‘Ice spies’ help the win­ning Bel­gian team on the road to vic­tory in Monte Carlo

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Out & About -

An Opel Ascona 2000 driven by the Bel­gian team of Michel Decre­mer and Yan­nick Al­bert has won this year’s Ral­lye Monte Carlo Historique.

The win­ners took the lead af­ter the sixth stage, but lost time fol­low­ing en­gine trou­ble in the 13th stage. How­ever, they made up time in the fi­nal stage man­ag­ing to keep their near­est rivals at bay.

Decre­mer – who was fourth in 2016’s rally – and Yan­nick fin­ished the last stage ahead of two Ital­ian pairs, Gian­maria Aghem and Diego Cu­mino in a Lan­cia Ful­via Coupé 1200, and Gian Mario Fon­tanella and Ste­fano Scrivani in a Fiat 128 Rally.

The win­ning team was one of four sup­ported by CarCave, a Bel­gian com­pany run by petrol­heads that com­bines stor­age and restora­tion fa­cil­i­ties with the sup­ply of clas­sic and sports cars. Seven times Bel­gian cham­pion and Euro­pean rally cham­pion Pa­trick Sni­jers and CarCave’s Roel Gerearts scouted ahead on the rally route and re­ported icy con­di­tions and other po­ten­tial haz­ards to their teams.

Fa­ther and son hope­fuls Gor­don and David Glen fin­ished 224th in a 1978 Opel Kadette GTE, just ahead of Philip Swain and David Green in a Ford Es­cort RS2000 MkI. Pa­trick Ha­ley and Michael Hy­rons in a Mini Cooper S – the very car Paddy Hop­kirk drove to sixth in the 1967 Monte – fin­ished 230th. Ranald White and Karsten Brown were placed 169th in their Rover 2000 SC.

The 20th Ral­lye Monte Carlo Historique had start­ing points in Bad Hom­burg (Ger­many), Barcelona (Spain), Copen­hagen (Den­mark), Lis­bon (Por­tu­gal), Pais­ley (UK), Reims (France), and Stock­holm (Swe­den) and around 300 teams took part. Each stage is ap­prox­i­mately 18.5 miles long and teams have to keep to an im­posed speed to the best of their abil­i­ties – ev­ery minute counts with time penal­ties in­curred for late ar­rivals.

Ev­ery minute counts late ar­rivals in­cur time penal­ties


ABOVE Rally Monte Carlo Historique 2017 out­right win­ners Yan­nick Al­bert and Michel Decre­mer cel­e­brate with their Opel Ascona 2000.

RIGHT The win­ning Opel Ascona 2000 – car num­ber 25 – coped with this year’s Historique’s treach­er­ous con­di­tions thanks to some valu­able ‘gen’ pro­vided by CarCave’s ‘ice spies’.

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