Monday, 21 February 2011

Female Rally Drivers after 1950: France in the 21st century

Charlotte Berton (left) and Charlène Gallier

Currently, France is home to many of Europe's female rally drivers. At any one time, there are multiple female crews on French rallies, seemingly more than in other European nations, and certainly more than in the UK. Charlotte Dalmasso now has her own post, as does Laure Jaussaud.

Below are profiles of some of them. 

Harmonie Bagnol - rallies small cars, mostly in French regional events. She has been active since 2011, when she tackled the Rallye Regional Mistral in a Peugeot 205. This was replaced with a Renault Clio in 2015 and she competed in it regularly during the 2018 season. She entered fewer events in 2019, but she did score her best finishes of her career: 20th overall in the Mistral Rally, after a class win in the Sarrians regional rally. She is also a regular co-driver to Sebastien Delors; the pair have competed together since 2013.

Jessy Barrat – active in French rallies since 2009. Between then and 2013, she rallied a Renault Clio, and was a regular in the Rallye des Vins Mâcon, her local rally. In 2014, she acquired a Peugeot 206 RC, and competed a little more widely. Her best overall result that year was 39th, in the Matour Rally. Her 2015 season looked very similar, and the Matour event remained her best. She was 38th, and fifth in the F2 class. In 2016, she scored an F2 class win on the Rallye Internationale de Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise, and was 27th overall. Her car was still the Peugeot.  In 2017, she continued to enter the 206 into her local National rallies. Her best finish was 30th, at Matour. In 2018, she returned to the Brionnais Rally for the first time in five years and picked up her best result of the year: 21st, with a class win. Her 2019 schedule was very similar and used the same car. The Brionnais Rally was her best event again; she was 20th.

Karine Bertarini – competes in a Peugeot 207 in the French national rally championship, in the Amateur category. In 2016, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Rallye d’Antibes-Côte d’Azur. She was 66th overall, and seventeenth in the Amateur rankings. This was only her second rally of the year, and her fourth overall. She started in 2015, with a Citroen Saxo and a Renault Clio. Her co-driver is Emmeline Quadriga.

Delphine Brigaudeau (Libessart)  - French driver who has been rallying Peugeots in recent years. She entered many rallies in 2008 and 2009 in a 106, assisted by Caroline Potier. This car was exchanged for a 306 in 2010. Her driving career began in 2007, after starting out as a navigator. For the past three years, her performances in regional rallies have been good enough for her to qualify for the season-ending Finale of the French championship season. In 2011, she spent some time co-driving for Stephane Riehl, but she returned to the driving seat in the 306 in 2012, eager to win the Ladies' crown. However, she only seems to have entered the Le Touquet rally, in which she was 80th. In 2014, she returned to the French regional stages, in a Citroen Saxo. She entered three rallies, finishing two of them, with a best finish of 55th in the Pays de Dieppe National Rally. 

Morgane Cadet - driver and co-driver who competes on Reunion, under a French license. She has been active since 2016, starting as a navigator to Ludovic Cadet in a Peugeot 205. She began driving herself the following year, with the unusual rookie car choice of a Toyota Celica GT-4. She scored one class win in the Bourbon Rally. Since then, she has driven a Peugeot 206 and a Renault Clio, but has not managed to finish any of her events. She spent some of 2018 co-driving Bernard Clement’s Rover 25.

Sylvie Cancellieri - has competed in France in a Peugeot 206 kit car since at least 2007. In 2009 and 2010, her co-driver was Dominique Sereni. They were very active all over the country in the French championship during those two years. Sylvie has one WRC start, the 2008 Tour de Corse, but she retired with a mechanical problem. Her co-driver then was Jeanne-Dominique Cancellieri.  

Rosine Chauffour - has been competing in France since 2004, after co-driving for her father for three seasons. In 2004 and 2005, she rallied a Peugeot 106 in her local area of Limousin, and was regional champion in 2005. The 106 was upgraded to a 206 in 2006, which was initially used for circuit racing. She returned to the stages in 2007. After another car upgrade, she was local champion once more in 2009. In 2010, she continued her progress, and qualified for the Finale of the French championship in the Pays-Basque. In 2011, she seems to have switched to co-driving for Pierre Lerosier. She returned to driving in 2012, driving in the Finale des Rallyes in Gap with Pauline Boyer and winning the Ladies' title. Her car was a Peugeot 206 RC. She used the same car in 2013, in regional events again, with Emeline Massie. Her best result was 30th, in the Rallye Regional Vienne et Glane. The same driver pairing was very active again in 2014, and their best rally was the Vienne et Glane event again, in which they were 26th. Rosine featured strongly in the A8 class, with three runner-up spots, and was fifth in the French Ladies' standings. She did not fare as well in a larger Ladies class in 2015, and was tenth, but she finished all eight of her rallies that year, driving a Citroen DS3. Her best result was 23rd in the Pays Gentiane Rally, and she also won her class in the Vienne et Glane Rally, finishing 28th overall. She was seventh in the 2016 French Ladies' championship, after only entering one counting rally, the Rally of Limousin, which she crashed out of. She won her class in the Vienne et Glane event, and was 46th overall. Her best overall result was 21st, in the Cieux-Monts de Blond regional rally. She was driving the DS3. In the same car, she won her class in the Rallye du Limousin and was 17th in the Cieux-Monts de Blond Rally. This was her first top-twenty finish. 

Aline Chollet – driver and co-driver active since the mid-2000s. She began as a navigator in 2005, before taking the wheel herself in 2006 in French Regional rallies. Between 2006 and 2012, she rallied a Peugeot 106, before switching to a Renault Clio Ragnotti in 2012. Her second year in the Clio was quite successful, with a series of class wins in the France Cup. The best of these was a fifteenth place in the Rallye Régional du Frontonnais. 2015 was not quite as successful, although she still remained competitive in class in the Clio, and also tackled more National-level events. She won her class in the Monts de Blond rally, and had a best overall finish of eighteenth, in the Rallye National de la Fougère. The Mont des Blonds Rally was her best event in 2016, and she was seventeenth overall. This was one of two top-twenty finishes for her that season. For most of the year, she drove the Ragnotti Clio, although she did drive a Renault Twingo in the St Emilion national rally. Among the drivers she has sat alongside is Sophie Micheneau. She concentrated on driving in 2017, and was rewarded by two class wins, in the Pays-Basque and Vienne et Glane rallies. She was 16th overall in the former. Her car was the Clio. Her results continued to improve in 2018, with a fourteenth in the Cieux-Monts de Blond Rally and a tenth place in the Cotes de Garonnes event. 2019 was a shorter season with a car change part-way through; she swapped the Clio for a Peugeot 106 in which she finished 36th in the Agora-Thiberien Rally. 

Clara Couval – rallies a Renault Clio Ragnotti in France. She normally competes in Regional events, and has been active since 2014, when she scored a class win in the Ajolais Rally. Her 2015 season was a busy one, with twelve rallies. The best of these was probably the Rallye Régional des Vallées, in which she was 18th, and second in class. This was her third top-twenty finish of the year. She also won the Ladies’ class in the Coupe de France finals, finishing 60th overall. In 2016, she was still rallying the Clio. It was another busy season, and her results continued to improve. She finished in the top twenty three times, the best of these being a twelfth place in the Vallée de l'Ognon regional rally. The car was still good in 2017, and helped her to four top-twenty finishes and two class wins. She returned in 2019 after a season away, a much improved driver. She was a regular top-20 finisher in the Clio and her best result was eleventh in the Haute Saone Regional Rally.

Pauline Dalmasso - driver and co-driver who has been in the driving seat since 2018, although she has been navigating for slightly longer. Her car is a Ford Fiesta R2T and she competes in National and Regional-level events in France. Her first three rallies ended in crashes but she managed a best finish of 29th in her first year, in the Rallye Terre de Lozere. She won the French ladies’ championship in 2019 with three event victories. Her sister is French ladies’ champion, Charlotte Dalmasso.

Marine Delon – driver and co-driver who competes in French national and international rallies. She has been active as a driver since 2014, usually driving either a Suzuki Swift or a Peugeot 205. Her best overall result has been a 69th place, in the Vaison-la-Romaine Rally. She was driving the 205. As a co-driver, she has been a regular in French rallies since 2010, including navigating on the Monte Carlo Rally twice, in 2015 and 2016, sitting beside Charlotte Dalmasso and Jérémy Fargier respectively. In 2016, she did some more rallies as a driver, in the 205. She finished one of her three events, the Vaison-la-Romaine regional rally. She stuck to co-driving in 2017. 

Edith Deroy – rallies normally in the northern parts of France. In recent years, her car has been a Renault Twingo. In 2015, she competed almost every week during the rally season, with a best finish of 34th, with a class win, in the Ardennes Rally. It was one of twelve class wins she achieved that year. She began rallying seriously in 2008, after several years as an occasional co-driver. Her other cars have included a Peugeot 205 and Citroen Saxo. In 2016, she was still competing in northern France in the Twingo, with a best finish of 35th, in the Dieppe-Normandie Rally. She scored five class wins. In 2017, she did four rallies in her usual area, scoring four class wins in the Twingo. This dropped to two rallies in 2018, with two class thirds. In 2019, she only entered the Eperney Vins de Champagne Rally.

Coralie Desaint Bouville – has rallied a Citroen AF GTi in France since 2008. She is a Tarmac specialist whose schedule each year takes in the Le Touquet, Marquenterre and de la Lys rallies. In 2016, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Rallye Le Touquet, and was second in class. She was 67th overall. The best result of her career came on a rare trip to the Rallye du Ternois, in 2012. She was 46th. The Ternois event was also her best in 2018, when she was 55th, and in 2019. Previously, she was active in hillclimbs, in a Mini. 

Monique Ehrensperger – active since at least 2001. She has always driven a Mitsubishi Lancer, starting with a Group N Evo III and moving on to a Group A Evo V in 2006. She favours tarmac rallies. Her best season has probably been 2014, when she won class A8 in the Rallye d’Epine Mont du Chat, finishing 62nd overall. This was backed up by three class seconds. Her best overall finish was 44th, in the Ain-Jura Rally (she was fourth in class). In 2015, she managed another class win in the Mont Blanc-Morzine Rally, and was 117th overall. 2016 was affected by mechanical failures on the Lancer, and Monique also pulled out of two rallies for personal reasons. She won her class in the Bornes National Rally, and was 45th overall. In 2017, her car was more reliable, although she did not score any more class wins. The Lancer continued to be temperamental in 2018 and she only finished three of her six rallies. She experimented with an Evo IX in 2019 and was rewarded with a 28th place in the Ardeche Regional Rally.  

Julie Galpin - driver and co-driver in France, in a Citroen C2. As a co-driver, she partners Olivier Bacle in the IRC, and other major events. As a driver, she competes in the French championship, where she has been active since at least 2008, when she drove a Team FJ Mitsubishi. In 2009, she was part of the Citroen Racing Trophy in the C2-R2 category, and she has stayed with the marque ever since. She and Anais Faussabry were the first all-female crew in the Rallye Le Touquet. In 2010, she took part in more French rallies with Amélie Arrivé, including the Le Touquet and St. Emilion events. In 2011, she continued to rally the C2, with a best finish of 33rd, third in class. She switched to a Fiesta for the Rallye du Var, but was only 108th. She also co-drove for Olivier Bacle in some bigger events. Her father is Jean Galpin, a regular on the French scene. In 2013, she co-drove for him after two years out, due to pregnancy. In 2014, she did some rallies in a Citroen DS3, and achieved a third in class in the Vallée du Cher National Rally. She was 41st overall. In 2017, she made a brief comeback on the Vins de Chinon et du Veron Rally, in the DS3, but did not finish.  

Danielle Gamba - rallied a Citroen Visa GTi in 2010. She came second in her region’s Ladies’ rally championship, after a series of solid, if unspectacular finishes. Among the rallies she entered were the Rallye du Chasselas, Rallye du Quercy and the Rallye des Thermes. Her co-driver was usually Alexandre Gamba, although Marina Perel stood in on occasion. Danielle and Alexandre have returned to the stages in 2011, still in the Visa, and continue to compete in their regional championship. She was still driving the Visa in 2012, as well as a Peugeot 205 GTi, entering mainly regional rallies. She rallied the Visa again in 2013, and entered the Rallye Regional des Thermes, which she did not finish. 

Claire Gotti (Hocquaux) – rallied Citroens in France between 2009 and 2014, normally in her home state of Alsace-Lorraine. Between 2009 and 2011, she used a Saxo. After a break, she returned in 2014 with a C2. Her best result seems to have been a 37th place in the Lorraine National Rally in 2011. She was second in class. Before switching to the driver’s seat, she navigated for other drivers from 2002. 

Camille Henry - drove in French rallies in 2004 and 2005 in a Peugeot 206 XS. Her best result was 12th in the 2004 Rallye Montagne Noire. She was also 17th in the 2005 Rallye des Vins at Macon, driving the same car.

Pascale Jaffrennou (Pottecher) – former judo and jujitsu champion in France who took up rallying and racing in the 2000s. As a rally driver, she mostly competed in the Suzuki Rally Cup in France, driving a Swift. She first entered the series in 2007, but only really did a full calendar in 2009, when she was eleventh in the Cup. Her best event was the Rallye de Touquet – Pas de Calais, in which she was 60th overall and sixth in the Suzuki Rally Cup. Her last event seems to have been the Terres de Catalunya Rally in Spain, in 2012. Between 2014 and 2016, she did some circuit racing in the Twin Cup, an all-female championship for the Renault Twingo in France. She did another season in the Twin Cup in 2017.

Sophie Laurent – 2015 French Ladies’ Rally Champion. She always drives Peugeots, having started rallying in 2013 in a 306. Her best finish that year was 27th in the Rallye National de la Pleine, and she also scored a class win in the Rallye Vosgien. In 2014, she competed in an impressive eighteen rallies, in the 306. She achieved two more class wins, in the Pleine event and the Rallye Régional des Vallées. Early in 2015, she upgraded the 306 for a 207, and embarked on a programme of mostly national rallies, plus a run in the Tour de Corse. She won the Tour de Corse Coupe des Dames, finishing 61st overall. Due to the step up in competition, her overall finishes this year were not quite as high. She did manage a 26th place in the Pays de Montbéliard Regional Rally. Still in the 306, she did a mix of national and regional rallies in 2016. Her best finish was 28th, in the Luronne National Rally, and this was combined with a class win. The 306 was not as reliable in 2017. Her best finish was 24th in the Vallee de l'Ognon Rally. She did not finish three events mid-season. In 2018, she only did two rallies, finishing one, the Jura regional event. She was 29th. In 2019, she did two rallies in the same car, finishing 48th in the Sel Regional Rally.

Katia Marcq - active in French rallies since at least 2014. From 2017, she has rallied a Subaru Impreza GT Turbo. She was second in the French ladies’ championship in 2017, with Aurelie Crepin on the maps. Her best result in the Impreza has been a 39th place in the 2018 Boulonnais National Rally, followed by finishing 45th and third in class in the Le Bethunois National Rally, out of 88 finishers.

Sophie Micheneau - has been rallying in France since 1997, first as a navigator. She began driving seriously in 2007, first in local events in the south of France, then much farther afield. From the start, she won Coupes des Dames, and was a contender in her class. Her overall finishes were midfield, although she was not immune to car trouble. In 2010, her best finish was a 24th place in the Rallye de Bonaguil, with a class win and a Coupe des Dames. Her car since 2007 has been a Citroen Saxo. She is mostly navigated by Marie Noëlle Ratier. In 2011, she drove in six regional and national rallies in France, and won her class in the Rallye National Pays Basque. In 2012, she continued to rally the Saxo, although her activities were limited after she broke her hand on the Rallye des Vins in Macon. She has also driven in the Rally Aïcha des Gazelles twice. In 2013, she did at least some French national or regional rallies in the Saxo, including the Rallye Macon des Vins.    

Tiphaine Parent – rallies a Renault 5 Turbo in Regional and National events in France. Her first rally was the Rallye National du Suran, in 2013. She did not finish. The following season, she finished six of the eight rallies she entered, and had a best finish of 65th, in the Rallye Régional Ruppéen. She continued to compete in 2015, with navigator, Charline Dichamp. Late in the season, she rallied a Renault Clio instead of the 5. Her season in 2016 looked quite similar, although she was much quicker. Her best finish jumped up to a 38th place, in the Rivière Drugeon Regional rally, driving the Clio. She had a similar season in 2017, in the Clio, but also managed her first top-thirty finishes: 30th in the Rallye Centre Alsace and 29th in the Rallye National du Sel. In 2018, she rallied the Clio extensively around France. The Rivière Drugeon was her best rally again and she was 32nd. She continued her form in 2019 and had a best finish of 27th in the Sel Regional Rally. She also rallied in Switzerland for the first time in the Criterium Jurassien. Tiphaine also acts as a co-driver.

Morgane Partal - competes in rallies on Reunion Island, a French territory in the Indian ocean. She normally drives a Suzuki Swift but has used a Citroen C2 on occasion. She began her career in 2017 and used both cars in her debut season. Her best finish was 28th in the C2, in the Bourbon Rally. The Swift was her preferred car in 2018 and she scored class wins in the Denis Hoarau and Bourbon rallies. Her best 2019 result also came in the Citroen: 40th overall and a class win in the Tour Auto Reunion National Rally. Morgane is usually co-driven by one of her sisters, Laurence Partal or Julie Hospital.

Myriam Peretti – active in French rallies since 2013. She is based in Corsica, and her first rally was the Rallye National de Corte, in a Peugeot 106. She continued to rally in Corsica throughout 2014, and was rewarded with four class wins, as well as her first top-ten finish, a third place in the Mare et Machja National Rally. In 2015, she raised her sights even higher, entering her first WRC Rally, the Tour de Corse. She was 80th overall, second in class A6 and third in the Women category. In 2016, she was strong in the National de Corte and the Vallée du Prunelli rallies, in the 106. She was seventeenth and thirteenth respectively. In 2017, she managed class wins in the Giraglia and Paese Alaccinu Rallies, although she did not finish as highly as she had done before. The Giraglia was the best of the two rallies she did in 2018. She finished 22nd and won her class. In 2019, she mostly stuck with the Clio and earned two class wins, a thirteenth and 16th place in the Centru di Corsica and Giraglia events. Her usual navigator is Elodie Masson, who has been with her from the start.

Caroline Potier - co-driver turned driver who is active in rallies in northern France. She has been driving since 2010 and navigating since 2007. Her normal car is a Peugeot 205 GTi, although she has also rallied a Renault Clio. She has driven in the Boulonnais Regional Rally five times and it is her best event; she scored a career-best 35th place in the 2017 rally. Her usual co-driver is Marie Laine.

Angélique Le Roi - rallies a Peugeot 106 in asphalt events, in the French National series. She appears to have begun in 2013, and her first major event was the Rallye Régional de Fourmies et Avesnois, in which she was 50th overall, and fourth in class. In 2014, her best result was 44th, achieved in the Rallye Régional du Boulonnais and the Rallye National du Ternois. At the Boulannais event, she also scored a win in class A6. Despite finishing in a lower position on the Rallye Régional Routes Picardes, she managed another class win. She won Class A6 twice in French rallies in 2015, driving the 106, in the Envermeu and Picardie rallies. Her best overall result was 37th, in the Normandie Rally. The 106 was her car again for 2016, and she entered seven rallies, finishing five of them. In 2018, she made a small comeback and entered two events in the 106. She expanded her programme to four rallies in 2019 and won her class in the Porte Normande and Marquenterre events. Her navigator is Patrice Wisniewski, who is also French.

Charlotte Rongiconi - driver and co-driver, seemingly active since 2008. When driving, her car is usually an F2-spec Peugeot 205. With different co-drivers, she has entered several rallies in France during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, usually based on Corsica. She started off as a navigator to Charles Rongiconi in a Talbot Samba. They occasionally swap seats. In 2010, Charlotte also navigated for Xavier Quilici in a Peugeot 306, an arrangement which continued into 2011. She drove a Peugeot 106 in French regional rallies in 2012.  In 2013, she seems to have gone back to navigation again, with Pierre Antoine Guglielmi. 

Laura Salini – Corsican driver who rallies a Peugeot 106 in French rallies. She started in 2013, in Corsican rallies, but did not finish any of her events. She had a better year in 2014, still based in Corsica, the highlight of which was a fifth place in the Rallye National Mare e Machja. She continued to compete in Corsican rallies in 2015, as well as making one journey to the mainland for the Rallye Fleurs et Parfums at Grasse. She drove a Citroen DS3 in preference to her Peugeot, but did not finish. In 2016, Laura and Myriam Peretti co-drove for one another, in the 106. Laura won her class in the Tour de Corse, and was 39th overall, in a Suzuki Swift. In the 106, she won her class in the Paese Aiaccinu, and was 31st in the Ronde Nationale de la Giraglia. In 2017, she shared her Citroen Saxo with Myriam Peretti on several occasions, and also co-drove for Myriam in her Peugeot. The pair, with Laura at the wheel, won their class in the Mare et Machja Rally. She won her class again in the 2018 Tour de Corse, finishing 40th overall. This was her second of the year, after a class win and 20th in the Cote des Nacres Rally. She continued to rally the Citroen on Corsica and the mainland in 2019, winning her class in the Sartenais-Valinco Rally.  

Sabrina Sanchez - has rallied mainly in the south of France since 2002, when she was 22. Together with navigator Loriane Forgues, she is a regular Coupe des Dames winner in the rallies she enters, as well as often winning class A7. There are usually about five female crews on these events. Up to 2007, she drove a Peugeot 205, but after 2008, this has been replaced by a 206. Her best overall finish seems to be an eleventh place in the 2011 Rallye du Pays Cathare. She also scored two class wins in 2011. In 2012, she took part in five French championship events, one as co-driver to Maude Crepin. She did not have the funds to compete in 2013. 

Delphine Schlennstedt-Cretin - active in French rallies since at least 2004, always driving French cars. She began competing quite extensively in 2015, driving a Citroen AX GTI. For the next couple of years, she was a leading class N1 driver and scored class wins in the 2015 Viviers-Pays Haut National Rally and the 2017 Lorraine National Rally. Towards the end of 2017, she experimented with a Peugeot 106 and a Renault Clio, which she continued to rally in 2018, before settling for a Citroen Saxo. Her best result in this car has been a 35th place in the 2018 Nancy Regional Rally, from 55 finishers. The Lorraine Rally was her best in 2019 and she was 51st, third in class.

Stephanie Valcourt – rallies a Peugeot 106 in French regional events. Her first season in major rallies seems to have been 2014. In 2015, she was very active in the France Cup, although her small Class N2 car was nowhere near fast enough to challenge for overall position. Her best result was 67th, achieved at the Côte Roannaise Rally and the Pays d’Olliergues Rally. The Matour Rally gave her her best class finish, a ninth place, although she was 89th overall. In 2017, she only did one major event, the Coutillerie et du Tire Bouchon Rally, in the 106. 

Lucie Vauthier - had her first season of French rallying in 2012. Her car was a Citroen C2 R2 Max. She entered three French tarmac championship rounds, with a best overall result of 67th, in the Rallye Le Touquet-Pas de Calais. She was 43rd in the French Tarmac standings. Earlier, she was 75th in the Rallye Région Limousin-Lac de Lassivière. Sadly, Lucie died following an accident in the Rally des Vins Maĉon, her third Tarmac Championship event. 

Stephanie Verne - competed in French rallies in 2009 and 2010. Her car was a Peugeot 205 and her co-driver was Audrey Minery. She also drove in regional events around Vosges in 2008 and 2009 in the same car, but with different navigators. She has qualified for the Finale of the French championship three times, in each year of competition. Her best results were Coupes des Dames, as her F2 Peugeot was not powerful enough to challenge for the major honours. She does not appear to have competed much in 2011, but her name was back on the entry lists for 2012, for the Rallye de Meuse at least. She did some regional rallies in 2013, in the 205, with a best finish of 77th in the Rallye National Vosgien. She entered the Vosgien event again in 2014, in the 205, and was 80th overall, in the National section. She also competed extensively in Regional events in France, securing three class wins and a best finish of 44th, in the Lorraine Rally.  In 2015, she won her class in the 14 Juillet Rally, in the 205, and was 74th overall. She scored another class win in the Vosgien event, and was 71st. 

Fabienne Vergnes - active in French rallies since 2011, always driving a Peugeot 106. She competes on both tarmac and gravel. 2015 was probably her best year, and she spent it mostly on gravel. Her best result was a 62nd place (out of 87) in the St-Geniez-d’Olt Rally, with a class third. She was second in class in the Terre des Cardabelles Rally, but was 64th overall. In 2016, she mainly rallied on tarmac, but did not finish any of her events, due to mechanical problems. She had a new Ford Fiesta in 2017, but an accident on the Aveyron-Rouergues Rally seems to have curtailed her season.

Vanessa Verry -  has been rallying on and off since 2001. To begin with, she combined navigation in local rallies with slalom events. From 2001 on, she co-drove in local rallies with Laurent Corbineau. In 2011, she started taking stage rallying seriously, and began driving herself, in a Peugeot 106. In 2013, she achieved her first small victory: a class win in N2, and 19th overall, in the Rally National Coeur de France. In 2014, she entered the France Women Cup, driving a Renault Twingo. This class runs in French national rallies. Her best finish is second, in the Rally Le Touquet - Pas-de-Calais, and she was 72nd overall. Her best overall finish was 41st, in the Bretagne National Rally. Despite some retirements this year, she was third in the French Ladies' standings. She drove a Peugeot 208 in 2015, and won her class in the Sud De France Rally. She was 32nd overall. This was her best result. In 2016, her best result by far was a seventeenth place in the Val de Sevre Rally, driving a Renault Clio. She used a Peugeot 206 for the rest of the season. 2017 was an underwhelming year for her. She survived a fire in the Clio on the Rallye du Touquet unscathed, but had a shorter season than before. 2018 was another short season, with a best finish of 22nd in the Rallye de la Vie, driving a Peugeot 208. She drove three different Peugeots in 2019: the 208, a 206 and a 106. 

Allison Viano – rallied a Citroen Saxo in French regional rallies, in 2015. Her best events were the Roches Brunes and de la Croisette rallies, where she won her class. She was 44th in the Roches Brunes, and 40th in the de la Croisette Rally. Her co-driver was Mylène Icard. Prior to this, she had acted as a navigator to Alain Viano, since 2012. In 2016, she teamed up with Katia Lesser and Cecilia Choi in the Saxo. Her best finish was 24th, in the Pays de Grasse National Rally. She was the 2017 French ladies' champion, driving a Ford Fiesta. Her best event was the Rallye du Limousin, in which she was 41st, with a Ladies' class win and 16th in the French tarmac championship. In 2018, she defended her French ladies' title. Her usual car was the Fiesta but a one-off run in a Peugeot 208 in the Croisette Rally gave her her best finish: 20th. 2019 was a mix of regional and national rallies in the Fiesta, a Citroen DS3 and an R2-spec Citroen C2. The DS3 was the fastest and gave her a career-best finish of eighth in her favoured Croisette Regional Rally. 

(Image from

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Female Rally Drivers after 1950: the Americas

Nadia and Florencia Cutro, in 2011

Rallying is popular in South and Central America. Recently, female drivers have started to enter the major events.
Below are profiles of some recent rally drivers from the South and Central Americas. Drivers from the USA can now be found here. Nadia Cutro can be found on the Rally Winners post.

Karina Dobal - winner of the 2016 Argentine Federal Rally Class 4 Championship. This was the first time a woman had won a national rally championship in Argentina. Her car was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII. She scored three class wins, in the Sulpacha, Chivilcoy and Gualeguay Rallies, and had a best overall finish of second, in the Rally de Leandro N. Alem. In 2015, she rallied a Chevrolet Agile, in the Junior class, and managed class wins at Lavalle and Ciudad de Azul. She also achieved five top-ten finishes. This was only her second season of serious competition, having begun with the Agile in 2014. In 2017, she rallied the Lancer. She was second in the Rally de Lincoln and eighth in the Rally Balcarce.

Yazmin Dyer - Peruvian driver who competed in her home championship in 2010, using a Peugeot 206. She won her national Super 1600 championship after three S1600 class wins. Two of these coincided with top ten finishes: ninth places in the Rally de Arequipa and Rally Claro Huánuco. After 2010, she stepped down to “Nacional” events, taking in the Caminos del Inca event, a long-standing Peruvian rally. In 2011, she drove a SEAT Leon, which she also seems to have driven in that year’s Huánuco Rally and Rally Los Òrganos.

Victoria Emma - Argentine driver who normally rallies a Ford Fiesta. Her best result in this car has been a 30th place overall in the 2018 Rally Arrecifes. She continued with the Fiesta in 2019 but switched from the Argentine Federal rally championship to the Mar y Sierras series. Both of these championships run on her favoured surface of gravel. She first appears on the entry lists in 2017 and her first car seems to have been a Volkswagen Gol, in common with many Argentine drivers.

Yinelsy Gamero - rallies a Volkswagen Beetle, mainly in her home country of Peru. In 2018, she seems to have picked up her stage rallying career again, entering asphalt rallies in Peru. She was 15th in the Rally Premio Ciudad de Mollendo and 16th in the Rally Hanss Gamero. This continued through 2019, using a Citroen DS3. Her best finish was twelfth in the Ciudad de Arequipa Rally. Earlier, she competed in Bolivia, coming 38th in the Circuito Mario Mercado Vaca Guzman. In between, she drove the Beetle in the 2016 Inca Trail rally raid, but did not finish. Yinelsy is a former model and beauty queen.

Marina Goicoechea - active in Argentine rallies since at least 2014, almost exclusively in the Mar y Sierras series. In 2018 and 2019, she has been a semi-regular top-ten finisher in a Volkswagen Gol. Her best result has been sixth in the 2019 Rally de Ranchos, followed by an eighth place in the Rally de Las Heras. Her best 2018 result was seventh in the Rally de Ayacucho, with a class win. Before she got the Gol, her first car was a Ford Ka which she used for two seasons.

Claudia Gonano – Argentine driver who was somewhat of a media sensation in 2003, when she was the only woman competing in the Argentine national championship, at only 19 years old. She took part in the Fiat Palio Cup, and was fourth in class in her first rally, the Mina Clavero Rally. That year, she was 19th in the Rally de Plaza Huincul, and 25th in the Rally Provincia de la Pampa. Her career in rallying was very short; after this, her name disappears from the entry lists.

Fernanda Israel - Chilean driver who rallied a Peugeot 208 in her domestic championship in 2019. Her best result was a 19th place in the Gran Premio de Curico. She also finished 21st in the Gran Premio de Los Angeles. Both of these were gravel events. Her co-driver, Marta Anglada, is Spanish. Previously, Fernanda co-drove for Benjamin Israel in 2014.

Michelle Laframboise – Canadian driver who has been active in both the Canadian and US rally championships, always driving a Mitsubishi Lancer. She began in the Canadian series in 2010. By 2011, she was earning her first top-ten finish, a eighth place in the Tall Pines Rally. The following year, she was ninth in the Tall Pines event, which was her only finish of the year in Canada. She travelled across the border for some rounds of Rally America, and managed one finish: eighth overall, and third in the Open class, in the Sherwood Forest Rally. In 2013, she won the Open class in two American rallies: Sherwood Forest and Finger Lakes. She was second overall at Finger Lakes, and would have won outright but for a penalty. In 2014, she concentrated on Canada again, but only finished once, in the Tall Pines Rally. 

Patricia Pita - Uruguayan driver who rallies in Argentina and her home country. She has been active since at least 2012, when she tackled the Rally del Atlantico in a Renault Clio. For the next season she drove the Clio in Uruguay, but rarely finished an event. The Chevrolet Clio she used in 2014 was more reliable. This year’s best result was 19th, achieved twice in the Treinta y Tres and Paysandu rallies. In 2015, she started to compete in Argentina in a Ford Ka and improved this best finish to 15th, in the Ciudad de Villa Dolores Rally. In 2016, she switched between the two small cars, achieving similar results in each. She was fifth in class in the Argentine championship. She continued to use both cars in 2017, as well as a Volkswagen Gol in which she won her class in the San Juan Rally. In 2017, she was Uruguay’s most successful rally driver. In 2018, she rallied a Ford Fiesta and earned her first top-ten finish, a tenth place in the Punta del Este Rally.

Meliza Prevedello – rallies in her native Argentina. She prefers big, powerful cars, and drove a Subaru Impreza in 2014. Her best finish was second, in the Rally de Londres. She was also seventh in the Rally de Aimogasta y La Costa Riojana. Her car for 2015 was a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, which she campaigned in the Argentine championship. She was fourth in the RC2N/JR section of the Rally Argentina, which was her best result of the year. She scored another top ten in the Los Glaciares Rally, and was a regular presence in the top fifteen of Argentine rallies. 2016 was a strong year for her, driving the Lancer. She earned a sixth place in the Rally Uniendo Valles de Cordoba, and won her class. Earlier in the season, she was eleventh in the Rally of Cordoba, and was second in class. Her media profile received a big rise due to her Cordoba heroics. In 2017, she got back into the top ten, finishing tenth in the Tafi de Valle Rally. She was also fourteenth in the Rally San Juan and fifteenth in the Catamarca Rally. She started rallying in the Impreza in 2013, and she is nicknamed “Princess” by the Argentine motoring media.

Alicia Reina - has been rallying in her native Argentina since 2008. Her first car was a Fiat 147, which was then replaced by a Fiat Palio. She won her class in the 2008 Salta Rally, one of the first events she entered. She has continued to drive in Argentine rallies through 2009 and 2010, still in the Palio, and is usually in the top three of the 2WD class. Her first IRC outing, the 2010 Rally Argentina, resulted in a 27th place overall, third in group N2 and second in the 2WD class. In 2011, she entered several Argentine rallies in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Her best finish was ninth overall, in the Rally del Surubi-Goya. She rallied the same car, in Argentina, in 2012. Sadly, she did not finish any of her five events, although one was cancelled due to bad weather. She did one rally with the Lancer in 2013, before switching to a Fiat Palio, running in the Junior class. She was 15th overall in the Rally des Misiones, and third junior driver in the Rally Centenario Villa Carlos Paz, 17th overall. She was a rival to Nadia Cutro. In 2014, she entered the Dakar Rally in a Toyota pickup. She finished the rally in 60th place. In 2015, she contested the Dakar again. Stage rallying had not been forgotten in the interim, and she competed in the Vuelta de la Manzana Rally in Argentina, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer to 19th overall. In 2016, she rallied a Toyota SRV in the Dakar once more, but went out on the fourth stage. 

Vanina Schaffer - rallied a Fiat 147 in Argentina, after spending some time as a navigator. She scored some class wins in Argentine rallies in 2009, which appears to be her first season as a driver. In 2010, she does not seem to have entered many major rallies, but may have competed in gliding competitions. One exception was the Rally of Cordoba, where she was the second-fastest female driver. She returned to the stages for 2011, with an appearance in the Zavalla Rally. She did not finish. Since then, she has returned to the navigator's seat for Carlos Maggi. 

Leonela Solorzano - Ecuadorean driver who rallies a Kia Picanto in the Ecuador championship. 2019 appears to be her first season of major rallies, and her best result at the time of writing has been a 33rd place in the Rally Catamayo, a gravel event. Leonela is from Quito and comes from a rallying family. Her first experiences seem to have been co-driving her father’s rally car. When not competing, she studies civil engineering.

Karen Sullca - began rallying in 2018 in Peru. Her car is a Honda Integra. She was the first female finisher in the 2018 Rally Hanss Gamero, beating the more experienced Yinelsy Gamero. In the Circuito Mario Mercado Vaca Guzman, she drove in the Super Turismo class, and was 16th overall. She rallied a Changan Eado in 2019, finishing a strong fifth in the Rally San Pedro.

Jamie Thomas - rallied a Subaru in the USA and her homeland of Canada. Has scored many class wins in "Burnsie", her Impreza WRX Estate, since 2003. In 2004, she was third in the USA ProRally championship, and won her regional title. She has been a class winner in SCCA, NASA and Rally-America competition. In 2008, she was fourth in the National PGT standings and tenth overall in the National rally championship. She came out of retirement for the 2011 Oregon Trail Rally. 

Taissa Wlodkovski - Brazilian driver who rallied in her home country between 2003 and 2007. She started in a Volkswagen Gol, then entered the Peugeot 206 Cup, and used the 206 for the next three seasons. During this time, her best result was a thirteenth place in the Rally de Ouro Branco. In 2007, she switched to a Fiat Palio, with which she scored two top-twenty finishes, both sixteenth places. The best was probably the Rally de Estação, where she was fifth in class as well. She was sixth in Class N2 in that year’s championship.

(image from

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Women at the Nassau Speed Weeks: Part II - The Ladies' Races

Heather Bethell in her Austin-Healey

Ladies' races were a feature of Nassau Speed Week between 1956 and 1962. They attracted a mix of female professionals, SCCA racers, local drivers and the wives of male drivers.
Below are the results of these races, by year.

Ladies - Race 1
1. Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550)
2. Sally Chapin (Ferrari 500 TR)
3. Evelyn Mull (AC Ace)
4. Suzy Dietrich (Porsche 550)
5. Jean Speidel (Porsche 356 Speedster)
6. Mary Constantine (Jaguar D-Type)
7. N. Pearce (Austin-Healey 100)
8. Greta Oakes (Porsche Speedster)
9. Marion Lowe (Jaguar D-Type)
Ladies - Race 2
1. Marion Lowe (Jaguar D-Type)
2. Sally Chapin (Ferrari 500 TR)
3. Suzy Dietrich (Porsche 550)
4. Evelyn Mull (AC Ace)
5. Denise McCluggage (Osca MT4-2AD)

N. Pearce (Austin-Healey 100) - result not known
Jean Speidel (Porsche 356 Speedster) - result not known
Mary Constantine (Jaguar D-Type) - result not known
Greta Oakes (Porsche Speedster) - result not known

Ladies - Heat 1
1. Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550)
2. Isabelle Haskell (Osca S1500)
3. Evelyn Mull (AC Ace)
4. Jean Speidel (Porsche 550)
5. Ruth Luedeke (Alfa Romeo Giulietta)

Suzy Dietrich (Elva) - DNF
Ruth Levy (Aston Martin DBR2) - DNF

Ladies - Heat 2
1. Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550)
2. Ruth Levy (Aston Martin DBR2)
3. Evelyn Mull (AC Ace)
4. Jean Speidel (Porsche 550)
5. Suzy Dietrich (Elva)
6. Ruth Luedeke (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) 

Ladies - Final
1. Denise McCluggage (Porsche 550)

Suzy Dietrich (Elva) - DNF
Ruth Levy (Aston Martin DBR2) - DNF
Jean Speidel (Porsche 550) - result not known
Evelyn Mull (AC Ace) - result not known

Ladies - Heat 1
1. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
2. Evelyn Mull (Lotus Eleven)
3. Pinkie Windridge (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce)
4. Fifi Fleming (Osca S750)
5. Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE 328)
6. A. Goodfellow (Berkeley SE 328) 
7. Greta Oakes (Berkeley SE 328) 
8. M. Kelly (Berkeley SE 328) 
9. Denise McCluggage (Lotus Eleven)

Ladies-Heat 2
1. Denise McCluggage (Lotus Eleven)
2.  Evelyn Mull (Lotus Eleven)
3. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
4. Fifi Fleming (Osca S750)
5. Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE 328)
6. A. Goodfellow (Berkeley SE 328) 
7. Greta Oakes (Berkeley SE 328) 
8. M. Kelly (Berkeley SE 328) 

1. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
2. Evelyn Mull (Lotus Eleven)
3. Fifi Fleming (Osca S750)
4. Gladys Cam (Berkeley SE 328)
5. A. Goodfellow (Berkeley SE 328) 
6. Denise McCluggage (Lotus Eleven)
7. Greta Oakes (Berkeley SE 328) 
8. M. Kelly (Berkeley SE 328) 
9. Pinkie Windridge (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce)

Ladies - Heat 1
1. Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven)
2. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
3. La Veeda Grimm (Alfa Romeo Giulietta)
4. Greta Oakes (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder)
5. Heather Bethell (Austin Healey Sprite)
6. Joan Galloway (Austin Healey Sprite)

Ladies - Heat 2
1. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
2. Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven)
3. La Veeda Grimm (Alfa Romeo Giulietta)
4. Greta Oakes (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder)
5. Heather Bethell (Austin Healey Sprite)

Joan Galloway (Austin Healey Sprite) - DNF

Ladies – Final
1. Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven)
2. Marion Lowe (Lotus Eleven)
3. La Veeda Grimm (Alfa Romeo Giulietta)
4. Greta Oakes (Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spyder)
5. Heather Bethell (Austin Healey Sprite)
6. Joan Galloway (Austin Healey Sprite)

Ladies’ Race
1. Smokey Drolet (Daimler SP250)
2. Heather Bethell (Austin-Healey 100-6)
3. Greta Oakes (Lotus Eleven)
4. Vivian Publicker (Ferrari 250 GT LWB California)
5. A. Stephens (Austin-Healey Sprite)
6. V. Moore (MG A)
7. A. Goodfellow (Triumph TR3)

Ladies’ Race
1. Prudence Baxter (Lotus Eleven)
2. Alice Stephens (Porsche 356 Carrera)
3. Susan Northcutt (Triumph TR3)
4. Susan Baron (Lotus Seven)
5. Lou Moseley (Porsche 356 Carrera)
6. Janet Madsen (MG A)
7. Patsy Kennedy (Jaguar XK120)

Ladies - Heat 1
1. Alice Stephens (Porsche 356B Carrera)
2. Smokey Drolet (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ)
3. Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera)
4. Nedra Ware (Fiat-Abarth)
5. Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000)
6. Sibilla O’Donnell (Lotus Super Seven)
7. Joanne Gambal (Alfa Romeo Giulietta)

Ladies - Heat 2
1. Smokey Drolet (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ)
2. Alice Stephens (Porsche 356B Carrera)
3. Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera)
4. Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000)
5. Nedra Ware (Fiat-Abarth)

1. Smokey Drolet (Alfa Romeo Giulietta SZ)
2. Alice Stephens (Porsche 356B Carrera)
3. Patsy Kennedy (Porsche 356B Carrera)
4. Heather Meyers (Austin-Healey 3000)
5. Nedra Ware (Fiat-Abarth)

(Photo from the Terry O'Neil Bahamas Collection)