From 2nd to 7th June 2018
Experience this one of a kind women’s motor sport event!
From Paris to the Beauval Zoo Park, to Vichy, Toulouse, Formigal and Biarritz
From 2nd to 7th June 2018, the 19th annual Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will once again be the most exciting women’s motor sport event of the year. From Paris to Biarritz, 90 teams will be taking the word escape literally. At the wheel of their extraordinary cars, they’ll test their skills on an all new itinerary through the Basque country.
Saturday 2 June 2018: check-in day at Paris’ Place Vendôme
In keeping with the elegant tradition, this year’s technical and administrative check-ins will be held at the legendary Place Vendôme. Throughout the day, the cars will be inspected from top to bottom and the final tips will be given to the 180 competitors. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the teams to share a delightful spring day with their loved ones, the press and the fans in an exceptional place before the thrilling adventure begins. Also in keeping with the time-honoured tradition, the opening day will conclude with the not-to-be-missed Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille cocktail party in the Grand Salon at the Pavillon Vendôme Potel & Chabot. A genuine event within the event, it’s guaranteed to be a fabulous evening and an unforgettable kick-off to a breath-taking week.
Sunday 3 June 2018: 1st leg, 320 km, 4 regularity tests
Paris – Sandillon – Zoo Parc de Beauval: from Orléans to Sologne
Bright and early on Sunday June 3rd, the 19th annual Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will hit the road. At 8:30am the 180 participants will leave Place Vendôme in the order of their numbers, warming up with an 80-kilometre adventure out of Paris and its region. The 90 teams will discover the charming countryside near Guillerval via the legendary RN20 and the first Regularity Zone (RZ) of this year’s event. Alternating between vast expanses of farmland, typical of the Essonne, and rolling hills, this first RZ will offer a fair share of challenges and traps that make the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille so irresistibly fun. Shifts in average speeds and directions will keep the participants on their toes! Then the princesses will wind their way along the tiny roads, between precious villages, gorgeous forests and peaceful farms until they reach Loiret, via the remarkable Chamerolles castle. After a well-deserved coffee break near Ingrannes, the morning’s second RZ will take the teams through the Orléans forest on a navigational dream come true where every intersection must be examined and analysed. The co-pilot’s job will be vital here! After a brief connecting leg and a total of 180 km in a single morning, the rally’s caravan will head to Sandillon for a fabulous lunch.
An enchanting luncheon at the elegant 18th century Champvallins castle.
The afternoon will be slightly shorter, with just 140 km to cover. The Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will enter the region of Sologne via a long connecting leg through Lamotte-Beuvron and the Loir-et-Cher, dappled with the department’s characteristic lakes and woods. Upon leaving Mennetou-sur-Cher, along the river by the same name, we’ll tackle two back-to-back RZ. And the treasure hunt will continue with a third RZ that resembles the morning’s hilly terrain, winding gracefully through hills and farms. However, the fourth and final RZ will be a horse of a different colour! On the outskirts of the quaint village of Dun-le-Poëlier, our navigators will step into the spotlight. Between the hairpin turns and the forks in the road, complex intersections and lack of street signs, the teams’ vocabulary will certainly expand on their way to the Beauval Zoo Park. The hotel complex which is hosting our crew is located right in the middle of the Loire Valley castle country, a stone’s throw from the famous zoo which is home to the giant pandas that are the region’s pride and joy.
Monday 4 June 2018: 2nd leg, 309 km, 4 regularity zones
Beauval Zoo Parc – Peufeilhoux – Vichy: Navigation and Castles
The princesses will leave Beauval at 8:30am. On this route, oh so familiar to the rally’s regulars, the exciting novelty will be three regularity zones they’ve never seen before! Navigation will be the key to this second day on the road together – so much so that the organisers say the team that wins this leg can claim to be the masters of regularity and queens in terms of their sense of direction. They’ll also have a serious competitive edge in the overall ranking. The morning’s first RZ is a Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille classic. Upon leaving Luçay-sur-Mâle, the princesses will weave their way through woods and hamlets along curvy roads until they reach the beautiful connecting leg past Levroux and Châteauroux. Upon their arrival in the Cher region, near Lignières, the coffee break will be a welcome respite before tackling one of the day’s biggest challenges! In the lovely land of author Georges Sand, the princesses will have to demonstrate composure and character as they embark on the day’s second RZ. With constantly changing directions, they’ll need to be vigilant so as not to get confused by their notes as they find their way forward. At the end of 174 km, the teams will stop for the night in southern Meaulne.
An authentic lunch in the courtyard of Peufeilhoux Castle, built on a rocky cliff at the end of the 15th century.
When the 19th annual Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille leaves Peufeilhoux castle, it will bypass Montluçon on a 50km connecting leg to Puy-de-Dôme where the next RZ will take place in the darling little town of La Loge. In addition to the navigational challenges, our princesses will have to deal with plenty of ups n downs on this rolling terrain. The afternoon’s agenda is spiced with motor sport thrills. Relatively short, the seventh RZ of the event introduces fresh new driving difficulties to test our princesses with hair-raising twists ‘n’ turns in the road. Juggling the hills and curves whilst maintaining a consistent pace, this is what it’s all about! And the next test will be even more so. After a quick connecting leg, the princesses will have to face an all-out paper chase. Overlooking Sioule, the intersections are as numerous as the changes in direction. Notes will be needed every 50 metres and attention to details will be key. Luckily, we’ve arranged for a rest amidst the sublime Sioule Gorges at the end of the day’s final RZ to enable our teams to recharge their ever-ready batteries before the last trek to heavenly Vichy. To our absolute delight, the Allier thermal spa region will once again welcome this year’s Richard Mille Princesses’ Rally. The cars will be on display at the Parc des Sources, while the participants relax at the Vichy-Célestins Spa and Mercure Vichy Thermalia.
Tuesday 5 June 2018: 3rd leg, 482 km, 4 regularity zones
Vichy – La Goudalie – Toulouse: Marathon Women
The first car will leave the Parc des Sources at 8am to begin this third and longest day of clever driving and a 100% fresh itinerary. Starting with a fast motorway link to the Cantal region, our princesses will stop for tea/coffee on the edge of Massiac in preparation for their first two RZ of the day. Not too much navigation, but plenty of driving skills will be needed here. RZ number one will head due south through the mountains of Auvergne. This landscape is ideal for regularity and our itinerary is particularly beautiful. During the second RZ, we’ll swing by the breath-taking Sailhant castle. Built on a basaltic spur, it protects the town of Saint-Flour where the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille passes through on its way to the morning’s second regularity test. After leaving Oradour, along the edge of a mountain overlooking the Lot’s main river, the Truyère, our competition kicks into full gear. Once again, the carefully chosen Monts du Cantal roads should showcase the most talented drivers’ skills. Then a connecting leg will take the teams through Laguiole and Espalion before reaching l’Aveyron via the charming village of Bozoul. Nestled in a natural canyon, this extraordinary town is the gateway to the Haut Rouergue region. A few km later, the caravan will stop for lunch at the beautiful Domaine de la Goudalie.
Lunch at the Domaine de la Goudalie in Rodelle, an authentic and rather unusual 19th century building
Upon leaving the Domaine de la Goudalie, the teams will dive straight into the heart of the Aveyron. The first RZ awaits them in the quaint hamlet called Planques after a lovely connecting link through the countryside. To balance the morning’s challenges for the drivers, this afternoon’s all about navigation. Particularly technique and relatively long, this is a prime ticket for which Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille holds the secret. In addition, this RZ enables us to circumvent Rodez on our way to Baraqueville and head for Camjac, where we’ll pop right into the afternoon’s second RZ. Broad and snaking its way along the rivers, it offers the lion’s share of challenges and should deliver a dazzling close to the motor sport aspects of the day. The last part of the trek is a delightful connecting leg via the motorway to Albi and Toulouse, via the outskirts to avoid rush hour traffic. Set up in the fabulous Aéroscopia museum, at the foot of the remarkable Concorde, the winners’ podium for this third leg lets us combine the magic of classic cars with the power of aeronautic prestige. There’s no doubt that after 482 km, the princesses will welcome a rest at the Radisson Blu de Blagnac and a heavenly evening of fun and feasting.
Wednesday 6 June 2018: 4th leg, 309 km, 4 regularity zones
Toulouse – L’Escaladieu – Formigal (Spain): from the Garonne to the Béarn
At 8:30am sharp, the lead car will pull out of Toulouse on a 60 km connecting leg to the precious town of Couladère. From there it’s westward ho! At the foot of the Pyrenees, the RZ will balance a blend of torturous roads and unpredictable changes in direction to keep the princesses at the edge of their seats. Without spoiling the surprise, we warn you that the Occitane landscapes are absolute show-stoppers, replete with mountains everywhere you look, although you may need to keep your eye on the road-book if you don’t want to get lost in this heaven. Luckily, the next connecting leg offers its fair share of breath-taking views. From the Ariège region to the Haute-Garonne, the road leads the ladies through the Upper Pyrenees where we’ll stop for lunch at the Escaladieu Abbey. Bu t before this well-earned break in the action, our royal caravan will have to face a brilliant RZ in the Baronnies, under the watchful eye of the Pic du Midi de Bigorre. Brimming with winding roads and rolling hills, this RZ is the ideal appetizer for the feast that awaits at the abbey’s gate!
Lunch at the 17th century Cistercian Abbey “Escaladieu”, at the foot of Mauvezin Castle.
When we leave Escaladieu Abbey, we'll start the afternoon by crossing through Bagnères-de-Bigorre. After leaving Trebons, the day’s third RZ awaits the teams. In the discreet valley of Castelloubon, in the heart of the Lavedan mountains, the clocked test will alternate between lush vegetation and buildings from days gone by. The navigation won’t be too tough, despite a few clever traps, but the driving will be extra challenging thanks to the winding, hilly roads that will take the princesses all the way to Gave de Pau. Next on the roster is a long connecting leg beside the river and through Argelès-Gazost before penetrating Val d’Azun and landing in Arrens-Marsous. In the shadow of Balaïtous Peak (3144 m), a giant challenge awaits the princesses who’ll have to climb Soulor and Aubisque passes in full-on regularity mode. The rest of the afternoon will be steeped in breath-taking landscapes, and the trek to Formigal via Pourtalet Pass provides the icing on the cake. That night we’ll stay at the sublime Hôtel Aragon Hills, the perfect place to digest the afternoon’s 130 km.
Thursday 7 June 2018: 5th leg, 290 km, 3 regularity zones
Formigal (Sp) – Bidarray – Biarritz: Mendi eta Itsas / Montagne et Mer
The final home stretch of this year’s Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille will be replete with twists and turns, including plenty of tricky ones, to keep the teams passionately engaged til the very end! The caravan will leave Spain and head toward the land of Aragon at 8:30 sharp, ready to tackle no less than three exciting RZ. Climbing down Portalet Pass will serve as warm-up for a lovely RZ between Arudy and Asasp-Arros for our princesses. Once they arrive in Aspe Valley, they’ll set a course, via a short connecting leg, for the quaint little town of Osse-en-Aspe and its abundance of torturous little roads. From there, we’ll serve up another unforgettable RZ. A rollercoaster ride up and down narrow roads across the Basque country will provide ample surprises for our teams to ensure a riveting finale. After another relatively short connecting leg, the competitors will embark on their 19th and last RZ of this year’s event in the charming town of Larrau. Once again, the royal coaches will have to muster up a healthy dose of courage and cleverness to master this feat of all feats. They will need to climb over and through four mountain passes via countless hairpin turns! The complex endeavour will begin with an ascent up Orgambidesca Pass to the chalets of Iraty. Then they’ll have to face Sourzay, Irau and Arthé Passes to reach Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. The pay off? The sublime landscapes on every horizon! Snaking its way through the mountains, the route we’ve plotted offers a final motor sport adventure worthy of the world’s most daring and talented princesses! The dénouement will include a relaxing drive to Bidarray and the luxurious Auberge Ostape where our brave teams can savour a two-hour rest, and an exquisite meal, at the onsite Porsche Museum.
This 19th edition wraps up the motor sport challenge with a treat of a trail and an elegant at the superb Auberge Ostape in Bidarray.
After this final stage in the beautiful mountains, our teams will head for balmy Biarritz where the Cité de l’Océan will provide the finish line for the 19th Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille and subsequent celebratory evening.
The Gala Night and Awards Ceremony will be held at the sumptuous Château d’Arcangues.