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600 /CR !!! R2>
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm near Marseille for a few weeks so I'm making plans now to make the trip down to Corsica for the Rallye de France either late Friday or early Saturday morning...Would be cool to hook up with some other rally fanatics to see the stages and perhaps split lodging/car rental (my fellow art students have rather dull--i.e., nonexistent--taste when it comes to motorsports.)

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JP Rowland jeremyrowland -at- mac.com
http://homepage.mac.com/jeremyrowland
 

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600 /CR !!! R2>
Joined
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I did in fact make it down for a day, just got back to my "home" town in Provence earlier today. Only saw 2 stages but since they only run 4 a day, I didn't miss too much. I wasn't feeling too well (some sort of cold or flu) I chose two spots on the same road (SS6/8) rather than drive and hike all over the countryside.

Just a few thoughts...I read some comments once from someone else on SpecialStage that spectating the stages wasn't that much different from the States, and I'd have to agree. You drive 45 minutes out of town into the countryside, park in a little cow town and hike 1/2 a mile or more to hang out with a couple other nuts like yourself to watch the cars go by. Most people there were twenty-something French males, probably mostly from Corsica but a healthy contingent from the continent, and also a few little fanatical groups from other countries like Italy and Spain that kinda reminded me of the Polish and Irish contingents in the northeast US. Most of the marshals were kinda cool about letting people stand where they wanted, but then again, everyone pretty much chose safe locations to stand. Though, on the second pass of the stage, I went down near the start and there was the usual massive migration of stupid people walking down the hot stage after the first 10 cars went through (I'm not really sure where they were planning on going, it was the last stage of the day; maybe back to service or something.)

The cars themselves were a touch disappointing; they were not noticably faster than the top US cars/drivers. Maybe a few seconds faster over several miles; but you're not going to notice that watching them come through 2 corners. Some of the Super 1600 drivers attacked the corners more aggressively than the WRC cars; maybe they weren't as fast but they looked like they were wringing a little more out of the cars. The whole experience was not very different from a US rally, other than the tarmac surface, but then there are some tarmac stages in the US.

The real difference was the media circus spectacle that was the service area; it was unreal how much these factory teams spend on rally. I thought that in the US, Subaru and especially Mitsubishi were spending a lot on their team, but that was petty lunch money in comparison to the WRC teams. Even seeing the coverage on Speed, I was overwhelmed at the setups they brought with them. Every team built essentially a small self-sufficient village, complete with a restaurant for their crew. Not a little kiosk with a couple picnic tables, mind you, I'm talking a 200-seat enclosed building with bar and table service. BP Ford looked like they were outlaying the most money this year, with 4 cars, but it was hard to judge amidst the sea of tractor trailers. It makes me kinda wish I had skipped the second stage and just come back to watch the activity there, since that's what really made the WRC what it was compared to even the US national rallies (most of the show was over by the time I took my rental car back to the airport and took the bus back into town to catch the ferry.) Unfortunately I'm used to being a little more included in the US, either as a competitor or service crew or snagging the occasional press pass, so it was a little frustrating to be treated like another annoying spectator with a wall between us and them, but hey, whatever. Some other time, maybe I could go find the bars where everyone was hanging out afterward and swap war stories, but that's for another time I guess.

All in all, a fun experience, would have liked to stay longer but my schedule wouldn't allow it. One year I'll make it to a full rally, the Rally of Mexico looks great and cheap, and I've got my eye on the Rally New Zealand as well...

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JP Rowland jeremyrowland -at- mac.com
http://homepage.mac.com/jeremyrowland
 

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600 /CR !!! R2>
Joined
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450 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
A few of my photos (under the Rallye de France entry)...

http://www.jprowland.com/lacoste

I forgot to mention...perhaps the highlight of the whole weekend (other than witnessing Loeb's superb performance) was waiting about half an hour before the start of stage 8, and a few course marshal cars had come through already, when suddenly, with no warning, came the roar of a rally car engine and a Lancia 037 came flying through at near-full speed (followed closely by a Peugeot 206). I didn't even have time to snap off a picture, but I was quite pleased to experience something I never thought I'd have a chance to see...

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JP Rowland jeremyrowland -at- mac.com
http://homepage.mac.com/jeremyrowland
 
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