First run in 1911, the Monte Carlo Rally remains a huge challenge. Tyres are crucial: drivers can start a long stage in heavy rain, climb through snow and ice and finish in glorious sunshine on the other side of a mountain.
‘Tyre choice on the Monte is critical,’ says Richard Tuthill, MD of Tuthill Porsche. ‘To better understand how our Porsche 911 will perform with the various tyre options over mixed levels of grip, we have to go testing ahead of the rally.’
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Tuthill’s Monte Carlo test took place a week before the official rally start. François Delecour and co-driver, Dominique Savignoni, then completed their pace notes on the three-day rally recce, driving the course at road speeds in normal road cars.
Shakedown takes place the day before the rally’s opening stage. The rally cars are run at speed over a stage, to check systems and make any final adjustments. As the first day approaches, a ceremonial start kicks off the proceedings, before the competitors can finally see who is quickest.
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‘Our team is flat-out for weeks before every R-GT event,’ says Richard. ‘The early test in the mountains around Monte Carlo allowed François to re-establish his feel with the Porsche R-GT on local terrain, set the car up as he likes with the changes we made over winter and then do the recce with a recent impression.
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‘The two-day test was very productive. The car ran reliably, which is always the priority. The Delecour squad did its homework and found great mountain roads, offering the full Monte mix of conditions. We ran the car over closed test routes taking in dry, wet and icy roads, trying a mix of tyre compounds and learning how each behaved inside and outside its comfort zone.
‘As our first time running on the modern Monte Carlo Rally, local support for the car and fascination with its new livery was very encouraging. Our test gave a positive impression of pace: we can’t wait to get started!’
Watch Michelin's Tuthill Porsche Monte Carlo testing video highlights below