Leclerc To Rendevous In Monaco

Leclerc To Rendevous In Monaco

A very different Monaco grand prix will be run on Sunday when Ferrari star Charles Leclerc takes to the streets of the super-wealthy principality on the edge of the Mediterranean.

Leclerc will be back behind the wheel of a snarling Ferrari car but there will be no sign of Lewis Hamilton or Max Verstappen.

Instead, he will be racing the clock in a remake of one of the most emotive motoring films of all time.

On the same day that should have seen the running of the 78th Monaco Grand Prix, which was cancelled because of COVID-19, the newly-minted Ferrari team leader will be tackling the famous principality street circuit at full noise in the latest Italian stallion, the SF90 Stradale.

Leclerc, who was born and raised within walking distance of the famous start line, is expected to be making his film stunt driving debut recreating the action from a highly illegal, nine-minute cult classic film called “C’etait un rendez-vous.”

Rendezvous, as it was known to English speakers, was a top-speed, pre-dawn blast through the streets of Paris in 1976 and this Monaco remake will apparently be titled “Le Grand Rendez-vous”.

The original director Claude Lelouch has returned, but this time with full police permission to recreate the classic as a promotional teaser to next year’s 12th Monaco Historic Grand Prix weekend.

The Historic meeting was announced this week as part of a triple-header for next year that will see historics linked with battery-powered Formula E single seaters and the Formula One GP on consecutive weekends in May.

French media report that permission has been granted for a ‘spirited blast’ around the principality, which will be shut down between 6.45am and 9am on Sunday as Leclerc pilots the new Ferrari SF90 Stradale road car for the shoot.

The yet-to-be-released SF90 Stradale is the latest hybrid from Ferrari and punches out 574kW from its twin-turbocharged 4.0 V8, a figure that is boosted by three electric motors.

The SF90 is capable of hitting 100km/h in 2.5 seconds, 200km/h in 6.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 340 km/h.

Neither Leclerc nor Ferrari have commented but, like Leclerc, Monaco is home for Lelouch.

The director will be hoping for a better result from Leclerc than in his three F1 starts in his home race, firstly a sixth with Sauber finishing, then a crash into retirement with Alfa Romeo in 2019 and another retirement, after just 16 laps, on his Ferrari debut last year.

Rendezvous was originally shot in one continuous take at speeds of up to 234km/h from Porte Dauphine to the famous Sacre Coeur basilica in the heart of Paris.

Using a dubbed in soundtrack of a Ferrari 275GTB for effect, the actual car was Lelouch’s own Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 as its hydro-pneumatic suspension was the only option good enough to keep the bumper-mounted camera free of vibration.

The film ended with his ‘rendezvous’ with his his real-life girlfriend, the reigning Miss Sweden, after which he was arrested and had his driving licence confiscated – though he claimed it was soon returned.

This Mercedes camera car was later revived to star in the famous car chase scene in Robert DeNiro’s 1980 “Ronin,” filmed through the streets of Nice. Lelouch still owns and drives it regularly.

Rumours persisted as to who the driver was in 1976 with many suggesting it was Lelouch’s good friend Jacky Ickx when it was Lelouch himself.

However, there will be no mistaking the familiar face of Charles Leclerc this Sunday when he tops Casino Square in the 780bhp SF90 at full noise.