Opel takes Chamonix win

Opel France continue to dominate the ice-racing world, with Yvan Muller and Dany Snobeck winning the 24 Hours on Ice at Chamonix this weekend.

Opel takes Chamonix win

Their team-mates Jean-Philippe Dayraut and Marcel Tarres pipped Tarres and Duez in the last heat to come in second.

Muller, who claimed his fifth Andros Trophy win last weekend, was on the top of his formidable form this weekend, the Opel Astra well ahead of the rest of the field.

Unbeaten in the six heats, their car was practically the only one to finish in an immaculate state.

"I'm really satisfied with the job we have done," Muller said afterwards.

"The whole weekend has gone smoothly, and Dany and I have been totally serene.

"Chamonix is never monotonous - there is too much that can happen. You can break down, someone can spin in front of you, a tyre can blow - there are dozens of things that can go wrong.

"But this time, everything went incredibly well."

Muller and Snobeck were certain of the win after taking victory in the fifth heat.

The last 20-minute race, however, saw the atmosphere change.

Suddenly bodywork flew, cars crashed and a general air of chaos reigned.

Muller, with a comfortable lead, managed to keep out of the trouble.

Behind him, a race-long battle between the second Opel car, driven by Jean-Philippe Dayraut and Eric Helary, and the Tarres/Duez Citroen Xsara, ended when Helary forced his way past the Citroen.

Muller was followed to the chequered flag by the Mega Glace driven by Bertrand Balas and Stéphane Peterhansel, with Malcher and Collard taking third place.

Overall, with the best five results counting, Muller and Snobeck took an easy win ahead of Helary and Dayraut, with Malcher and Collard third, an impressive result for Collard's first visit to the classic ice race.

"It's crazy. The weather has been awful, the track is completely destroyed, and
the traffic is difficult. You just can't see anything. So I was very surprised. But now I know what it's like. In all, it's been a goodexperience."

The final heat put paid to the podium hopes of Pierre Colard, as his car was hit by the Mega in a chaotic start. Stranded in the middle of the track, he was hit again before the race was finally red-flagged.

The Peugeot 306 was badly damaged, and as well as being unable to take the restart, is a doubtful starter for Super Besse next weekend.

"We'll have to see what magic the team can do," he said, having finished fifth overall.

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