LEG 1: BETWEEN LAND AND SEA!
Saturday 14thMay marked the start of the 21stedition of the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille eagerlyawaited by all the competitors after a two-year hiatus caused by Covid. On a beautiful sunny Parisianday dedicated to scrutineering and administrative checks, the crowd of spectators who turned updiscovered the elegant collector cars entered by the competitors. TheParcFermé was full of beautifulmachines like the 1958 BMW 507 of the #1 crew comprising Amanda Mille and Margot Laffite. The #741985 Ferrari 308 GTB Quattrovalvole driven by SabineKäppeli and Emma Rabiller and the #19 Porsche550 Spyder from 1955 of Arielle Morin-Lescure and Camille Dalbard Martin were also among thefavourites.
This morning the Place Vendôme was buzzing with activity. It is one of the most beautiful squares inthecapital much appreciated by early risers, tourists and enthusiasts who had come to admire thecrews and their beautiful cars for the last time. At 8:30 sharp the 156 drivers and co-drivers set outamid the applause and encouragement of the early-morning onlookers. It was business as usual forsome crews who had already several participations in the rally to their name like Marie-Claire andJacqueline Le Vouedec in the #22 Porsche 911 Targa and Carole Gratzmuller and Elisa Laurent in the#41 Chevrolet Corvette C2 who have already racked up five victories. There was obviously morepressure on the rookies taking part in the regularity challenge or a rally for the very first time. The #42crew Stéphanie Florence and Aurore Mertz in their Volkswagen 11 1500 Cabriolet were not all thatconfident this morning at the start having participated in only one regularity training course. Theyadmitted to us that they were feeling “a bit stressed.”
A mixture of concentration, excitement and a touch of apprehension pervaded the ambiencesurrounding the first start of the event, which brought the crews to Le Touquet in the late afternoonafter a journey of just over 300 km. Four ZRs, (regularity zones)punctuated the crews’ day on theirway through the Picardy region, the natural regional Baie de Somme park and the Marquenterre parkwhere drivers and co-drivers could accumulate some practice and hone their skills in this challengingactivity.