Day 8

Monaco – The End

We have had word form the guys and they are buzzing! The emotions have settled down some now and the realisation of what they have done is adding up…they have finished the Monte Carlo rally! 

Last night was the night loop, which both Lewis and Simon had both been looking forward to. However, the ice note crew had sent back notes that were mixed – it wasn’t cold enough for ice when they had their run through, but there were many damp patches that could freeze if the temperature dropped low enough. Needless to say then that much debate was being had across the afternoon in the #TeamRPS Golf GTi on the run into Monaco about what the best choice of tyre would be. It was decided to run without studs.

When the car was parked up in Parc Ferme Lewis took some time to look at what tyres the other cars were running and to his frustration there were cars on studs…but, some on what appeared to be racing slick tyres too so all of a sudden what to do! The crew stuck with the first decision and looked forward to getting on with the night loop. With the cars leaving on 30 second starts and straight into some of the event’s most challenging tests such as the Col de Turini the tyre choice is critical and the event is well known for that.

All was well until the drive to the first of the two tests and then the curved ball came…the reported damp patches that threatened to be ice were in fact now ice which caught many crews out! Now the boys were worried as Lewis checked the grip levels on each and every corner as they got closer to the start line. Thankfully the temperature was up slightly and the grip was back, all the way through both of the tests that followed.

The great news is that the guys pushed on as hard as they could over the final two tests and got the car back to the finish ramp in the Quai at Monaco, on time, with time to spare and no problems….only possible problem to report being that Lewis had now run out of Lemon Sherberts and his arms were really hurting after the countless hairpin turns that they had just been through.

Over the ramp and done…well done boys! As previously reported all of us at RPS HQ are proud of what you have achieved! 

Lewis: “What an adventure – we left Brooklands pretty much a week ago and it’s been relentless since, I have not been anywhere close to doing an event like this before and it has been such an adventure. Dad has been great on the maps etc and putting so much together both before and across the event, he even organised a lovely place for us to relax in at Langres before the concentration run through the night- that had a pool table! shame it wasn’t level though – but being a rally driver I am used to setting things up to go sideways ha ha ha. Seriously, it has been a true adventure.”

Simon: “Well, I have worked the event 12 or so times and loved every one but now – I fully understand the event from both sides and how tough it is, it’s absolutely not one for the faint hearted. Lewis has driven so well and I never felt he was out of control, well almost maybe once but we both shared the moment and laughed about it a lot. We had a bit of stress in the car at one stage though and Lewis took the lead and said quite firmly – “it doesn’t matter to me, I am having a great time with my Dad!” A brilliant reset and commendable in the heat of the moment. Only problem now, shall we do it again?…”

The final result – the #TeamRPS Golf GTi finished a brilliant 104th overall out of 232 finishers and 272 that left Monaco after the concentration run.

The guys would like to give a special thanks to…

All of the team of Scuderia Rapiditas for welcoming them along on this amazing experience. 

Franco Lupi for all of his help and advice before, during and most likely after the event.

Powerlite for ensuring that the Golf GTi was fully kitted up and ready to go!

Rob Kitchen and Steve Bunce For their support and continued banter throughout.

And of course Team RPS.

Day 7

Valance – Monaco

As the end of the event approaches we have asked the team to get some information through before the night leg begins as we know it is going to be quite a long day for them.

To get the rally back down to Monaco via the three elements of today’s competition in the Cols the crews had an much earlier and much colder start from Valence today.

Ice notes coming back from the ice crew are very much so more favourable today as the crew heads south on the way to Monaco and the warmth of the Mediterranean!

The service crew of Steve Bunce and Rob Kitchen were hoping to keep their tally of reaching all service points again today, a difficult task with the way that the route takes the rally up and over the many Cols…. a big well done to them so far!

On this rally sitting alongside Rob and navigating, Steve has learnt quite quickly the art of getting along effectively in a 3 ton truck. Especially with it loaded with the many variations of tyres needed, fuel, spares, tools and Simon’s many luggage bags!

The #TeamRPS Golf GTi continues to impress with its performance, handling and robustness, all credit to the many hours of preparation in the RPS workshop… the only problem reported today was that Lewis dropped his freshly made ham and truffle baguette under his seat on a link section. Not the first time apparently…

The first regularitie St Nazaire le Desert to La Motte Chalancon was a blast, 20km of flowing corners and no black ice to worry about.

Next up SR 13 was full of left and right turns along with many hairpins making the test extremely technical.

One more competitive section this afternoon before the guys make their run into Monaco.

Day 6

Valance – Valance

The team has reported back that today was a very difficult day.

First two regularities were very icey so service was arranged for the tyres to be changed over to studs just before the first competitive section.

The first test was 15km long and mostly black ice with some snow so #TeamRPS had to keep the focus with the car squirming and sliding across Col de Carabes up at 1260 metres.

Straight into the next test 23km down the road and the pair were once more faced with ice and snow on SR9 from Les Savoyons to Barcillonette. But with Lewis at the helm he successfully kept the car under control.

Things got even more technical on the following SR, with a 40km test again with ice and included two speed changes, penalties are high for getting these wrong so we are all eager to see the outcome…

The guys lost a chunk of time across the morning so they had been desperately trying to stay on time meaning they had to forgo the allotted service before the lunch control. Lunch was served by Charly and Angelo from the team’s logistics,it’s been reported that the Bratwurst and Espresso’s were brilliant and almost Michelin 5 star quality!

The afternoon was a mixture of sunshine, dry roads and speed changes again on two more tough regularities… All of them successfully managed and the car made it safe in Parc Ferme at the end of the day.

Simon said he’d enjoyed the day, everything had worked perfectly and how proud he was of Lewis’ ability behind the wheel so far through all of the many changing conditions each day.

After a last team dinner an early morning awaits – next stop… Monaco before the infamous night leg!

Day 5

Valance – Valance

Departing from Valence this morning the guys headed to SR4. There were villages to contend with in which you cannot go over 30 kph meaning you are constantly losing time until you exit the village. With 2km to catch up the lost time there was some quick driving on Lewis’ part, despite there being no ice they still managed to slide sideways narrowly avoiding a brick wall! 

Back down onto the road section and the studded tyres needed to be fitted for SR5 & SR6. Once more the RPS service crew sprung into action getting the Golf prepped and ready to go.

SR5 included an average speed change while passing through a village which proved difficult for some crews, but not for Simon as he nailed it! 

SR6 was the first time encountering a proper sprinkling of snow, much nicer to drive on than the sheet ice from before. A few slips and slides but they kept out of trouble and got to the end with the car in one piece! 

A quick pit stop was made in Lamastre to remove the studded tyres before heading over for SR7 to end the day.

From SR7 the crew needed to head down to the time control in Tournon-sur-Rhône but the traffic was slow going and after much anxious waiting they managed to book in 2 minutes late.

In all the panicking at Tournon-sur-Rhône a miscalculation on their final time to check into the control in Valence unfortunately meant some penalty points were incurred. Not enough to end the rally though!

Tomorrow they will start by tackling SR8 which is being reported back as quite a challenge! But we are sure the guys will continue to smash it!

Day 4

Monaco – Valance

After a seemingly short night and from what we’ve heard a delightful breakfast, today’s start was at 08:25 from the Quai with a rally full of excitement as the first competition loomed.

Lewis said that the 176 km run out to the first competition felt like forever when compared to some of the regular events they get up to.

The anxiety metre fitted in the car went off the scale at the start of the first regularity but soon after, the RPS rally Golf Gti was fully settled down and hitting the average speed required…

The second test was tricky, some nasty ice in the shade so some careful driving was required, especially after seeing a car that had failed to slow down at one hairpin and had just popped over the edge, rally over for that team sadly.

Next up the ice notes told Lewis and Simon it was time to consider studs for the following test as the ice crew had reported just how bad it was up at the top of Col de Pennes.

After some thoughts and discussion Lewis made the call for studded tyres to be fitted all round, this was a decision made having never previously driven on studded tyres in normal circumstances, let alone competitively. Contact was made with the teams service crew to organise the switch and it has been reported that the choice paid off as the ice was bad over the Col. The service crew had all of 10 minutes to do the full change and fantastically managed to do it in 8, getting the Ayris / Ayris crew to the control 30 seconds before their due time!

The guys were informed that they were sitting 53rd overall after the first regularity, not bad out of 283 cars that took the start today.

Team RPS are happy that the car is in good condition and the crew are in control.

Day 3

Langres – St Andre-Les-Alpes – Monaco

We’ve heard back from the guys. Last night was hard, the temperatures steadily dropped down below minus as Lewis steered the car through the night.

The service crew looking after the rally car is headed up by our great friends of Rob Kitchen and Steve Bunce who both kept close all the way helping with fuel, any tyres needed and plenty of banter and jokes to keep everyone awake.

Check-In at St Andre les Alpes for the team was at 13.32 where the other members of Scuderia Rapiditas who departed from Turin had already been through slightly ahead of Simon and Lewis.

All team members have now arrived at Quai Albert in Monaco where they have been able climb out of the car at last, The Ayris / Ayris crew have just let us know that the whole team is headed out for some food and to share stories of the night before, then they’re all off to get some well deserved rest.

Saturday morning sees all five cars from Scuderia Rapiditas leaving Quai Albert in the principality all on the way to the first competition up in the Cols where early reports from the advance car tells me that there is plenty of ice up there!

Day 2

Calais – Langres – Monaco

Team RPS have had a day of knocking off the miles of the event’s iconic concentration run, with competitors starting from varying locations across central Europe and eventually convening in the Principality of Monaco at staggered times across the day on Friday.

After a leisurely start to the day along with some local baguettes and coffee the guys clocked out of the Calais time control on their target time at 12:31

They then headed straight on through France to Langres, bypassing Reims where the competitors taking the start there depart at 19:00 hours local time tonight. Our other team members in Scuderia Rapiditas will be leaving Turin to start their run at the same time.

There will be some time to rest at Langres before the crew needs to then check out from there at 12.11am before the overnight drive with their next check point shortly before 8am Friday morning.

Friday will then be the push through to Monaco for some well earned rest.

Day 1 

London – Calais

The Ayris / Ayris crew left RPS HQ bright and early this morning making their way across to the Brooklands start, ready to join their fellow competitors on the journey to Calais,

The pair touched base early afternoon to let us know that they were ‘stickered up, scruitneered and signed on’. Departing from Brooklands at 4.02pm this afternoon, all crews will be taking the late night ferry across the English Channel and arriving at Calais just before midnight.

The Story So Far…

Usually out competing against each other is our very own father and son duo of Managing Director Simon Ayris and Operations manager Lewis Ayris who are currently side by side on this years Monte Carlo Historique Rally – the 25th running of this iconic event organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco based in the principality.

The usually ultra competitive pair have also swapped seats for this rally in their well built and super prepared Volkswagen Golf Gti Rally Car as part of team Scuderia Rapiditas – Lewis will be at the helm driving and Simon will be going back to his roots sitting in the co-drivers seat keeping on top of all matters and most likely Lewis too!

Lewis said “it’s an opportunity of a lifetime not just for me but for both of us to take part in such a prestigious rallying event, the car has the speed and the power so I hope I can keep it under control in the tricky conditions!…” Simon went on to say “it only feels like yesterday that Lewis and I were playing cars together in the living room when he was a small boy, but for sure we are not playing this time!”

The father and son team electing a London start departing from the historic venue at Brooklands Motor Circuit in Surrey at 7.30pm Wednesday 25th January. The rally then travels directly to Reims to join other participants who have started from other start venues such as Bad Homburg and the capital of Norway Oslo, before then travelling through rural France across Thursday night assembling in Monaco late Friday afternoon with the entire rally for a well deserved nights rest. Four more days of rallying follow before finishing in Monaco on Wednesday 1st February.

All of us at Rally Preparation Services Ltd wish Simon and Lewis and all of our friends and clients taking part good luck and a good run!




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