The Tuthill Porsche 997 R-GT rally car was in Switzerland last weekend for Rallye du Valais: the final round of the 2015 FIA R-GT Cup. Having sealed the R-GT Cup title on the previous round – the historic Tour de Corse rally – Tuthill’s driver pairing of François Delecour and Sabrina de Castelli brought a lot of excitement to the event for spectators.
Delecour ranks highly in the hearts of rally fans all over the world, and began setting quick stage times from the start of the rally. As the Frenchman hustled the wide 997 through the twisty narrow roads around Sion, capital of Valais, the rally commentators made a beeline for François at stage end, and the Tuthill 911 drew huge crowds in the service park.
Rallye du Valais Report
Day one started well. After the first stage, Delecour ran third overall, just 1.5 seconds behind Craig Breen and chasing hard for the podium. Two more stages followed before first service at the end of day 1, when Delecour entered the service park fourth overall.
Day two began with a bang: François sliding the Porsche into the corner of a house while coming through a village on the first stage. Holding on to fourth overall, the Porsche then had to contend with very tight stages, coated in gravel and mud. As the four-wheel drive cars stretched their advantage, Delecour doggedly held his fourth place through to lunchtime, before returning to take top three stage times on the next two stages, finishing the day still fourth overall.
Day three dawned with bright sunshine and dry roads, but ahead lay stages with more than twenty kilometres of slow, grinding gravel. The day’s longest stage caused a few hairy moments for our competitors, as brakes faded on an extended downhill section and cars crashed out of stage on the icy parts hidden in the shade. Delecour dodged all the gotchas and was still going well at end of stage fourteen.
Nursing some rear suspension damage from the previous day’s domestic encounter, the car then picked up radiator damage en route back to service. Changing this made us late out after lunch and earned the team a two-minute penalty. As the Tuthill Porsche R-GT completed the afternoon’s first stage, engine oil temperatures soared and the car was retired on the road section.
What next for Tuthill Porsche R-GT?
Rallye du Valais was the final round of the 2015 European Rally Championship and our last outing in FIA events for the moment. While bringing a Porsche back to WRC has been very exciting, and we have take great pride in our R-GT wins at the legendary Monte Carlo and Tour de Corse rallies, the ERC calendar has in some ways seemed a more natural fit for the R-GT Porsche. Of course, we are extremely grateful for all the support we received from rally fans in 2015, whatever event they managed to support us on.
No decision has been taken on what comes next for R-GT. We’ll complete our Safari Rally programme at the end of this month, then prepare for our Below Zero Ice Driving season in Sweden and see where we are after that. Keep following the Tuthill Porsche news feed and social media channels for updates!
Pic by our great friend and supporter, Nicolas Pillisser