French driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas won the Monte Carlo rally on Friday (27 January) in a hired Porsche Carrera, beating the factory team favourites of Lancia and Fiat.
French driver Jean-Pierre Nicolas won the Monte Carlo rally on Friday (27 January) in a hired Porsche Carrera, beating the factory team favourites of Lancia and Fiat. Observers say the Frenchman's unexpected victory is likely to arouse fresh public interest in the world's best known rally, which has long been dominated by highly professional factory teams.
SYNOPSIS: In the Turini pass on the eve of his victory Jean-Pierre Nicolas was well cut in front.
For the past two days he had been leading the Renault driver by his countryman, Jean Ragnotti.
Right behind him was another Renault, this one driven by another Frenchman, Guy Frequelin, who was also making good work of the snow.
The snow, in fact, had proved too much for the more powerful Fiats, like this one driven by West Germany's Walter Rohrl.
Like the Lancias, the Fiat found the snow and ice, which was a feature of this year's rally, heavy going. The organisers of the rally, however, were delighted with the snow. They said it made this year's event more interesting.
The next day coming into Monaco, there was no holding Nicolas back and his Porsche arrived at the finish line a popular victory. It was his first win in 12 attempts.
Although it turned out well for Nicolass and his co-driver Vincent Lavaerne, the two almost missed out on the rally because of the shortage of cash. Only last-minute sponsorship by cigarette company enabled them to hire their Porsche.
Coming in second was tenacious Renault Five Alpine driven by Jean Ragnotti. He and his co-driver, Jean-Marc Andrie, were just under two minutes behind the Porsche.
Yet another Renault filled third place, that of Guy frequiling and his co-driven Jacques Delaval. They were just under three minutes behind Nicolas and gave French drivers the first three places in this years's rally.
For the Renault teams it was cause for celebration. Although under-powered compared with the highly-changed Lancias and Fiats, their small cars had performed much better under the icy conditions.