It’s been the ultimate women’s sport getaway since 1999 and is only getting bigger and better as it celebrates its 20th year. What has fast become one of the world’s most prestigious women’s motorsport challenge, The Rallye des Princesses in France is a five-day adventure bringing together 90 crews of female drivers from 12 different countries who traverse over 1,000 miles from Paris to Saint Tropez, and for the fifth year in a row, watchmaker Richard Mille partnered on this truly unique event.
Passing through some of the most beautiful scenery France has to offer such as Beauval, Vichy and Aix-les-Bains, the drivers hit the road, cruising through no less than 17 French regions and more than 280 towns and villages along the way. Aurora Straus, the young American driver and sporting ambassador of Richard Mille, commanded the N°1 car, a red Porsche 356. Drivers were at the wheel of cars between 15 to 65 years old, hailing back as far as 1946, including the following legendary cars: Ferrari 260 GTS, Austin Healey, Porsche 356, Mercedes 190 SL, Jaguar XK 140, Type E, MGA, Citroën Traction, Pontiac, Corvette Sting Ray and more.
The route took the competitors from Place Vendome in Paris to Saint Tropez via overnight halts in Saint Aignan, Vichy, Aix-les-Bains and Saint Tropez. The final 130-mile leg was a loop out from Saint Tropez taking in the Col de Gratteloup mountain pass. The preceding four days each featured around 200 miles and four or five regularity sections. During the final day of the rally, just two seconds distinguished the top two crews in the general rankings. At the finish line, in Saint-Tropez, Carole Gratzmuller achieved her fifth Princess victory while her co-driver, Elisa Noémie Laurent, celebrated her third. A triumphal ovation awaited the 200 Princesses as the last mechanical roars were heard.
“We could not have imagined a more wonderful week with which to celebrate the 20th year of the Rallye des Princesses Richard Mille,” said Viviane Zaniroli, the rally’s organizer. The weather was just perfect, the race was tight up to the finish line, and we have two magnificent winners who perfectly embody what this sporting challenge is all about. It’s a rally for women on par with the most famous of men’s events,” said Viviane Zaniroli, who founded the Rallye in 1999.
Featured timepieces are available for purchase at Richard Mille Bal Harbour.