A report from Matteo Sitta – of Scuderia Estense – Motul
On Wednesday the fourteenth edition of the Rallye de Monte-Carlo Historique finished. One of the most exciting and spectacular races for vintage cars, a rally which is celebrating an important anniversary: the centenary of its first edition in 1911. With a reference to the original Rally of 1911, participants had to choose one of the three cities originating in Marrakech, Glasgow and Warsaw and converge in Monaco for the stages and special legs. The only exception was reserved for cars less than 1150cc or those before 1966, which could also leave from Barcelona or Reims, with less distance to arrive in the Principality of Monaco.
The Scuderia Estense – Motul, one of only two Italian teams present, deployed their cars with a truly unique continental presence, both for the anniversary and both for the race strategy. The first to go were Sisti & Bernini in a Lancia Fulvia Coupé HF Marrakech with more than 2600 km of approach to Monaco, then it was the turn of Wright & Traverso in an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Veloce from Warsaw, Louwman & Schulte in an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GT from Glasgow and finally the drivers and co pilots from Barcelona; Morassutti & Viola in a Lancia Aurelia B20 GT & Liberatore & Liberatore in an Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Ti.
In the aftermath of the special stages and morning departures towards Valence, with 350 km of special stages on really rough terrains and especially frozen by a heavy snowfall the day before, caused considerable difficulties for crews with many accidents and consequent failures to complete.
For the Scuderia Estense -Motul, it happened to Morassutti in the Lancia Aurelia to pay in this rally and the clutch broke and subsequently he had to withdraw. Wright kept a good pace, with Traverso making an excellent co-pilot for performance keeping up near 10th position. With an average speed although not brilliant but steady, Sisti & Bernini immediately settle around the hundredth place with some mistakes and some improvement especially on the special stages of the stage Valence – Valence of the second day here the routes were quite dry and all cars could really give their best, improving their positions.
The third day devoted to returning to Monaco, with four special stages once again on the Alpine passes and beautiful landscapes and clear skies were the perfect backdrop for a vintage car race. Wright, who had not damaged his car but unfortunately had lost several positions when really he was leading a good rally. Great expectation then was given to the last three races on the legendary Col de Turini at night: a stage over 80 km of winding roads and up hills, where the natural spectacle of the mountains, overlooking the Bay of Monaco.
Everyone has pulled their utmost to recover their positions. I anticipated the crews would do this throughout the rally and it’s really incredible the big adrenaline gives you the path: it is a mythical race and at the same time a real rally where every mistake you pay dearly. Sisti has recovered more than 30 places, finishing in 61st place overall. However, seriously damaging his car against the rock wall, Wright attempted a final blow after off-piste, with one of the best evidence that, at the end earned him then the second class and 115th overall. The debut for Louwman 133th place overall out of 250 cars to the finish. This year was tough, too bad for our two retreats, but we are already thinking about next year, this rally just ended, I repeat it now.
Back on the podium at the port of Monaco,late at night, with an exciting scenario, with cars, and smells of the past, many car accidents along with the tired but happy faces of the pilots telling once again the history of the Monte Carlo rally, even this year Scuderia Estense – Motul leaves with great satisfaction.