Will Rémi Dargegen conquer France at the wheel of this Abarth?

Our resident photographer Rémi Dargegen has photographed the Tour Auto as a spectator many times and considers the event one of the finest in the world. But this week, he’ll experience the rally as a competitor for the very first time, behind the wheel of a fabulous Abarth Simca 2Mila…

A dream come true

As a photographer, I never miss the Tour Auto. Everything about it, from the route and the landscapes to the world-class assembly of cars, is just extraordinary. But to experience it from the cockpit of a rare sports car is a dream — and one that I’m thrilled to say has come true.

During Rétromobile, a friend told me he’d like to publicly show cars from the Swiss Möll Collection in order to educate people about the brand. So, I said, ‘Let’s do the Tour Auto!’ He loved the idea, and we chose one of the few cars eligible — an Abarth Simca 2Mila. Quite quickly, we thought it was the best compromise between lightness, power, and rarity. You just never see them out in the wild, and to get the opportunity to race one in the Tour Auto is truly unique. 

Italian temperament? We’ll see…

In terms of preparation, I really just dusted off my old driving shoes. In all seriousness, though, the Möll Collection’s resident mechanic did an amazing job with the car, servicing the engine and the gearbox, fitting new brakes, and fettling the usual little things you need to tweak to make an Italian car reliable.

Swift shakedown

The first time I drove the car was on Sunday before we headed to the Grand Palais, and it was great. This specific car is fitted with the rare six-speed gearbox and, instantly, it felt incredibly fast, light, and loud. You can really feel its potential — I can’t wait to be driving it in the Alps or along the Côte d’Azur. For sure, I’ll be totally in love by the time we arrive in Nice.

Itching to go 

We’re looking to have a pleasant week of fun. And I know that from the driver’s seat, I’ll enjoy it as much as — or, to be honest, probably even more than — if I was photographing it. It’ll definitely be different. I literally can’t wait for the start.

Photos: Robert Cooper for Classic Driver © 2018 

You can find all our 2018 Tour Auto coverage listed here