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IN THE HELVETIANS' LAND ...
Before the final stretch on Wednesday in the Pontarlier and Malbuisson region, the crews of this 63rd Rallye Neige & Glace have crossed the border to compete most of the 3rd stage in the Swiss Jura with, as icing on the cake , a spectacular pass on the Bullet ice circuit. Sensations guaranteed before the fondue Savoyarde served at the top of the pass of the Vue des Alpes. A little more chaotic, following multiple incidents of journey in a dense fog, the afternoon was difficult to start, delaying substantially the return of the peloton. Tonight in Malbuisson, there are two new teams who lead the rankings. Triple winner of the event, Yves Deflandre and Eddy Gully (Porsche 911 n ° 21) take the hand in a Historical category where only 40 points separate the first 5 crews in the overall standings and where the ultimate stage of this Wednesday promises us a panting final. Despite a fright in the TR13, Bernard Figuière and Cédric Pirotte (Lancia Delta n ° 5) will open the final stage of the rally in the 4x4 category.
Reuter give up in the box. A fault of cross and several maneuvers and reversing overcame the gearbox of the Porsche 914/6 of the Belgians Daniel Reuter and Robert Vandervorst. The winners of the 2013 edition had to give up death in the soul ...
Roller coaster ... on ice. The real highlight of this day spent in Switzerland, the Bullet ice circuit made a sensation for the crews. A real roller coaster, it was also the cause of a few cold sweats. Congratulations to Pierre Gary and Danièle Blumenthal (Porsche 924 C n ° 86) who, in these conditions of track and despite the abundant traffic, achieve the perfect zero at the end of the three loops of confirmation of their reference time.
Gentlemen perched on piles of snow. Robert Poux (BMW TII n ° 31) had probably imagined a whole other scenario on the circuit of Bullet. Preceded in the starting line by the Lachenal-Wunderli-De Zorezi (Ford Escort RS2000 No. 58) crew, he asked these ladies to step forward in order to prevent them from interfering with his performance. On his second lap, the pilot of the 'béhème' badly deceived himself by trying to pass the Escort to land on an imposing wall of snow. A privileged spectator of the action alongside Henri Pescarolo (Porsche 911 n ° 22), Michel Perin, a great friend of Robert Poux, needed a good lap to recover from his laugh!
The benefits of the joker. Each day, on this Rallye Neige & Glace, the teams benefit from three jokers. Given that the fifty arrivals dispatched on the TRs of the stage, the three worst arrivals are automatically erased, leaving to the competitors a small margin of security always welcome ...
The Julliens had the luxury to pass over great wine! A little point (a second): this is what separated this morning from Malbuisson, Axel and Sandrine Jullien (BMW 325 IX n ° 6) of the third place of the provisional podium in category 4x4 on this 63rd Rallye Neige & Glace. As a result, the couple had set out for the Citroën BX GTI n ° 3 by Jean-Christophe Sibelya and Karim Jeribi, responsible for the Bertaud Belieu vineyard estate. "It's exciting to live a rally on the wire with such minimal gaps," Axel enthused after lunch. "Sandrine and I perform several events during the year and especially on ice circuits, such as Serre Chevalier where we recently had a very good performance. It is obvious that in the cockpit, everything is set like music paper, although sometimes the tone rises a little. Moreover, when we are in rally, we do not wear our alliances because otherwise they would fly too often through the window! Tonight in Malbuisson, it was not the case, since taking 28 points to their closest opponents, Axel and Sandrine were already on the podium ...
Patrick Zaniroli (Fra / Organizer): "We have just lived a new stage full of twists and turns. This little getaway to Switzerland has not been easy, neither for the organization nor for the crews. If the TR of the ice circuit of Bullet has earned us some beautiful stunts, it also played an important role in the classification, especially in the 4x4 category. As for the Historicals, as expected, the final day promises to be very tight. The discrepancies between the first 5 are minimal and so it is still possible to play until the last of the 7 TRs registered in the program. In this context, the very last TR of Rochejean will play, as always, a decisive role for the final victory! "
Cédric Pirotte (Bel / Lancia Delta n ° 5): "Bernard and I are particularly happy to take the lead, even though the day was full of thrills. A blockage in a snow wall on the circuit, then a road exit by crossing a police vehicle in the TR 13: frankly, I think we are not too bad. In any case, much better than many other crews. Tomorrow it will be necessary to open the road in serenity, because our adversaries do not really seem to give up ... "
Yves Deflandre (Bel / Porsche 911 n ° 21): "As always on this Neige & Glace, everything will be played on the last day. It would have been convenient for me that the young Sanseigne and Fornassier took another a small penalty today. They are really impressive. It will be necessary to stay focused until the end to obtain a 4th victory on this rally ... "
Stéphane Caillet (Fra / Peugeot 504 C V6 n ° 41): "This is our first trip to Switzerland and, frankly, we had a fantastic time. The first TR was perfect and the circuit was a real treat. It's great to be able to let go a little in piloting. And then Valerie, my co-pilot did not have much to do because there was no note to read ... "
Jean-Pierre Anciaux (Bel / Volvo Amazon # 32): "We were not far from the head in Historical this morning. But this morning in Switzerland was fatal. A flagrant lack of traction prevented us from passing a rib on the first TR of the day. Same on the circuit, where we were forced to short-cut the course. In short: we are plunged back into the depths of the ranking ... "