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The Absinthe Road
In the aftermath of the first nocturnal stage between Sochaux and Malbuisson, the crews of this 63rd Neige & Glace Rally have returned to the north for a loop in the heart of the Doubs, along the Swiss border not far from the famous Chemin de l ' Absinthe (the absinthe road). A 2nd stage rather copious with not less than seven TR to swallow, but made terribly indigestible by a capricious weather. On a particularly changing surface alternating melting snow and white and black ice, the day was marked by many incidents of course, fortunately without damage for most crews. Tonight at the end of this second stage, despite an impressive edge fault that earned them the lead in the roadside, Christophe and Anne Baillet (Porsche 911 n ° 33) Category Historical, at the nose and the beard of all the Belgian favorites announced. They are also ahead of Romuald Sanseigne and Florian Fornassier (Fiat Cinquecento Abarth n ° 87), who are very active (4 partial wins) on their lands before being penalized for excessive speeding. Without this error ... of youth, it is even the entire Sanseigne family that would have dominated the ordeal at the end of this second act, since Joel and Corinne (Lancia Delta HF n ° 1) retain the head of the Category dedicated to four-wheel drive vehicles ...
The “grandma” had no more juice. Loyal competitor of the event and multiple winner of the classification devoted to the oldest cars, the wonderful Porsche 356 Pre A of the Belgians Michel Closjans and Robert Rorife refused to start this morning departing Malbuisson. In question ? A defective alternator, unfortunately obliged the crew to give up this 2017 edition.
Pesca' and the 'Captain Hook' trick. Rescued by the Gabrielle couple (Julien and Dominique - Posrche 911 SC n ° 37), Sunday in the first TR of the rally, Henri Pescarolo and Michel Perin, played their spirit 'rally-raid' by helping their saviors of the previous day, left at the fault to finish down of the road and immediately followed closely by the Peugeot 205 GTI n ° 60 of Jean-Louis Herbeth and Thierry Seichepine. After pulling the little lioness, the legendary duo wanted to do the same for the Porsche, but the towing hook let go ...
24 crews caught be speed cameras! No less than 24 crews were penalized this evening by the race management and the commissaires' panel for excessive speeds in zones limited to 30 km / h. Let us hope that a good remonstrance in the daily briefing and that the points of penalties applied proportionally to the general classification at the end of this 2nd stage, will be enough to calm everyone!
Kronos always starts strong! Leader in the evening of the first stage in 2016, Marc Van Dalen and Julien Minguet (Ford Escort RS2000 n ° 40 gave another go at it this year: taking first place in the first stage of the night on Sunday. “Julien was mistaken in navigation and then I got off the road on the next TR, "says the former racing manager of Team Kronos who led Sebastien Loeb to his third world title in the WRC in 2006. "It's a repeat of history, last year we started at fault too, but we’re having so much fun at the wheels of this 30 year old car, whose engine is still in its juice ... and whose 115 horse powers have, over time, had to transform into 115 donkey powers. This Neige & Glace is really the perfect formula for driving pleasure and conviviality. A concentrate Of TR sports with extraordinary moments of conviviality during lunch or dinner ... It is the opposite of Monte Carlo ... »
Delta ... training. Always leaders of the category 4x4, this evening at the end of the 2nd stage, Joel and Corinne Sanseigne (Lancia Delta 16s n ° 1) nevertheless offered themselves some fears at the wheel of their new 'bomb'. What's more normal, when one passes from an Autobianchi to one of the most iconic race cars of the time Group B in rally of the championship of the world!
Patrick Zaniroli (Fre / Organizer): "We have had particularly tough race conditions today. Problems occurred on two TRs with vehicles blocking the road. Fortunately, we were able to find sportingly equitable solutions for all. I would like to remind everyone to be especially vigilant for speed checks in dangerous areas. It is about the future of our discipline and the responsibility of each. Halfway through the event, we live an exciting rally at every level. Tomorrow the loop in the Swiss Jura will still spice up all this with an appointment held on the ice circuit at Bullet. We had to fight hard for several hours, but we managed to maintain this TR, despite the thaw that is beginning in the region. I sincerely believe that we are going to have two very spectacular last stages ... "
Joël Sanseigne (Fra / Lancia Delta n ° 1): "Frankly, we have a hard time getting used to the Lancia Delta. It is a world of difference with the Autobianchi. It is much harder to stall with such a brutal car. It's exciting, but sometimes it's a bit scary. This will teach me to take my wife's car for shopping ... "
Romuald Sanseigne (Fra / Fiat Cinquecento n ° 87): "We would have been disappointed if we had not succeeded in our region. Here we know all the roads by heart, this gives us an obvious advantage. Without this penalty, we would have been leading the rally. It's a shame, but you have to stay grounded. The main contenders for victory play on the length. And even if we can consider that we are at the halfway point, this Rallye Neige et Glace is still very long ... "
Erik Van Peer (Bel / BMW 2002 TII n ° 20): "It's amazing what conditions were difficult today on the road. At times we were so shaken in the car that I thought we had punctured a tire or broken a suspension. Sometimes the snow embarks without you being able to react, it's incredible, I had never known that, but it is also what we come to seek on this test which remains, in my eyes, the reference, of sports… difficulty."