Delecour takes Tuthill 997 to Monte Carlo Rally glory
François Delecour has written himself and Tuthill Porsche into the rallying record books by winning the first ever round of the FIA R-GT Cup: the 2015 Monte Carlo Rally.
Co-driven by Dominique Savignoni, Delecour headed the R-GT classification from the very first special stage, beating his closest rival, Porsche factory driver, Romain Dumas, by 1m23.4s on Thursday’s opening 21.31-kilometre stage from Entrevaux to Rouaine.
Newly liveried in ‘Visit Romania’ colours (Delecours personal sponsor), the Frenchman built up a sizable lead over the first two days in Tuthill’s 3.8-litre Porsche 997 GT3-based R-GT car.
Heading into Friday evening, Delecour had survived incredibly icy conditions to lead Dumas’ 4.0-litre Porsche 911 GT3 by 2m30.2s, with the third R-GT Porsche 911 of Marc Duez a further seven minutes in arrears.
Thrilling the fans lining the alpine passes just north of Monaco, Delecour continued to set a searing pace through the twisting, snow-ridden stages, giving himself a comfortable cushion as the action headed to the final stage: SS15 around the infamous Col de Turini.
Delecour (a previous overall winner in the Monte Carlo Rally) ceded over 20 seconds to Dumas through the stage as Tuthill’s star ensured victory for the British firm’s R-GT car.
“This rally has been a huge challenge,” explained Delecour at the finish. “Snow and ice on the twisty mountain roads makes a great test for the driver! The final day of managing the gap to Dumas while keeping concentration was not easy.”
Victory was the first for Porsche at ‘the Monte’ since 1978, giving Delecour the R-GT championship lead ahead of the next round: the Ypres Rally in June, an event that Tuthill has tasted success in with their historic 911 rally cars.
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