Vérification & Prologue
From Villard… we kick things off!
Clear blue skies were shining over Villard de Lans for the 64th Snow & Ice Rally’s technical and administrative check-ins. Bathed in sunlight, the Place Mûre Ravaud, which serves as the secure car park, radiated increasingly positive energy as the 85 teams pulled their officially approved classic cars into their spots. The spectators were as admirative as they were intrigued to see so many historic vehicles lined up at the foot of the podium. The night before the first leg of the rally, a 6km prelude got things rolling round the bend to determine the order of the starting line-up for the 2018 edition, which promises to be breathtaking in every way.
Courbis, Ansiaux and Figuière take the lead. Plotted across 6 km from Les Arriberts to Les Cochettes through the charming towns around Villard de Lans, the night-time prelude to the 64th Snow & Ice Rally was beautifully snow-dusted and copiously garnished with fans who were as enthusiastic as they were numerous. Given the traffic jams created by the many competitors who got stuck in the ‘ice trap’, the organizers decided to look only at the first two of the four check point times to calculate their verdict. The cleverest players were Hervé and Isabelle Courbis with their magnificent Alpine #53, closely followed by the Belgians Marc Van Dalen and Julien Minguet (Ford Escort #35) and their fellow countrymen Jean-Pierre Ansiaux and Benjamin Javaux (Volvo Amazon #29, 1st low average speed). Fifth in the overall prelude ranking and first of the 4x4s, the Franco-Belgian duo Figuière-Pirotte (Lancia Delta Integrale #1) will open the road on Monday for the 1st leg of the rally which will begin on the icy race track in Lans-en-Vercors.
France Bleu Isère live coverage. Official media partner of this 64th Snow & Ice Rally, the radio France Bleu Isère will broadcast live reports and interviews throughout the three-day event. Watch the podcasts online at www.francebleu.fr
22 Belgians back in the act! The Belgians, Snow & Ice Rally’s top foreign contingent, will surely rank among the top performers once again this year. Despite the imminent challenge of the Boucles de Bastogne, a key event in the Belgian motor sport calendar which takes place next Saturday in their neck of the Ardennes region, no less than 22 teams from the flatland made the trek to join our 2018 edition.
Pescarolo-Périn: a powerful pair. A regular at this annual event, Henri Pescarolo has stopped counting how many times he’s joined in the fun. ‘Mr Le Mans’ will once again partner with Michel Périn, his renowned co-pilot for the past three years, four-time Dakar winner and in the running for the title in South America just last week. This dynamic duo will be riding in their Posrche 911 prepared by Team Franc-Comtois.
A tribute to Thomas. Quadruple winner of the Snow & Ice Rally, current owner of the title and winner of the Trophée des Alpes last September, the Belgian Yves Deflandre had his heart set on teaming up with his friend Patrick Sorel at the wheel of their Volvo Amazon to pay tribute to Thomas Sorel, a huge Snow & Ice fan and participant who sadly and suddenly passed away a little over a year ago.
Garosi’s revenge. Serge Garosi, former French road rally champion has joined this 64th Snow & Ice Rally at the wheel of his trusty rotary engine Mazda RX2. One of the top candidates for for last year’s Trophée des Alpes winners’ podium, the prize slipped through his fingers due to a navigational error on the last Regularity Zone. The Frenchman from Cavaillon is back to avenge his ill fate and show his Belgian adversaries who’s the boss!
A 65 year old ancestor! Sporting the number 30, Jean-Louis Vial’s Panhard Dyna X86 is a real eye-catcher. This 65 year old vehicle is the eldest competitor in the 2018 Snow & Ice Rally. It’s a heck of a challenge for this grandma’s team but they’re determined to bring her to the top of these legendary snow-covered hills.
Bertaud Belieu as loyal as ever. In keeping with the past 7 years, the Domaine Bertaud Belieu is once again a dedicated partner of the Snow & Ice Rally. This famous Gassin vineyard supports our teams every step of the way. In addition to the open bar that whets everyone’s whistle at each evening briefing session, the Domaine Bertaud Belieu, represented on the road by the CEO Jean-Christophe Sibelya (Citroën BX GTI #4), will quench everyone’s thirst all night long at the closing ceremonies this Wednesday.
Patrick Zaniroii (French/Organizer): “After ten years in the Doubs and Jura, we decided it was time to revisit the Snow & Ice Rally’s roots. This homecoming in the Vercors, at the gates to the Alps, offers breath-taking landscapes along a never-before-seen route that includes legendary climbs like the Menée and Echarasson Passes, where the most exhilarating pages of our event’s history were written. Another exciting novelty this year is the daily Regularity Zones on the Lans-en-Vercors’ icy race tracks, and the ultimate challenge of the Serre-Chevalier loop. Despite the jam-packed calendar of thrilling motor sport events, the turnout is impressive and ensures a stellar fight to the finish line amidst unpredictable weather and road conditions, making the choice of tyres detrimental.”
Yves Deflandre (Belgian/Volvo Amazon #32): “In addition to paying tribute to Thomas Sorel, Eddy and I will will do our best to bring this Volvo Amazon as high as we can in the Snow & Ice rankings. It’s a beautiful human and motor sport challenge we’ve undertaken, especially since we know we’ll have a tough time keeping up with the Porsches and the other sports cars as we attempt to climb the steep, slippery cliffs.”
Henri Pescarolo (French/Porsche 911 #37): “The Snow & Ice Rally is one of my favourtite events and I’m always thrilled to partake in this brilliant masterpiece orchestrated by the Zaniroli clan. It’s a great, wonderful event. And since Michel and I have not been very lucky in recent years, we hope Lady Lucky will be on our side this time!”
Marc Van Dalen (Belgian/Ford Escort #35): “This is our 3rd time in the Snow & Ice Rally and it’s always a joy, even if this year we’ll be zipping off to the Boucles de Bastogne immediately afterward, in the same car next weekend. It will be an impressive marathon that several teams will be attempting. During the last two editions we were in the lead at the end of the first day, and although our priority is just to have fun, we will try to be in the top 5 overall this time!”