Pink City for Princesses
From Vichy to Toulouse, the 3rd, marathon-like, stage with 500 kilometers to go through, went to the exploration of the Auvergne, Cantal, and Aveyron’s mounts, before passing by the Laguiole village. After the lunch at the Goudalie Estate, the teams set course for the West to Albi, then Toulouse to meet the aviation’s sacred monster that is the Concorde. And if at the Blagnac’s Aeroscopia the planes still snore, the city, dear to Claude Nougaro, is attiring itself more and more with pink during the Princesses’ arrival. Tonight, on the bank of the Canal du Midi generously watered, it is… Marie Périn and Edith Ragot (MINI Cooper #63) who win the stage and reassure their 2nd place on the general ranking behind the Paquiers-Euvrard’s AC Cobra, still intransigent with a 3rd place on today’s ranking. Third on the general ranking tonight in Toulouse, the Swiss Coralie Chehab and Gaäl Wacziarg (Mercedes Pagodes #40) made their way onto the provisional podium.
Out of the Box. Dorothée Charbonneau et Sandra Her were not able to start the race this morning. Victims of a gearbox failure on their Porsche 911 Targa, the Ch’Ti Princesses from the Lille region tried to replace the damaged part. Unfortunately, tit didn’t work out for these two kind teammates who will travel through the region before joining back the rally on Thursday in Biarritz for the podium ceremony and the final Gala at Château d’Arcangues.
Ill Princesses. Libera Iaffeti, the Porsche 1500 Cabrio #21’s copilot and Odile Dupuis, the Porsche 911 #56’s pilot, had to miss out on this 3rd stage between Vichy and Toulouse for illness reasons. The girls gave themselves one day to see if their health can get better in order to be at the start line of the next stage.
A Strong Commitment. Laurence Fenart and Véronique Vivier (Triumph TR3 #25) were busy around their beautiful British car, this morning in Parc des Sources. In response to mechanical issues, the team hoped to repair to slot later into the competitors’ parade. Unfortunately, the repairs took longer, disabling our brave Princesses to present themselves within the given timeframe at the start of the four TSD tests of the day. They decided to rally Toulouse by the fastest route to get back into the race starting tomorrow …
The Goudalie Estate. At the end of the two TSD zones of this 3rd stage, the whole pack had to meet at Domaine de la Goudalie (Goudalie Estate), on Muret-le-Château’s heights for a sumptuous lunch erected in a barn with an impressive ceiling and roof that is cathedral-like made in wood. On the menu: in particular, the traditional Aligot prepared by the Chef caterer of the place.
Watered Down! Announced a few days ago in the region, the thunderstorms ended up by heavily basted the crews this afternoon. Whether during the last two TSD zones, or on the A68 highway bringing them to Toulouse, and even at the finish line on the podium erected in front the Aeroscopia’s Concorde, the aviation museum in Blagnac, the Princesses were victims of a true downpour!
Fright for the 88. The 124 Spider Fiat, in the hands of Nicole Laurent and her pilot and friend Muriel Paolin, was a victim of an accident after only one kilometer in the ultimate TSD test zone of the day. Thankfully, without any harm to the crew, however, forced to wait for the organization’s mechanical assistance in order to go to Toulouse.
A sunstroke for the Healey. At the feet of the podium since the start in Paris, Caroline de Villaucourt and Inès Allard went through a misfortune they would have loved to skip on. Their Austin Healey broke down close to the exit of the first TSD zone of the afternoon… just before the ultimate the time check GPS point placed by the organizer. A sunstroke which costs them 243 penalty points…
Dorothée Charbonneau (Fra/Porsche 911 Targa #42): “Of course, Sandra and I are disappointed we have to give up. It brought us down not being able to race again this morning after the gearbox failure. But, the race is a mechanical sport and breakdowns are an integral part of the game. We have not lost our positivity so far and, we promise, we will be here in Biarritz to applaud our girlfriends on the final podium and during the Thursday night’s evening gala…"
Dominique Asperti-Boursin (Fra/Austin Healey #11): “We wanted to come to the podium to see this exceptional site dedicated to aviation. But hey, there we are soaked. We are wringing the interior of the car and frankly, we’re already dreaming of a hot shower in the hotel!”
Pauline Hoffmann (Sui/Austin MINI #95) :"Honestly, in order to describe how rainy it was: we could not see the color of the car anymore. It was a curtain made of water, impossible to see beyond the little bonnet of the car. And, for a British car, I can tell you that it is not waterproof for a penny!