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RS1: Lancia gets the ball rolling!

There were plenty of people lining the roads on Saturday morning for the start of the Classification Stage of the 26th Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique between Monaco and Valence. The sun was shining, the cars were superb, and fans were treated to a beautiful three-hour parade of over 200 cars that are part and parcel of the legend of the “Monte”. As luck would have it, a Lancia Fulvia opened the show, taking over directly from last year’s victorious sister car.

There was something for everyone, with more than 220 cars produced between 1911 and 1983 by some of the world’s leading manufacturers. And the hors d’oeuvre was particularly successful: the magnificent Regularity Stage number 1, with 15.9 km to cover between Soleilhas and Castellane, overlooking Lac de Chaudanne.

At this very precise game of regularity, it was an Italian crew, made up of Fabio Loperfido and Simone Calosi, who achieved the average time closest to that set by the organisers. It was in the Lancia Fulvia 1.3 bearing number 243, which had left Monaco more than three hours and a half after another Fulvia, the number 1 of Swiss title holders Claudio Enz and Cristina Seeberger.

Tied with the Lancia in this RS1, with only 50 penalty points collected, the surprise came from a Latvian crew, Karlis Mikelsons and Normunds Vuguls, in a 1979 Mazda RX7, ahead of the Opel Ascona 400 of Belgians Michel Decremer and Jennifer Hugo, tied in 3rd place with the Fiat 128 Rally of a Greek crew.

Last but not least, a British crew, composed of David Pengilly and Mark Denham in a Porsche 911 carrying number 89, took the start of this stage in suits and bow ties. Very classy.

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