It was to be one of the highlights of the 26th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique, late on Sunday morning: the 27.7km long RS6 between Freyssenet and Saint-Martial, in the very heart of Ardèche. And another brand came out on top, BMW, thanks to Laurent Combier and Etienne Berthoin’s 2002 TI, a car dating back to 1969.
The French crew in the number 65 BMW did slightly better than the Greeks in the number 232 Austin Mini Cooper S, dating from 1973, and the VW Golf GTi of Eric Mallen and Jean-Louis Rimet, who tied with the 1964 Volvo 161 of the Germans Michael and Julius Pan. And although the overall standings have shifted slightly, the lead is still held by Belgians Michel Decremer and Jennifer Hugo, in their Opel Ascona in Radio Monte-Carlo livery.
One thing’s for sure: after Saturday’s Classification Leg, a beautiful warming-up session between Monaco and Valence, this 2024 edition really drew in the big crowds on Sunday in the Ardèche and Haute-Loire departments. There were plenty of people everywhere, in the villages and along the roads, of all ages, to share the passion of old-style rallying in the sunshine, with cars you can touch and drivers you can approach easily. And there’s no risk involved, thanks to the perfect organisation and the numerous committed stewards coordinated by Automobile Club de Monaco.