Drivers Artur PRUSAK (POL) / Thierry BENCHETRIT (FRA) in their Toyota Mirai have managed to clinch the win from title holders Renault, after an endurance Rallye that saw surprises and dramas including an entire town experiencing a somewhat ironic powercut. Torrential rain marred the otherwise scenic journey through France, from Fontainebleau near Paris to Monaco in the south over a four day event. The entry list featured 34 crews who represented most of the manufacturers active in the market.
Following back-to-back victories on the Rallye Monte-Carlo ZENN (Zero Emissions, No Noise) organised by the ACM (Automobile Club de Monaco) in 2014 and 2015, Renault decided to defend its record in this unique event and were the ones to beat. For 2016, the competition was renamed the e-Rallye Monte-Carlo and featured classes for all types of energy (all-electric, hybrid, fuel cell, etc.), with the exception of 100-percent fossil fuels.
Renault entered four ZOEs to defend their title: Two for specialists Greg Jonkerlynck / Yves Munier and Aurore Ferry / Pascal Ferry, plus one for Norwegian journalist Gro Flaaten and a fourth for French bloggers Alexandre Stricher (Autocult) / Michael Torregrossa (Automobile-Propre).
Adding a touch of glamour to the event was French model and actress Adriana Karembeu, who was part of the all-lady crew in the N°2 ZOE. Karembeu is no stranger to motorsport having completed previous rallies.
At the end of a very intense last night, Polish driver Artur Prusak and French co-driver Thierry Benchetrit won the 2016 e-Rallye Monte-Carlo. They had started Leg 3 in 4th position, hoping for a podium, but managed even better; another win in Monaco for the Polish driver, who already won Rallye Monte-Carlo des Energies Nouvelles in 2013, as well as the FIA World Cup for Alternative Energies in 2015 and 2016.
Renault’s ZOEs came in second and third place overall but won the Electric Vehicle (battery EV) class. Third spot went to the Renault squad’s two bloggers in a car equipped with the new Z.E. 40 battery (250-mile / 400km range), while runner-up honours were bagged by privateers Christophe PONSET / Serge PASTOR whose ZOE was equipped with the smaller battery.
Alexandre Stricher (www.AUTOcult.fr), 3rd overall in his Renault ZOE, said:
“The level of the entry was much higher this year. The status of the e-Rallye Monte-Carlo is growing fast and the organisers served us with a genuinely challenging event. Our ZOE was equipped with the new Z.E. 40 battery and we were able to cross France without having to worry about running out of power. We prepared carefully and, with road sections of up to 240 kilometres in length, we obviously had our eyes on the satnav, but never on the battery gauge. Renault has sparked a revolution in the world of affordable electric cars and we completed the rallye ahead of models like the BMW i3, the Kia Soul, the Volkswagen E-Golf and even the Tesla S! We could have exceeded distances of 340km during the rallye and I am certain we could even exceed 400km in real-world use. That’s my personal challenge!”
Source; e-Rallye Monte Carlo & Renault