350 CARS AT THE START
Image: Alain and Sylvie Oreille, winners in 2020 put their title at stake.
With each passing day the countdown brings us ever nearer to the eagerly-awaited date. The 20th edition was a big success attracting 210 crews and the 21st edition of the Tour de Corse Historique also promises to leave its mark on everybody’s memory.
Faced with a never-before-seen number of entry requests in the history of this event from France and abroad, the organisation team of the rally has mobilised itself and deployed the necessary resources (reinforcement of the teams, multiplication of the welcome car parks, service zones, etc.) to welcome in the best possible conditions the record number of 350 entries in the three eligible categories – VHC (Historic Racing Cars), VHRS (Historic Regularity Sports Cars) and Legends (exhibition without timing).
With entries from Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, United States and France, never before have so many countries (15) been represented at the start of the Tour de Corse Historique.
SABY, BEGUIN, OREILLE, GACHE AND OTHERS
Alain and Sylvie Oreille, winners in 2020 put their title at stake, winner of the 2018 edition, Pierre-Manuel Jenot will be on the grid in his Ford Escort and victorious in 2011 and 2012 Philippe Gache will be aiming for the win in his Mazda RX7. Bruno Saby co-driven by Pascal Serre will be at the start in a Ford Capri 2300, Bernard Béguin, winner of the 1987 Tour de Corse will drive the gravel car for the 21st event and among the BMW M3s entered watch out for the one driven by Christophe Casanova, 2nd in 2020.
The field comprises numerous gentlemen drivers and major historic race regulars, but also professionals starting with the reigning winner, Alain Oreille and his wife Sylvie who triumphed last year in a Porsche 911. The former double world rally champion in Group N (1989 and 1990), winner of the 1989 WRC Tour de Corse in his works Renault 5 GT Turbo and a regular in this event in both its modern and historic incarnations, will be out to add a second consecutive victory to his laurels. Other former winners like Philippe Gache will be at the start with Vincent Landais (codriver in the WRC) alongside him in a Mazda RX7 as well as Pierre-Manuel Jenot co-driven by Slo in a Ford Escort Mk2.
Bruno Saby, a brilliant participant in the World, European and French Rally Championships, winner of the Dakar in 1993 and the Off-Road World Cup in 2005, will also return to the scene of his former exploits. The winner of the 1986 Tour de Corse WRC will combine the pleasure of historic car racing and his involvement in a cause that’s dear to his heart, the fight against cancer (www.espoir-isere-cancer.com), whose colours will be flown by his Ford Capri identical to the one in which he took part in the 1970 Tour de Corse with his father.
Another prestigious name topping the bill for the 21st edition is Bernard Béguin. Four-time French rally champion (1979, 1991, 1992 and 1993), runner-up in the European Championship in 1980, the man from Grenoble will be at the wheel of a Porsche prepared by his former tuner Louis Meznarie as a gravel car and a reminder that he won the 1987 Tour de Corse in a BMW M3 Prodrive, an event counting for the World Rally Championship at the time.
Plenty of local drivers will be at the start beginning with Christophe Casanova, second in the 2020 event, and Marc Valliccioni in their BMW M3s. They will be back to seek their revenge and climb up onto the topmost step of the podium. But don’t forget Joël Marchetti, Jean-Baptiste Botti, Youness El Kadaoui and several other Corsican drivers determined to shine on their home turf.
350 KM SPECIAL STAGES
No matter what category they are entered for, all the crews will be determined to reach the end of the new 900-km route to be covered in five days. It comprises 18 special stages including some used by the WRC: in all 350 km on closed roads and 550 km liaisons on the most beautiful roads the island of beauty has to offer
The crews will rendezvous in Porto-Vecchio on 2-3-4 October where scrutineering and admistrative checks will take place and where a warm-up will be organised. The start ceremony and the first two special stages will be held on Tuesday 5th October. The next day competitors will head for the north east of Corsica and the village of Borgo, which will host the rally for the first time. Then the route will bring them to the north west and the third stage town, Calvi, the economic and tourist capital of la Balagne, overlooked by its historic citadel. After that, off to the south of the island on the fourth day to the city of Propriano, another newcomer to this edition of the event. And finally the finish of the rally will take place in Porto-Vecchio, the third-largest commune on the island in terms of size and number of inhabitants. In the past, the town was famous for the production of salt from its marshes. Today, it is better known for its superb beaches on the edge of the Tyrrhenian sea and for hosting the historic Tour de Corse in keeping with a well-established tradition!
Marie-Ange DINI (Director of the organisation of the Tour de Corse Historique):
“We would like to say a big thank you to all the crews that have shown such great interest in our rally. Unfortunately, even in increasing the number of entries we have been unable to satisfy all the requests and we really regret this. This year we have three former winners of the event at the start as well as crews from 15 countries including four from the United States, something we’ve never seen before! All grids combined we’re seeing more and more women with seven drivers and 66 co-drivers this year. We’re also seeing more and more pronounced interest in the Tour de Corse from the younger generation usually entered for modern rallies. They’re attracted by our rally as it has the same format as the original Tour de Corse with long stages and the event is run over five days. Internationally speaking it is important to perpetuate the image of Corsica through motor sport. As the round of the WRC has disappeared from the calendar, the Tour de Corse Historique has become the only event flying the island’s colours. So it was important to maintain its fundamentals. In other words, its format with its number of special stages and its length. Despite the exceptional number of entries this year we’ve also maintained its conviviality as well as the close contact between the crews and the public that characterise our rally and make it such a unique event.”
José ANDRÉANI (Founder of the Tour de Corse Historique) :
“We want to help the maximum number of crews to have fun so we’ve accepted more entries than for the previous events. Given the record number of competitors the 21st edition has taken on a whole other dimension. Thus, we’ve deployed all the resources required and beefed up our teams at every level, controls, safety etc. I keep on saying to our teams that they mustn’t only be good; they have to be excellent and above reproach! We’re also going to be extremely rigorous from a sporting point of view and raise the awareness of all those taking part so that the rally doesn’t meet any delays and takes place in the best possible conditions for everybody. Driving time stays the same. In the stage towns we’ll have two "parcs fermés" this year instead of one as in the past. We’ve also laid on more service zones. It’s a completely different unprecedented layout. The rally’s going to invade the towns which I would like to thank for they have voluntarily adapted to this situation.”
Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 October / Porto-Vecchio
Scrutineering and administrative checks
Monday 4 October / Porto-Vecchio
Scrutineering and administrative checks, warmup
Tuesday 5 October Porto-Vecchio - Porto-Vecchio
SS 1/SS 2, finish Porto-Vecchio
Wednesday 6 October / Porto-Vecchio - Borgo
SS/3-4-5-6, finish Borgo
Thursday 7 October / Borgo – Calvi
SS/7-8-9-10, finish Calvi
Friday 8 October / Calvi - Propriano
SS/11-12-13-14, finish Propriano
Saturday 9 October / Propriano - Porto-Vecchio
SS/15-16-17-18, finish Porto-Vecchio
ELIGIBLE CATEGORIES: VHC / VHRS / LEGENDE
VHC (Historic racing cars):
- Historic competition vehicles from 1947 to 1985 that have a PTH
- Vehicles from the classic competition group between 1977 and 1981 with a three-section passport.
- Competition vehicles from the J2 period (1986 to 1990) with a PTH
VHRS (Sporting regularity historic vehicles):
- Vehicles from 1947 to 1990, choice of four average speeds (High - Intermediate - Low - Reduced)
LEGEND (exhibition without timing):
- Vehicles from 1947 onwards