70 year-old Jean Ragnotti is poised to return to the Rallye Monte-Carlo stages in the very same Renault 5 Turbo he steered to victory 35 years ago.
Team Renault Classic has actually entered four crews in a variety of Renault 5 rally cars in this year’s event, set to start on January 29th. Aside from Ranotti’s no.9 car, fellow Renault Classic runners Michel Leclere, Alain Serpaggi and Christian Chambord will race in the Group 2 Renault 5 Alpine.
The event stretches from January 29th (Reims), as we’re previously mentioned, to February 3rd, where it will conclude in Monaco.
The Group 2 Renault 5 Alpine will be driven by Michel Lecrlere, winner of the Premier Pas Dunlop Coupe Gordini racing scholarship in 1969, which ultimately landed him a Formula One seat. His co-driver will be Francois-Paul Forgeoux, a regular in the Monte-Carlo Historique competition.
Ragnotti in his car no.9 will be co-driven by Michel Duvernay, himself a winner of the 1981 French Renault Cross Elf Trophy and the Renault 5 GT Turbo Trophy in 1986. The other two cars (numbers 12 and 19) are also Group 2 Renault 5 Alpines.
Now, in case you’re confusing the Renault 5 Alpine with the original Renault 5 Turbo, don’t, because the latter was a heavily modified model, basically a mid-engined hot hatch, thanks to the turbocharged unit being mounted behind the driver.
As for the Alpine, it packed a 1.4-liter petrol engine, mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox, helping it put down all of its 93 PS with ease. And yes, back in the late 70s, that was a sub 10-second hot hatch.