Sure we’ve seen Renault 5 Turbo’s before, even I’ve shown several before. But when it comes to the rally livery that made most impact on me it probably is the yellow/black/white Elf one. Probably because at that time, Renault had a racing team with Elf competing in Formula One as well.
And just with that Formula One in which Renault was pioneering with Turbo engines, they did just that in Rallying as well: The first ever car to win a WRC-event using a Turbo, was that crazy mid-engined Renault 5 Turbo. With “Jeannot” behind the wheel. Jean Ragnotti.
And I’d be surprised if you guys had not heard of Jeannot before as he had quite an impressive career. I do not think many drivers are capable of competing high level rally races for nearly 3 decades: 28 years of hard labour. He started out in 1967 in a Renault 8 Gordini (Groupe 2). And his last success was a class-win in the 1995 Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Renault Clio Maxi.
Can you even imagine what it is to experience the development of the rally sport and it’s cars this long? He drove different car-brands in his career but one brand he is always remembered of: Renault. Next to rallying he made a side-step to single seater track racing. In 1975 he competed in the European Formule Renault and became promptly second. The winner that year? René Arnoux. Who would enter Formula 1 only 3 years later.
A year later Jeannot would try again and won the European championship. And still had time to win two rallies: The Tour de la Réunion in an Alpine A110 and the Safari Calédonien in a... Groupe 2 Datsun Violet???
Having checked the single-seater box he went on to seek other thrills. And found a new one pretty quick in 1977. Not just becoming Champion de France de Rallycross in an Alpine A310 V6. Because in that year he competed in the race of races. The Le Mans 24 hours. In an Inaltera LM77. Becoming 4th overall but winning it’s GTP-class.
And being French there was another event he had to try: Paris-Dakar. He wasn’t extremely successful in his VW Iltis but then again: it was VW’s first attempt in a Rally Raid (1980) and it’s an impressive endeavor finishing such a race in the first place. Especially with the support a team got back then.
But to me Jean Ragnotti is known best for his use of one of the most epic French cars ever: The Renault 5 Turbo. Either in this Elf livery or the blue Philips one.
The model here is an Eligor 1/43. Just a base and a blister but enough details I can stare at for minutes. The Cibié headlight covers. The rollcage inside. All those sponsors. Just too bad the wheels don’t really roll: well they do but only “half a full cycle”. So no panning today. So I give you some stop-motion.
Ceci est la fin de ma pièce! Please give me some more support today on French Friday, the FF’s are getting lonely on LaLD! Ah, I see AlienProbe already joined in on the fun! Bon Week-End!