«Last year we did not know very well where we were getting, since we participate regularly, but we have been learning little by little and now we have the possibility of improving the result. The car is better prepared and so are we in every aspect. Ultimately, we hope to do our best: we'll see what happens! ' This is how it was expressed Salvador Canellas at the end of the 2017 edition of Historic Monte Carlo, and he has kept his word. He has fulfilled it because he has returned with his co-pilot Daniel ferrater, specifically at the wheel of the same car: SEAT 124 Especial 1800 Group 4 with which he was 4th in the 1977 edition.
In addition, those responsible for SEAT Historic Cars they have taken from their ship A-122 -place where the brand keeps its historical units- two other vehicles: an amazing 127 driven by Manu Cortés and co-piloted by Eloy Alsina, and an energetic 1430 FU 1600 for which the journalist Joan Dalmau and Carlos Jiménez took responsibility. The three of them managed to reach the port of Monte Carlo, thus passing this tough test in which the SEATs showed their best side the worse the weather conditions were.
41 YEARS LATER ... THE 124 OF CAÑELLAS
The 1977 edition of the Monte Carlo Rally ended with something very typical of the 70s: the dominance of Sandro Munari aboard a Lancia Stratos HF. However, two small Spanish cars gave the bell. It was the 124 of Zanini and Cañellas, which remained in third and fourth place respectively. Quite a feat that SEAT Historic Cars wanted to commemorate last year, when it was 40 years old, and that has continued in 2018.
Specifically thanks to the piloting of "A boy over seventy years”Such as Cañellas, and the replica unit of the 124 1800 Group 4, which at the time required more than .3000 hours of work from three mechanics and logistics to find parts before it could be put back on the asphalt. A unit that this year has been able to finish in a creditable 63rd position, despite having suffered gearbox and electrical system problems, which made it impossible for co-driver Daniel Ferrater to read the notes on the night stage. Imagine what it must be like to go down those icy roads without the help of your co-pilot!
However, the icy or snowy sections were great for Cañellas' skilled hands, even more so considering that in those circumstances the 124 was “grew”. In fact, on more than one occasion Cañellas resorted to the handbrake but only to give a show to some fans stationed in the gutter waiting to see how the pilots played with the rear trains of their cars.
We hope to see more of those skids next year!
SMALL BUT BULLY. THE UNUSPECTED FORCE OF 127
Manu Cortés and Eloy Alsina once again launched themselves into the curves of Monte Carlo aboard the little 127. A really surprising car, because although it is not particularly powerful ... His agility meant that when the road got steep and filled with snow, he left behind much more imposing rivals. Thus, for example, he was able to star in a spectacular comeback in which, after losing an hour and a half due to an engine problem, he managed to climb to 19th position!
However, just on the penultimate day, when Cortés and Alsina were crossing a night stretch full of snow ... They collided with a rock hidden in the snow. But beware, the 127 is hard to peel and everything was in the blowout of a wheel. Although of course, having to change it in the middle of a snowy night… It caused them to lose time until they fell to the 131st position.
Position 131 in which they finished the rally, showing that "If the track gets complicated, if the ice and snow cover the entire route, the 127 is the best car to win". Quite a small animal that brings out the best of itself the worse the road gets, which is even more striking when we see that this unit does not include mechanics that are substantially different from that of the street model.
04:00 AM. PORT OF MONTECARLO
Finally, we will refer to the third unit of SEAT Historic Cars in this Monte Carlo 2018. FU 1430 1600 piloted by journalist Joan Dalmau and his co-pilot Carles Jiménez. This was the one that finished in the best position, specifically in the 57 overall.
Since it could have been better not to have encountered on the penultimate day a driver with an extremely rude and unsportsmanlike behavior when crossing a very narrow section.
That pilot circulated very slowly due to having suffered his mount, but at the same time he did not allow himself to be overtaken by those who were hunting him. The result was the creation of a plug where three drivers lost valuable time until the track widened and they were able to overtake such a character. However ... Bravo for that worthy square 57. He had to know them to glory when entering the port of Monte Carlo in the middle of the morning, at 04:00, having overcome the tight curves of the Turini at night.
Thus culminated the second participation of SEAT Historic Cars in this Monte Carlo Historic Rally, one of the toughest tests of the classic engine. We hope that next year there will be a third time, because we are sure that they could end up succeeding ...