We are still at Rallye des Princesses, princes among the princesses! If you missed the first epic episode you can find it here. On the road again !
Rallye des Princesses, day 1: just for fun
First day of rally, mid-afternoon, we are embarked by the police! Almost, the two Carabinieri are in fact Brigitte and Danielle.
Two over-motivated sisters-in-law for the rally. Their little Giulia, a bit rusty (literally and figuratively), leads us through the Loire region. Super villain of the 70’s were lucky because we hear the small 4-cylinder from the back seat, comfortably installed. U-turn, wrong way, that is for sure, they did not make the best time of the day, this team #75 is not here to win, but to enjoy! It is in a giggle that we pass the gate which means the end of the first day of rally. A glass of champagne in hand, we park the Giulia (without telling it to the Carabinieri who would come taking their car).
Slamming the door and small chips of tin rusty fall. This is unfortunately the Alfa Romeo disease… A good night sleep awaits us before going back on the road. The cars cool off under a deluge of June. Let’s hope that the Giulia will not have melted.
Around a large buffet in one of the Parc de Beauval Zoo hotels, we meet different teams. Two words: conviviality and adventure. All of these women are real adventurers looking to overstep the limits of their cars. That is the team #94, Mylene and Samantha discovered.. they spent all the night by the wayside after a mechanical problem. Early in the morning a motoring wizard found the right spare part and saved the team in an immense explosion of joy. It was an electronic breakdown that only two or three experts in France could manage. And one of them was on Rallye des Princesses ! What a chance ! that is rally spirit.
Day 2: back in business
In the morning, the rain stopped. The Giulia is still there, but my new ride is much bigger! Much more flashy and so much more American: the Pontiac Super Chief. Despite some taunts (yes this kind of big cars are not usual in Europe), the crew came to fight. Valérie and Christine, childhood friends are there to surpass themselves. More accustomed to market stalls than rally roads, the two friends participate in their first automobile adventure.
Titine (Pontiac nickname) is on the road again! Royally installed on the huge back seat of the Super Chief, I have space for my head and my legs! No need to choose. As you guess, the car is extremely comfortable and the atmosphere on board is unmistakable. The opening kinematics of rear window is just beautiful, we turn the crank and it pivots on itself to slip into the door! #MakeCarsBeautifulAgain.
Contrary to what we thought, the car seems stable despite its size of more than 5m and its weight around 1500kg. Valerie the pilot manages as a super chief, under the millimeter directions of Christine. The two co-drivers know each other by heart and we feel a real complicity on the road. Newly arrived from California, the Pontiac discovered with pleasure the French country roads. Caresses on the bodywork, encouragement for the engine and sweet talk, would it be the key to success?
Rally rules, a road book error and here we are on the wrong road. A quick half-lap and the automatic gearbox is stuck! The car is in the middle of the road, completely stuck! Panic, we go out to try to push the car. The manoeuvre unblocks the gearbox, a kiss on the steering wheel and we can leave after a few cold sweats. With 10 minutes late the regularity stage is done but it is with a smile that we arrive at lunch break, in the lovely Château de Peufeilhoux. The next stage will be the right one for Titine.
Day 2: la dolce corsa
Then we swap the American against an Italian… Return to Alfa Romeo with the #27 crew. The sister-in-law Linda and Carole take care of a splendid Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider red lent by the father and father-in-law of the competitors. For Alfa lovers that we are, the 2600 is a monument. It is indeed the last Alfa Romeo to have a 6-cylinder in line, and as a bonus the spider version was bodied by Touring. Hallelujah !
Rain is inviting on this stage. It begins with a closing the hood muscled session. This kind of hood designed by designers and not by engineers. 10 minutes later, two fingers stuck and a fastening hook found, it’s time to leave. On the road again!
Oops, where are the keys …? With the frenetic pace of events that ensues, how not to lose your mind? and the keys? Despite the panic that invades the two competitors, they keep a cool head and find the precious bunch.
Embarked on the beautiful Italian, Calie has found the words to boost the morale of the entire team. The regularity race finally begins. Stuck between the closed roof and the front seats, this car was clearly not designed to welcome adults in the back. Or probably only roof off. This is the perfect example of the cabriolet that received a roof at the last second.
“Oh fuck and if we sell this car in Paris, London or Hamburg, how will customers do with rain? “Let them move to the Amalfi Coast then ah ah ah” “Seriously, let’s add a hood that hangs in the workshop, it will do the work.”
Thought in the 50’s, this car is clearly a luxury car, more used to cruise on the Cote d’Azur than riding the curves in the countryside. As evidenced by the long handle that is in front of the passenger. Sheathed in beige leather, the interior exudes dolce vita. Today, it is the center of France that it explores. Between the noise of the pouring rain on the windshield, the wind that pierces the hood, it is in a merry mess that the pilots and co-drivers share the information of the road. And it works, they pick up seconds and go back to their reference time.
The exhaust of the 6 cylinder roars with each shift-down: that is the true happiness. We hear it very well because the hood is as airtight as a perforated sock. Even slowed by other competitors, we feel a car healthy and agile, even in the rain. Only its weight is felt in the tight bend. Definitely a GT car. The crew burst with joy as they passed the gate at the end of the stage. They succeeded despite the flood that was falling on their car, in general enthusiasm, we arrive at Vichy.
Day 2: back to home
This is where our paths separate. We go back to Paris and the Rallye des Princesses continues to Biarritz. To tell the truth it is with great sadness that we leave our favorite crews. These two days have been an excellent automotive and human experience.
Welcomed by passionate and warm competitors, we loved sharing their moments of doubt, sadness and joy through this unique motoring event.
Finally, through the weather and after numerous mechanical problems, all the teams we followed have finished the rally !
– 39th for Linda and Carole aboard the Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider #27.
– 45th for Florence and Patricia the Alfa Romeo Spider #83 crew.
– 61th Valérie and Christine with the Pontiac number 19!
– 66th for Mylène, Samatha and the Porsche #94.
– And 75th Brigitte and Danielle with the Giulia #60!!
Crongats to all the competitors and see you next year Zaniroli events for the 20 years of the event!
And to all those who still think that the Rallye des Princesses is a fairy tale, we invite you to watch this video.
Living a rally from the inside 🚗💦💨: we spent a whole special regularity stage with the Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider crew 🇮🇹! Aboard this splendid car coach built by Carrozzeria Touring in 1963, we passed through center of France between le Château de Peufeilhoux and Vichy @rallyedesprincesses 2018 💪🏻. This second day wasn’t easy, the soft top was difficult to close, it rained so hard and roads were windy and narrow 😵 … but a few days later, the crew finally finished 15th their very first regularity rally in Biarritz 🏆🌿. Congrats and many thanks to Linda and Calie who have put up with us and made us discover this stunning car through the pouring rain and the gasoline perfume 🍾🙌🏻 Ps: we don’t have the keys 😉