All's well that ends well. One of the most followed, watched and admired cars of the 25th Monte-Carlo Historic Rally, the 1970 Lancia Fulvia 1.3 S, perfectly driven by a Swiss duo, Claudio Enz and Cristina Seeberger, finally won, adding a new line to the Italian marque's palmarès in the Principality. It was in fact the fourth victory for a Lancia in the historic version of the Rallye Monte-Carlo, after those of 2002, 2005 and 2018. And each time it was a Fulvia, as in 1972 in the World Rally Championship, which did not yet carry the WRC label. This was after Louis Chiron's victory in 1954 with a Lancia Aurelia and before the epic of the Stratos, 037s and other Deltas that won a further 11 victories between 1975 and 1992.
In this 2023 edition, there were many Lancias and the fans crowded along the roadsides and in the villages were left speechless. Particularly noteworthy was the car of the Enz-Seeberger tandem, dressed in red with a black bonnet, as in the great era. He also distinguished himself for his precision in the regularity stages, always being in the lead and well placed for the final victory on Tuesday evening on the Col de Turini.
"We did not expect such a result, so we are very happy," said Enz, 32, in perfect Italian on the final podium. "I had a perfect car, a very good co-driver, we did what we had to do and everything ended well," added the Swiss driver, who won in his sixth participation in the event and left Turin last week with a 28-year-old co-driver who helped him very well. In total there are 17 victories for Lancia in Monaco, including 13 in the Rallye Monte-Carlo and four in its historic version, a series that is still ongoing.
A closer look at the official general classification of this 25th edition, validated on Wednesday at noon by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACM), shows that eclecticism is the order of the day, with an incredible variety of legendary marques: there are 11 different marques in the first eleven places, and even 12 in the Top 15, as Lancia places three models and Ford two. A special mention for Porsche, which took five stage victories out of the 16 contested, thanks to four different models.
Among the two Fords in the Top 15, out of more than 270 entries and 232 finishers, is the Ford Capri 2300 S that Bruno Saby drove for an entire week. Winner in 1988 with a Lancia Delta HF, the ever-popular Bruno, who had no shortage of anecdotes, was hailed as a hero wherever this rally stopped, and deservedly so. He also finished 4th overall, out of over 200 entries, because when such a driver takes part in a Rallye Monte-Carlo, it is rarely to make up the numbers.
Another former winner, Jean-Claude Andruet, also revived nostalgic memories at the wheel of a superb Alpine-Renault Berlinette, almost identical to the one he won in 1973, exactly fifty years ago. It was indeed a Historic Monte Carlo Rally, to all intents and purposes, and the prize-giving ceremony, on Wednesday evening from 8.30pm, could only take place at the Sporting de Monte-Carlo, in the Salle des Etoiles. Like the myriad of stars that shone in the eyes of the drivers, co-drivers and rally enthusiasts, in the cars, along the roads and in all the villages they passed through, during a week of shared happiness.