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FIA EHRC - ‘Lucky’ leads Rallye du Chablais after opening day

  • Swiss Alps play host to big names and evocative machinery in fourth round of 2023 FIA European Historic Rally Championship
  • Rainfall helped four-wheel-drive Lancia Integrale cement its lead in latest FIA EHRC encounter
  • Championship contender Tibor Erdí sidelined by turbo failure after taking the early lead

Italian driver ‘Lucky’ and his former WRC vice-champion co-driver Fabrizia Pons profited from thunderstorms and torrential rain in the Swiss Alps to take the overnight lead on the Rallye du Chablais, round 4 of this year’s FIA European Historic Rally Championship.

The Italians swept into the lead in their four-wheel-drive Lancia Delta Integrale after the Ford Sierra Cosworth of Tibor Erdí lost its turbo; going out of the rally altogether when a second turbo fitted at the service halt also blew.

Making the most of local knowledge and the innately nimble handling of his BMW E30 M3, Pascal Bachmann hung on to second overnight. Throughout the six stages of the opening day, he was trading fastest times with the dogged performance coming from third-placed Jürgen Geist in his older Opel Manta 400.

All of the top three runners at the overnight halt are drawn from Class 4, the most modern category in the EHRC. Class 3 is led by the Swiss-entered Porsche 911 SC of Guy Trolliet in fourth overall, while Northern Ireland  is home to the leaders in both Class 2 (Greg McCormack, Ford Escort Mk2 RS1800) and Class 1 (Ernie Graham, Ford Escort Mk1 Twin Cam).

A marathon eight-stage leg on Saturday will decide the finishing order for the event, with further rainfall predicted for much of the day. Former World Rally Championship winner Ari Vatanen will lead the field through the stages in his BMW E30 M3 once again, soaking up the atmosphere and treating the crowds to a display of his legendary car control at the wheel of the ‘zero car’.