In 2000, Viviane Zaniroli, passionate about vintage cars and rallies, makes a simple observation : women in this field are constantly relegated to the rank of co-pilot. In order to fill this gap, she decides to launch a 100% feminine rally around a common passion : Le Rallye des Princesses.
Not only automobile, this rally is also an ode to the epicureanism, to an art of living luxury and beautiful things. Except of iconic models and of collections models one of the challenges of this route is also the French heritage, the most beautiful roads, exceptional places, sometimes little known, around gastronomic menus designed by famous chefs.
This year and for the 21st edition, the Peter Auto group has opted for a new route to the west of France. From Paris to La Baule, the sublime vehicles passed through the towns of Le Touquet, Deauville and Dinard, all emblematic of French luxury and the art of living.
Meeting with Patrick Peter
In a few words, could you explains us what the Richard Mille Rallye des Princesses is ?
The Richard Mille Rallye des Princesses is a is a 100% women’s open road regularity rally, dedicated to classic car and motor sport enthusiasts. This exclusively feminine rally is an invitation to travelling and discovering. The programme includes over 1,000 kilometres of the most beautiful roads in France.
What are the 5 steps of this Rally ?
The 21st edition took place from may 14 to may 19, starting in Paris with stages in Le Touquet, Deauville, Dinard and La Baule.
You have taken up the torch the Richard Mille Rally des Princesses. What does it represent to you ?
What was missing from the Peter Auto calendar was a rally dedicated solely to women, where the challenge of surpassing oneself is the order of the day, but where there is no question of a race in which one must challenge the lap times. This rally celebrates women, elegance, gastronomy and the discovery of the most beautiful French regions.
What did you bring to this rally ? is there a touch, a Peter Auto signature ?
We brought in new partners, such as BMW, which provided us with a fleet of vehicles for the teams in charge of the organisation, and Vicomte A., the official dresser, which provided sleeveless jackets and caps. We were also able to count on Perrier Jouet champagne and the setting up of a Lillet cocktail bar every evening. We also wanted to offer little touches to the participants every day. As well as an increase in the range of lunches and dinners offered each day.
What were the main innovations of this 21st edition, which ended on 19 May?
The main novelty this year is the new course in the west, but whose layout had already been designed by the Zaniroli’s, in addition to the passing of the torch between the Zaniroli’s and Peter Auto. For this edition, co-organised with the Zaniroli’s and their team, we were keen not to turn everything upside down but to observe and bring our Peter Auto touch.
Since its creation, the Richard Mille Rallye des Princesses is seen as a luxurious and high-end event. Why this desire?
We want to offer a sporting and elegant interlude to these women. They enjoy the pleasure of driving beautiful vintage cars through historic places while tasting fine food and resting in 4 or 5 star hotels. The association with Richard Mille as title partner is to continue this desire to offer a top-of-the-range sports rally to a target group of active women.
Generally speaking, is a women’s rally the same as a men’s rally? What is the profile of these women?
We noticed that the women were all just as competitive as the men, but this did not translate in the same way. We noticed a lot of solidarity, benevolence and good humour between the competitors. They were there to win or to surpass themselves, but also to have fun and to meet up in the evening to have a good time. The women who take part in the Princesses’ Rally are active women, many of whom are company directors. upper middle class.
Since 2014, Richard Mille associated his name to the Rallye des Princesses by taking the name of the event. How has this been a turning point for the rally?
This partnership has allowed the rally to premiumization., in terms of the choice of hotels, the quality of lunches and dinners, and the opening up to the international market.
This is not your first collaboration with the watchmaker Richard Mille. Tell us about your relationship with him.
Richard Mile is an long-time friend. He is our partner on several of our events, Le Mans Classic, a retrospective of the 24 Heures du Mans, Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, an international automobile competition and the Richard Mille Legends Rally, an exceptional rally in small groups that celebrates the art of living.
Could you tell us a few words about your other partners (BMW,Vicomte A.,Motul, 107.7 …)?
BMW, Vicomte A. and Motul are long-time partners of several of our events such as the Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Chantilly Arts & Elegance… We share common values and have been working hand in hand for several years. For example, BMW provides the organisation with a fleet of vehicles, Vicomte A. is our clothing supplier and offers jackets and caps to the competitors and the organisation. Finally, Motul provides maintenance products for the cars. We also continued the partnership initiated by the Zaniroli with Radio Vinci Autoroutes, which covered the entire event and broadcast spots and news on its airwaves, website and social networks.
This year’s route was in the west of France. How do you choose the routes each year?
The western route was chosen by the Zaniroli family, who were behind the creation of the rally. It was a new route, as the Richard Mille Princesses’ Rally usually runs from Paris to St Tropez via stopover towns that change every year. The routes are devised months in advance, the idea being to surprise the participants and to find ever more beautiful and original routes.
What is your assessment of this 21st edition?
A nice handover between the Zaniroli teams and the Peter Auto organisation. We discovered a very family and warm atmosphere between the participants and the organisation. We have a very positive assessment with loyal participants who will come back next year. This confirms that this 100% women’s rally still has a great future in the world of classic car rallies.
From 30 June to 3 July, the 2022 edition of Le Mans Classic, one of the main automotive events that you organise, will take place. Could you tell us a bit about it?
After two postponed editions in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, Le Mans Classic returns for its tenth edition. This event, created in 2002 by Peter Auto in association with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, offers a fantastic retrospective of the legendary 24 Heures du Mans. The last edition attracted 195,000 spectators in 2018. It is the largest gathering of classic cars with 750 racing cars on the track and 8,500 classic cars.
Interview by Sébastien Girard, President of Icon-Icon and Saskia Blanc