Day 1: Sunday Chantilly (F) to Plombières-les-Bains (F) After leaving Chantilly on Sunday morning the route heads due east for regularity sections in the Champagne region. Moving further east brings competitors to the rolling hills of Lorraine – a new area for the Winter Challenge, and one that may well introduce competitors to the first snow of the event. We spend our first night in the spa town of Plombières-les-Bains.
Day 2: Monday Plombières-les-Bains (F) to Montreux (CH) Continuing east from Plombières-les-Bains the route soon enters the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. This range of mountains along the French / German border has long been a favourite area for the Winter Challenge. The dark, pine forested slopes of these mountains hide pretty villages, which if it snows, look a real picture. The roads too, provide the first real challenge and we’ll be using the old favourites as well as some new ones.
From the Vosges we turn south towards the totally different terrain of the Jura Mountains. These bare ridges running parallel with the Swiss border always seem to catch the snow if there is any around and many a rally has been won and lost in this area. We end the day with a night halt, just over the Swiss border at Montreux overlooking Lake Geneva with the French Alps in the distance – that’s where you are going tomorrow.
Day 3: Tuesday Montreux(CH) to Aix-les-Bains (F) The use of Montreux as a night halt gives us the opportunity to encircle Lake Geneva and re enter France from a totally new direction.
Needless to say a tough day lies ahead exploring many of the roads and passes south of the lake before returning to a Winter Challenge favourite – Aix-les-Bains – for a nights rest. However, there will not be as much rest for the “Masters”. After an early evening meal they will be returning to their cars for a further “night loop” in the mountains surrounding this traditional Monte- Carlo Rallye halt.
Day 4: Wednesday Aix-les-Bains (F) to Acqui Terme (I) Today we enter another new country - Italy. Before we get there we have many roads to explore in and around the valley of the Isère. Going to Italy enables us to use some old favourite routes as well as bringing in some new territory before crossing the Italian border. In the afternoon, a cross country run past Turin precedes further regularities in the vine-clad hills south of Alba before the overnight halt in the spa town of Acqui Terme.
Day 5: Thursday Acqui Terme (I) to Sanremo (I) Yesterday’s run south leaves us well placed for to make full use of the roads in the coastal mountains of Liguria – they may be well known to Italian rally drivers but it is brand new territory for us.
By drawing on the knowledge and experience of the Sanremo Rally organisers we are confident that we will give you a day to remember. And just when they thought it was all over the masters will have to drag themselves from the comfort of their hotel in Sanremo to enjoy another “night loop” – this time over some classic Sanremo stages.
Day 6: Friday Sanremo (I) to Monte-Carlo (MC) A leisurely breakfast and relaxed start will give you all the opportunity to clean the car before enjoying the short drive along the coast to finish on Monte-Carlo harbourside.
All information is correct at time of going to press (Dec 05) but changes may be made. The programme for the event will be included in the Event Regulations.