship with a real chance of winning the ecoRally Cup again, as we did last year. There are only three candidates left for the title,” added Lukas Sergnese.
Behind this Kia 1-2, the last spot on the podium was the subject of an all-out battle and it was a Belgian team that came out on top: Bernard Heine and Valérie Piette, in their ID3 entered by the Belgian VW Club. It was a richly deserved result for them, as they won two stages, and a fine reward for Belgium, which made its mark on this 7th edition: five stage wins, including two for the Heine-Piette tandem, two for Eric Cunin and Alexandre Peeters, in another VW ID3 entered by Rent Speed Racing, and one for the ID4 GTX of Jean-François Devillers and Eric Chapa of the Belgian VW Club as well.
In terms of the 19 brands represented in this 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo, Volkswagen takes the lion’s share of honours, with 5 stage wins, ahead of Kia and Tesla (3), Nissan and Hyundai (1 each). And in the final Top 10 overall, there are 4 German cars, 2 Kias and 2 Teslas, one Nissan and one Hyundai, making a total of five car brands represented, out of19 manufacturers entering 36 different models this year.
It was another great rally, with no noise or pollution, and one more in the long series of innovative events organised by Automobile Club de Monaco for over a century. Thanks also to the support of a number of loyal partners and to the help of numerous volunteers who didn’t count their hours to make this 7th E-Rally Monte-Carlo a total success. We look forward to the 8th edition, at the end of 2024!
Several managers from the eborn network attended the final day of the 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo on Saturday, in their capacity as official partners of the Monegasque event. A benchmark round of the FIA eco-Rally Cup in which eborn shone, with Jérôme Aymard and Christophe Marques (Nissan Ariya) finishing 4th overall, just off the podium.
Eborn is a public network of charging points set up in 2015 by five energy syndicates in 5 French departements, including the Ardèche, a rallying area and Mecca of the ‘Monte-Carlo’ since a long time. Today, it has 11 syndicates (in 11 departments) spread across two regions (Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and Région Sud) in the large south-eastern quarter of our country (from Allier to the Var, via Drôme and Ardèche). With 2,500 charging points in both urban and rural areas across that big piece of land.
“We have a public service mission and we are seeing a steady rise in the number of people using our charging points. This clearly shows that we are responding to growing demand from users. We were the first operators to offer contactless payment”, points out Laurent Chareyre, Director of Communications for the Territoire d’Energie de la Drôme.
“Eborn is delighted to have a strong partnership with Automobile Club de Monaco, since the 2017 edition, adds Patrick Coudène, President of the Syndicat Départemental d’Energies de l’Ardèche. It allows us to demonstrate in real conditions the technological and avant-garde potential not only of electric vehicles but also of charging systems. The E-Rallye has really helped us to improve our products and processes in recent years”.
In an event that this year brings together 19 car manufacturers, with 36 different models, eborn is at ease. Because the network is fully conscious that electric mobility is not just about charging stations, but also about vehicles and motorists, who are increasingly passionate about cars and the way they evolve!
He left nothing to chance on this 5th and final Leg of the 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo: Eneko Conde, who came to win, added a 2nd place in RS15 (Col de Turini-Sospel, 19.118km) to his win in RS14, a few minutes earlier. Assisted by co-driver Lukas Sergnese in the number 1 Kia E-Niro, the Spaniard validated his place at the top of the provisional overall classification, waiting for the publication of the official result by Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), Sunday around noon.
And he found only one rival to match him, the Belgian crew of Eric Cunin-Alexandre Peeters (VW ID3), who had already won the very first stage (RS1) on Wednesday, in another version of Col de Turini. The circle was thus complete for Belgium, whose nationals won 5 of the 13 regularity events contested during this 7th edition: two Wednesday, one Friday, one Saturday morning in Italy and a final one on Saturday nght. With a special mention for the Belgian VW Club (3 wins out of 5, and always in the fight).
Another Belgian made his presence felt on Saturday evening, in another VW, on Col de Turini that he had often driven up and down in the WRC: Bruno Thiry, the 2003 European rally champion, who tied for 2nd in this final stage in the very fine VW ID5 he shared with Laurent Secretin. It was a fitting way to round off his first experience in an electric Monte-Carlo Rally, with a smile and a very good result.
The final night of the 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo started with a regularity stage familiar to WRC competitors, between Coaraze and La Cabanette (15.041 km). The only surprise, and a very relative one, was that the great favourite, Eneko Conde, partnered by Lukas Sergnese in the number 1 Kia E-Niro, won his very first stage of the rally, despite having been in a waiting position at the front since Wednesday. It was a good way of showing his main rivals that he was going to be a force to reckon with. Highly concentrated at the start in Place du Casino, he had just one thing in mind: to win this 7th edition, as a reigning Bridgestone FIA ecoRally Cup champion.
So in RS14 the Spanish duo beat off the Nissan Ariya of Jérôme Aymard and Christophe Marques, flying the colours of the eBorn recharging network (present in 11 French departments), and the Tesla Model 3 of Romain Haut-Labourdette and Yan Spano, entered by Société Monégasque d’Electricité et de Gaz (SMEG). Two crews that won stages this week and livened up the race from start to finish. In the roll of honour, Belgians showed up again, but for the first time the superb Porsche Taycan of Dirk van Rompuy and Michel Decremer, joint 4th with Czechs Zdarsky-Nabelek (Hyundai Kona), the current leaders of ecoRally Cup 2023. Ahead of another team from the flat country, Bernard Heine and Valérie Piette (6th), in their red ID3 entered by the Belgian VW Club, having already won two stages this week. So most of the favourites were ready for the grand finale in Col de Turini…
The Monaco ON network, an important partner of the 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo, offers over 300 charging points spread over 13 charging zones, from Fontvieille to Condamine areas, via Monte-Carlo and Larvotto. Ideally located, the charging points are completely free to use. The YourMonaco application indicates the number of charging points, their availability, type and power. The result is electromobility that is both easy and attractive!
To round off this beautiful Italian morning in style, the third regularity section on the menu was much longer (28.925km), between Passo Ghimbegna and the small village of Pigna, further down in the valley, after a passage at an altitude of almost 1,600m at Monte Ceppo. It was an open road, as is always the case in the E-Rallye Monte-Carlo, with a little traffic, which caused a few problems for some of the competitors. The hourly average speed to respect on this RS13 had been lowered just before the start, to 31 km/h, by the race direction, but for some crews this was not low enough, resulting in heavy penalties at the end of the loop.
In this game of who loses wins, two Belgians once again emerged from the fray at the head of the pack, Jean-François Devillers and Eric Chapa, their ID4 GTX being entered by the Belgian VW Club. That makes four victories for Belgium since Wednesday, including three for this small but very successful club. Two Slovenians, Franko Spacapan and Sebastjan Kobal, took 2nd place in their Kia E-Niro, just ahead of Guido Guerrini, in another Kia E-Niro, who limited the damage well. The Italian, co-driven by Artur Prusak, took fewer penalty points than Didier Malga (Tesla) and Eneko Conde (Kia).
So he is now in the overall lead heading for the final evening and its last two regularity stages in the Nice hinterland. Guerrini therefore had good reason to enjoy his lunch break in Dolceacqua, to mark the twinning of Monaco and the Italian village which will become official on November 3. A welcome and well-deserved break, over a sumptuous snack offered by the village whose mayor is none other than Fulvio Gazzola. The same Gazzola who won the 6th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo last year, as co-driver to Jacques Pastor. It’s a small world…
The second regularity stage this morning on the heights of the Italian Riviera was also very short, between San Romolo and the Passo Ghimbegna (10.564 km), at an altitude of almost 1,000m. And it was a repeat performance, as the Raoul Fesquet-Yorick Muller crew, in a Model 3 bearing the Tesla Owner Club colours and number 37, improved both their personal score (2 wins in two days after RS10 on Friday afternoon) and that of the American brand (3 wins since the start on Wednesday). But all the interest in this second RS in a row came from the fierce battle for the overall lead, as another Tesla, that of the Malga-Bonnel tandem, took a joint 2nd place with the Guerrini-Prusak crew (Kia E-Niro), who had just finished 2nd in RS11 a few minutes earlier.
As a result, with the positions tightening, RS13 was due to prove crucial in determining who would start the 5th and final Leg of this 7th edition in the lead, on Saturday evening…
The loop of stages in Italy on Saturday morning, a first for the E-Rallye Monte-Carlo, began with two fairly short regularity stages in the hills above Sanremo, contested on roads through chestnut forests. For drivers who have already driven in the Ardèche on a WRC, Historic or Electric Monte Carlo Rally, it was a little unsettling to be so close to Monaco.
In SR11, between Sanremo and San Romolo (9.454km), a new crew appeared at the very top of the results sheet: a Czech duo in a Hyundai Kona, made up of Pavel Baron and Martin Hruby, won this SR, the first victory for a Hyundai in this 7th edition; in second place, ex-aequo, the Italian Guido Guerrini, paired with Artur Prusak (winner in 2016 as a driver), narrowly missed out on a first success on home soil, in a Monte-Carlo, he who finished 2nd in the FIA ecoRally Cup last year ; And another well-known ACM team, Richard Frau and Antonio Caldeira, in a Renault Megane E-Tech entered by Synethis, completed the podium in this first SR on Italian soil. In the overall standings, Didier Malga (Tesla Model 3) was only 17th in this SR11, but he took back 100 points in one go from Conde Eneko (26th), moving back into the lead early in the morning.
AVIS, the famous vehicle rental company, has been involved in the E-Rallye Monte-Carlo for 5 years, because the Monegasque event is perfectly in line with its brand vision. AVIS Eco wants to promote a new way of driving that is greener, more economical, calmer, more technological – in short, more responsible.
The group offers its customers a wide range of electric vehicles, enabling them to discover a new way of thinking about mobility. Its presence at the E-Rallye Monte-Carlo serves a dual purpose:
– To support the commitment to sustainable mobility.
– To promote the role of women in motorsport, through the “Power of Women” program.
Once again this year, an all-female crew (Marianne Alais – a journalist and content creator / Sorhor Fevre – a renowned co-driver) are flying the AVIS Eco colours in a Renault Mégane E-Tech (number 29).
© ACM / P. Magoni
Raoul Fesquet and Yorick Muller, in the Tesla Model 3 bearing the Tesla Owner Club colours and race number 37, have joined the list of regularity stage winners in this 7th E-Rallye Monte-Carlo. That makes 2 victories for the American brand this year, after Wednesday’s SR3, against 3 for Volkswagen, all won by members of the Belgian VW Club. But it was not all plain sailing, because as in most of previous stages, the gaps were narrow… and the Belgians were in the thick of the fight. In this RS10, between Conségudes and Bouyon (13.385 km), the two Frenchmen beat Jean-François Devillers and Eric Chapa, two Belgians in a VW ID4 GTX, by just ten points, and 3rd place was shared equally between three cars with similar performances: the Hyundai Kona of Czechs Michal Zdarsky and Jakub Nabelek, leaders of the Bridgestone ecoRally Cup 2023 after the first seven rounds; the VW ID4 of Antoine Dechamps and Didier Noirhomme, entered by the… Belgian VW Club; and the Nissan Ariya of Jérôme Aymard and Christophe Marques, in the colours of the eBorn recharging network, once again at the front.
Conde ahead of Malga again
Finally, to complete the picture of this truncated 3nd day, it should be added that Spaniards Eneko Conde and Lukas Sergnese (Kia E-Niro), winners of last year’s FIA ecoRally Cup, took 6th place in this RS10, which enabled them to take back the lead of the rally from Malga-Bonnel (Tesla). The provisional Top 5 is completed, before the last day, by three remarkable crews : Delvaux-Piret (Peugeot E-208), in 3rd, Aymard-Marques (Nissan Ariya), in 4th and Heine-Piette (VW ID3) in 5th. Next comes Saturday, with the two last legs (one in Italy) and five last regularity stages (RS11 to RS15) to conclude this 7thedition.