Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Rally Recon

An oncoming snowplow on a road in the Ardeche: these conditions are good!

Ten days before Christmas, Bill Richards and I set off on EasyJet to the south of France with the intention of driving the entire route of the Monte Carlo Historique. Or so we thought: the reality was somewhat different. Central and Southern France had a very significant snowfall and only about 75% of the so called ZR sections were passable and only then after we'd gone through the wretched process of fitting chains to the wheels of our little Nissan rental car. So we bumped around where we could and made notes. The Col de Turini was closed due to a rockfall. This must have been bad as the organisers have subsequently modified the rally route around this blockage. Overall it's going to be a very tough event. Some of the stages are old familiar opponents; others are new (to me, at least) and look very nasty. Very tight and slippy -some with 1200M drops to one side and no crash barrier. Scary to say the least! All of them were covered in snow and some had unplowed drifts of 2 metres. And I can't imagine the situation improving in the next four weeks -typically the snowfall is greatest in the first week in February. It's going to be interesting. Here's a brief video clip of one of the easier sections in the Ardeche:

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