Prior to the creation of the World Rally Championship in 1973, Porsche succeeded in winning the Rallye Monte-Carlo three years running: in 1968 with Vic Elford (911T), and in 1969 and 1970 with Bjorn Waldegard (911S). The German make’s last victory in the Principality dates back to 1978 when Jean-Pierre Nicolas came first in a privately-entered 911 3.0 SC hired at the last minute from the French specialist Almeras. He clinched the win following a poor tyre choice by the factory Fiat 131 Abarth team.
Since 1986, however, when two 911SCs appeared in the hands of André Recordier and Christophe Spiliotis, the brand has been totally absent.
Almost three decades on, Marc Duez has put an end to the sequence by entering a Michelin-equipped GT3 in the FIA’s new RGT class. It is the 56-year old’s sixth Monte Carlo start and his record includes a Group N victory in 1999.
“My car is based on a 996 Cup and was built a few years ago,” he says. “Back then, 10 cars were lifted from the Porsche production line for the Belgian Rally Championship where they were authorised to compete. This is one of those cars and it was bought by Fly Motorsport.”
The RGT regulations allow private teams to homologate individual GT cars themselves, without the manufacturer getting involved. “It’s a long and complex process, though, which entails stripping the car completely and modifying the fuel tank and safety equipment to comply with FIA standards. The homologation document is 80 pages long! This isn’t the latest model but it’s reliable and easy to drive. I came seventh with it on the 2010 Rallye du Condroz.”
The sound of the Porsche 996 GT3’s 3.6-litre normally-aspirated flat-six engine wasn’t lost on visitors – young and old alike – to the service park in Gap, and we can’t wait to see Marc and his new co-driver Steven Vyncke in it on the stages.
“Above all, we want to reach the finish, and we are counting on Michelin’s help! Performance-wise, I think it must be equivalent to a Citroën DS3 R3, but we should be better on ‘clear’ asphalt events.”
Meanwhile, it is said that the British preparation company Tuthill is looking at homologating a Porsche 997.