The Norev Renault is very nice.
It's just a shame that Norev don't convert more of their 1/18th scale models in competition form.
The Mercedes 190E Cosworth is a case in point, modes required would be an interior, wheels/tyres and paint scheme.
Let's rapidly pass to 1995, when Carlos Sainz finally won his 2nd Rally of Montecarlo driving a Subaru Impreza 555, beating the always competitive and former winner Francois Delecour on the Ford Escort RS Cosworth, no more used by the official Ford Motorsport team but from the Belgian RAS Sport.
In this case my model comes from Sunstar, which released some years ago the Impreza 555 in night stage version and fully open. I'm quite happy with this model, maybe a bit high on its front wheels, but really decent overall, also considering the price I've spent at that time, a bit less of 60€!!!
Here are the pictures for you:
Also for 1995 I also have in collection the F2 winner, again a Renault Clio driven by Ragnotti, but this time is a Maxi kit car. This model derives from another version which Ottomobile produced together with the assistance van and trailer. I had in the past the proper model, the 1st version of the Clio Maxi driven by Ragnotti, but decided to sell it and to convert this night stage one with a trans-kit made by me to transform the car from Bugalsky to Ragnotti.
And here are the winning Subaru and the Renault together
In 1996 Montecarlo was out of the main WRC but was part of the F2 World Championship, so no top cars from official teams were present but just a good number of privateers with good Gr.A cars and the official teams with the best 2WD kit cars like Peugeot, Seat and Skoda. The race was won by Patrick Bernardini on his Ford Escort RS Cosworth leading the powerful Peugeot 306 Maxi driven by Delecour who scored a new 2nd overall. So as you can imagine this year is not present in my collection since the 1994 winner Escort is already present.
According to this we directly switch to 1997, when a new regulation began and a new family of cars was born under the name of World Rally Cars, aka WRC. Those cars were more aggressive and powerful with respect to the previous Gr.A thanks to more permissive regulations. Subaru and Ford prepared new cars according to the WRC spec, respectively with the brand new Impreza WRC S1 and the Escort WRC derived from the standard Cosworth, while Mitsubishi continued evolving its Lancer to the Evo4 spec still as a Gr.A.
The 1st race of this new era was won by Subaru with the Italian crew Liatti/Pons who surprisingly beated a very competitive Carlos Sainz on the Escort WRC.
The model in collection couldn't be anything different by the Autoart Subaru Impreza WRC!!! I'm totally in love with this version of the Impreza WRC, probably my favourite WRC car overall, also thanks to a massime amount of game play time on Colin McRae Rally at the beginning of 2000s! 😁😁😁
The model doesn't need any presentation, it's a re-release of the first well known Impreza WRC with some improvements which made it even better, so here are the pictures without losing further time.
The next year in order is 1998, the season of the epic battle between Carlos Sainz and Tommy Makinen for the World Championship, ended with the dramatic withdraw of the Spanish 300m before the end of the last special stage of the RAC Rally and the finnish winnig the title from his hotel.
The season starting at Montecarlo was a winning one for Carlos Sainz, who came back to Toyota Team Europe to drive the new Corolla WRC after the Ford period. The Spanish driver was able to win the race against the immortal Juha Kankkunen (driving a Ford Escort WRC) and Colin McRae (driving a Subaru Impreza WRC), while Makinen on his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV was retired due to an accident.
The model in collection is the recent Corolla WRC produced by Ottomobile, in night stage setup! For long time I had an Autoart base to be modified to Montecarlo specs, but when Ottomobile announced their Corolla WRC I was more than happy to add it to my collection, considering that a newer model always have a more accurate shape (specially in the front area, where the Autoart headlights are a bit small in my opinion). So as usual, we have a resin sealed model which spots on for what regarding the overall external shape, with a pretty decent interior detail, and the night lights pods which dominate the front end of the model. In my opinion this is one of the best efforts of the French brand, which finally gave back to us collectors a very nice representation of the Corolla WRC.
From 1999 begins the Thommy Makinen's reign at Montecarlo, in contemporary with the explosion of the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo6 which, although not being a WRC car, was very competitive. Makinen won the rally also in 2000, and actually both the cars shared the very same livery, so I'll jump directly to the new millennium season, when the Finnish driver lead Carlos Sainz on his Ford Focus WRC and Juha Kankkunen on the Subaru Impreza WRC by almost 1.30 minutes and 3.30 minutes respectively.
The model in collection for the 2000 season is one of the most wanted Autoart models by rally fans, the gorgeus Lancer Evo6 in Marlboro colors (but without writing, as per French regulation). Like the majority of the early 2000 years models, it comes fully open and when released the price was 1/4 of the actual ones... unfortunately I wasn't among the lucky guys who bought it first hand, so the economic sacrifice for this model was quite big, but not exaggerated. Moreover I was a big fan of the Lancer at that time, so I definitely had to add this model (and its sister, as you will see) to my collection.
What to say about it: as usual with Autoart the paintwork is very good (mine is also ok in the hood white area, which usually shows cracks on the paint) and considering the age of the model, it is a very refined one. Unfortunately the rear door opening system doesn't make possible to open them too much, but I can live with this. For the rest, in my opinion it remains the best version of this rally car, reproduced recently also by IXO but sealed, and also by OneModel if I remember well, in resin. I don't lose more time and let the pictures speak for me.
In the 2001 season race the man of the race was always Makinen, on his Lancer named Evo 6.5 this time. It was actually a small evolution of the former Evo 6, with a different front bumper and some engine improvements, but this was enough to beat again Carlos Sainz and the Focus WRC by 1 minute.
For what regarding the model, I have again an Autoart Lancer Evo 6.5, which is actually a twin model of the 2000 Evo 6, except for the front bumper and the different livery. So not so many words on it, I show you the pictures.
In the 2002 season Makinen won again the Rally of Montecarlo, but this time at the wheel of the Subaru Impreza WRC S8 and after a hard challenge with Sebastien Loeb on his Citroen Xsara WRC and Carlos Sainz on the Ford Focus WRC 02. Unfortunately for the Finnish driver, the rest of the season wasn't at the same level of the 1st race and he achieved only some minor placements, while his team mate Solberg at the end was 2nd overall in the Drivers Championship behind Marcus Gronholm and the Peugeot 206 WRC.
The model in collection for this season is another little jem from Autoart. I've been really surprised by the aspect of this model from real and by the overall quality, at that time Autoart was really quality for money. As most of their Millennium models, it comes full opening and with a good level of detail in the interior compartment, as you can see from the following pictures. In particular I love the aspect of the carbon fiber side mirrors and headlights and the metallic paint excellently applied on the body.
After the 4 in a row victories by Thommy Makinen, a new chapter of domination started in 2002 with Sebastien Loeb at the wheel of the Citroen Xsara WRC who won 4 in a row rallies of Montecarlo from 2002 to 2005. The French Team was able to develope a very competitive car and Loeb was undoubtly the best interpreter of the Xsara WRC, also in comparison with important team mates like Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae.
The model in collection is from 2004 and comes again from Autoart but this time with a sealed body (according to a new line of racing cars with sealed body they launched at half of the 1st decade of the new millennium). They produced this model in 2 versions, day and night stage, and this is actually a night stage version with full night pods. Despite the sealed body, I must say Autoart put in this model a nice amount of details, in pair with the previous open models, not forgetting to provide steering front wheels and a very decent cockpit.
Together with the overall winner I've decided to acquire also the 2WD winner of the race, which has been reproduced by Ottomobile finally giving us a very nice model of the gorgeous Renault Clio S1600, here driven by Patrick Bernardi:
And here are both the cars together, ideally side by side on a virtual podium
Let's continue quickly, with the 2023 Rally Montecarlo just started yesterday, coming to 2006, when Marcus Gronholm and the Ford Focus WRC won the race against Sebastien Loeb and the (officially unofficial) Citroen Xsara WRC by Kronos Sport. The challenge between them continued for the whole season and at the end Loeb won again the driver championship by just 1 point on Gronholm, a literally epic battle in that year!!!
The model in collection is one of the beautiful reproduction of the Focus WRC made by Sunstar, in this case in night stage spec, with 3 opening doors, except the rear one. When arrived in my hands, I must say I had been really happy with this model and the effort Sunstar spent on it, since the shape is very close to the real thing, the tarmac stance is perfectly replicated and the level of detail is decent if compared to the price fascia of the model when it was launched on the market. Moreover is always nice to be able to open as much closures as possible and also the engine bay, despite simple, appears quite complete.
After the Gronholm parenthesis, Loeb started again to win serially win at Montecarlo again in 2007 and 2008 at the wheel of the brand new Citroen C4 WRC, the new car developed by the French company to continue the domination started with the previous Xsara. And actually the mission was accomplished, since in both the races Loeb won against all his challengers with extreme ease.
The model in my collection comes from 2008 and is the Autoart version of the C4 WRC (which has been also reproduced by Solido and Norev), which comes with sealed body like the previous Xsara WRC. Autoart also made the 2007 version with night pods for the lights, but I didn't manage to find one at reasonable price, so when this came as a bargain I didn't lose time to buy it. Despite being sealed, I must say the final result is very good anyway, with the usual Autoart quality for the global shape of the car and the right level of details both on exteriors and interiors... Not one of my favourite WRC cars, but happy to have it in collection...
From 2009 to 2011 the Rally of Montecarlo wasn't part of the WRC, but it was valid for the IRC (International Rally Cup), reserved to S2000 cars. Despite some great name won the race in these years, like Ogier or Hirvonen, they're not part of my collection, so we can step up directly to 2012, when the rally came back definitely to WRC... and who could be the winner of the race if not Sebastien Loeb, at the wheel of the brand new Citroen weapon, the DS3 WRC. In the previous years the WRC regulations changed and the top cars had to use a 1.6L engine instead of the 2.0L, but music didn't change since Citroen was again the brand able to develope the most equilibrated car, despite the Ford Fiesta WRC was almost on pair with it. Coming to the race, it was an easy one for the French driver, with the 2nd classified Sordo 2.45 minutes behind.
The model in collection is originally a Norev Citroen DS3 WRC in the nice Red Bull colors, but strangely they didn't release the Montecarlo winner among all the other versions, so I've bought a Rally de France version (already a Loeb car) and then drawed a trans kit to obtain the Montecarlo winner car. It comprises the roof flag, the Montecarlo number plates obviously and a couple of other details needed to have a perfect reproduction of the real thing. Basicly Norev made a nice job on the model, with a good shape, 2 opening doors and enough details considering the price tag and I particularly like the perfect stance.