Rallye La Rochelle, 2016

I’ve had a great couple of motorsport photography weeks. Last week I was in the Welsh forests for the UK round of the WRC, The Wales Rally GB. This week I’m in South West France for the Rallye La Rochelle, 2016.

I made the 900km road trip with Mrs S & 2 friends for a well earned long weekend break. It just so happened that our local town was hosting a rally. Not a small rally either, but the final round of the French Tarmac Rally Championship, Rallye La Rochelle, 2016. This would be Mrs S & our friend’s first taste of rally spectating. I might just have to pack the Nikon D4 & a couple of lenses then….well, seemed rude not to!!

Breakfast sorted we made our way off for the short 30 minute walk into Stage 4…leaving the girls to have fun in town until we met them for lunch. The organisers ran an Historic Rally ahead of the main Rallye La Rochelle. There were some really lovely cars from yesteryear of French rallying.

My friend was amazed at the speed these cars took the square left junction in front of us, not to mention the sound they made. His face however was an absolute picture when Car 1, a Citroen DS3 WRC of the main rally came flying into view!!! Spitting flame & banging as the anti-lag kicked, I never tire of the spectacle. To witness the reaction from someone who had never experienced it before was good fun.

Lunchtime & meet up with the girls, so back to the Grand Cafe in Surgères we went. A much welcome lunch of moules & frites with a cold beer…..this is the way to watch rallying!!! Wonderfully refreshed all 4 of us headed off to catch Stage 7 (a re-run of this mornings stage).

Unfortunately a car left the road just down the stage from where we were watching. It hit & brought down a utilities pole, blocking the track & resulted in the stage being cancelled. Thankfully the crew were ok if a bit shaken up. Sadly the stage could not be cleared in time & the Clerk of Course decided to cancel Stage 10 the final run, which was due to be in full darkness.

It has wetted our appetite for a bit more & so we will be back for Rallye La Rochelle, 2017

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