For Alain Pernot of Auto-Journal in ZOE number 103 and our team in number 110 (Alexandre Stricher from AUTOcult.fr and Michaël Torregrossa from Automobile-Propre.com), this Monte Carlo ZENN Rally is a first-time experience in this kind of competition.
Since we got here, 24 hours before the event started, we've been bombarding our team captains (Greg and Yves Munier, winners of last year's event) with questions. They've put together a roadbook that provides valuable help on top of the information provided by the event organizers. And they took charge of calibrating the cars and training the beginners among us.
Yves (ZOE 105 copilot this year) is also the mastermind behind the on-board equipment we use for calculating the distances run by our Renault and deviations from set times in the regularity trials.
The copilot has to adjust the system to within ten metres to offset trajectory differences. The system computes deviation from the set time automatically, and informs the driver by means of three LEDs: green says your timing's right, yellow means you're too slow, and red means you need to slow down.
Greg and Yves make the very best use of this system, as they showed today with a penalty point score of just two, meaning that the five secret spot checks found them just two seconds out from the set time.
After Greg and Yves Munier, and largely thanks to their excellent preparation, we came joint second with three penalty points, alongside the France-Monaco team of Pascal and Aurore Ferry, who were also on the podium in 2014.
Keep tuned for details on tomorrow's long second leg: close to 160 kilometres, with four regularity tests, and an ever-watchful eye on the electricity consumption!
By Alexandre Stricher (blogger for AUTOcult.fr)