Image: Tour de Corse Historique 2022
As proof of the fame of the historic Tour de Corse in France and on the international stage, it took the organiser only a week after the official opening date for entries on 16th January 2023 to allocate the 380 places available to crews participating in the 23rd event.
The Tour de Corse Historique is recognised as one of the most prestigious rallies for historic cars and it again confirmed its renown among French and foreign crews. Like the previous edition that set a new historic record for the number of participants, this year another 380 cars divided up into three eligible categories VHC (Historic Racing Cars), VHRS (historic cars, sporting regularity) and Legend (on show no timing) will set off along the roads of the Ile de Beauté from 7th to 14th October.
Like the previous editions, the rally will be run over a new itinerary of 1000 kilometres. On the schedule are 18 timed special stages, some of which have been used by the famous round in the world rally championship, spread over five consecutive days racing: a total of 395 kilometres on closed roads in alternation with almost 570 kilometres of liaison sections set against a backdrop of dreamlike decors that only Corsica can offer its competitors.
The organiser is expecting crews from fourteen countries (Germany, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and France). Among them are several gentlemen drivers and regulars in the major historic events. And also former well-known professional drivers, some of whom are ex-champions and winners of the original race, whose participation has helped to make this rally a legendary event.
In the 2021 edition, the organiser noticed that a growing number of young crews from modern rallying had decided to take part in the Tour de Corse Historique to discover a new format and a different universe. This growing trend has since been confirmed!
The Tour de Corse Historique really aims to be a marvelous moment of sharing, transmission and conviviality between the public, illustrious greats from rallying and amateur drivers all generations combined gathered together around common values: a passion for the motor car, competition, authenticity, mutual help and get-togethers.
WELL-KNOWN DRIVERS AT THE START
Give honour where honour is due so first of all let’s mention the reigning winners: Alain Oreille co-driven by his wife Sylvie who finished first in the 2022 event at the wheel of a Porsche 911. After having already triumphed in the 2020 edition, the former double World Rally Champion in Group N (1989 and 1990) and winner of the 1989 Tour de Corse WRC in his Renault 5 GT Turbo and a regular participant in this event in both its modern and historic incarnations, will be determined to add a third victory to his laurels.
But up against them are numerous crews also gunning for victory in the 23rd Tour de Corse Historique.
Romain Dumas, victorious in the 2016 edition, is back this year in a Porsche, a brand for which he has been a works driver since 2004. After a brilliant career in single-seaters, the Frenchman has built up an impressive set of results in endurance including two outright victories in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi and then Porsche. He has also won the other great classics of this discipline like the 24 Hours of Spa, the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring as well as the 12 Hours of Sebring. He proved his versatility behind the wheel when he tackled the greatest hill climb in the world, Pikes Peak, which he has won four times and he still holds the record for the climb. He also shone in the Dakar as well as in the French Rally and Cup Championship. Dumas will be back on the roads of Corsica in October and he’s teaming up with another great name in motor sport, Denis Giraudet. He was Didier Auriol’s former co-driver in the world rally championship credited with five victories in this discipline including the Tour de Corse in 1995, before winning the European Rally Championship title in 1996 with Armin Schwarz.
Christophe Vaison, double French Rallycross champion and winner of several ice races as well as being as much at home on asphalt, will also be back on Corsican roads on which he won in 2014 and 2015 in his Lancia 037.
Many local drivers will also be at the start beginning with Patrick Bernardini (2-time French Rally Champion in 1994 and 1995), who entered last year with his daughter, Carla. They will again be taking part in 2023 at the wheel of a BMW M3 entered in the J2 category. As will Thomas Argenti, reigning winner in the J2 category, and also Anthony Agostini, victorious in the 2021 edition, and Olivier Capanaccia. They are all intent on shining on home turf!
The VHRS category (historic cars, sporting regularity) also promises some great duels. Among those entered is 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. He too will return to the scene of his former exploits. The winner of the 1986 Tour de Corse WRC at the wheel of the iconic Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 Group B will combine the pleasure of historic car racing with 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 2300, identical to the one in which he took part in the 1970 Tour de Corse with his father.
Note that the entrants in VHRS will set off first on the opening stage (Tuesday 10th October). Then it’ll be the turn of the VHC entries to start first on the following days.
395 KM OF SPECIAL STAGES
No matter what category they are entered for, all the crews will be determined to reach the end of the new 1000 km plus route (395 km on closed roads and almost 570 km liaison sections) of which almost 60% has been renewed. In other words, five days rallying on the Ile de Beauté’s most beautiful roads including a total of 18 special stages to be contested including a long one measuring 42,678 km!
Rendez-vous on 7-8 October in Porto-Vecchio for scrutineering and administrative checks. On Monday 9th after the warm-ups there will be an apéritif to welcome all the participants and the first evening of the event will be celebrated with a fireworks display.
The starting ceremony and the first three special stages will take place on Tuesday 10th October. The next day, the competitors will head on to the North-East of Corsica to the village of Borgo and the parc fermé at the Lucciana airport emulating the WRC, and not the Borgo sporting complex like the previous years. Then the Tour cavalcade will go 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 of the rally to the city of Propriano.
Finally, the 23rd edition will finish 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 salt 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!
Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th October / Porto-Vecchio
Administrative and technical checks
Monday, October 9 / Porto-Vecchio
Tuesday, October 10 / Porto-Vecchio - Porto-Vecchio
SS 1: Kamiech - Col de Bavella (19.025 km)
SS 2: Levie - Carbini (7.518 km)
SS 3: Col de Bacino - Borivoli (11.075 km)
Finish Terre-plein de la Marine
Wednesday, October 11 / Porto-Vecchio - Borgo/Lucciana
SS 4: Ventiseri - Serra di Fiumorbo (27.584 km)
SS 5: Tallone - Pietra di Verde (42.678 km)
SS 6 : Casalta - Prunelli di Casacone (26.477 km)
Finish at Parking CCI - Bastia-Poretta Airport
Thursday, October 12 / Borgo/Lucciana - Calvi
SS 7 : Ponte Novo - San Lorenzo (25.983 km)
SS 8: Pont de Castirla - Taverna (13.864 km)
SS 9: Novella - Olmi Capella (27.092 km)
SS 10: Speloncato - Muro (24.878 km)
Finish at Parking de l'Ortacce
Friday, October 13 / Calvi - Propriano
SS 11: Notre Dame de la Serra - Fango (28.432 km)
SS 12: Galeria - Curzo (27.203 km)
SS 13: Place du Liamone - Calcatoggio (12.382 km)
SS 14: Albitreccia - Stiliccione (29.716 km)
Finish Port de plaisance
Saturday, October 14 / Propriano - Porto-Vecchio
SS 15: Sollacaro - Bicchisano (16.733 km)
SS 16 : Petreto - Aullene (19.348 km)
SS 17: Zerubia - Pont d'Acoravo (20.716 km)
SS 18: Chialza - Orone (14.160 km)
Finish Terre-plein de la marine
VHC / VHRS LEGENDE
VHC (Historic Racing Cars):
- Historic competition vehicles from 1947 to 1985 with a PTH.
- Vehicle from the classic competition group from 1977 to 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 1996, choice of four average speeds (High - Intermediate - Low - Reduced).
LEGENDE (exhibition without timing):
- Vehicles from 1947 onwards.
As is the case every year, the Tour de Corse Historique will support two associations: Handi Rallye Passion (www.handirallypassion.fr) and Espoir Isère against cancer (www.espoir-isere-cancer.com).