Home » These Heroic Rally Spectators Remind Us We Are Stronger Together

These Heroic Rally Spectators Remind Us We Are Stronger Together

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Sometimes, we all need a helping hand from others. Maybe we’re going through a hard time emotionally, or we’re struggling to find work. Or, maybe we’ve just slid into a wet ditch at speed and we can’t get out. In tough times like these, we’re often lucky to find rally spectators there waiting, eager to pull us back on the road.

In a video shared by Rallying UK, we see that beautiful attitude in action. A large group of spectators are all pitching in to rescue a stricken Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 rally car. They heave in unison on a pair of tow straps, calling out in rhythm to coordinate their efforts. By the sweat of their combined brow, the group of twenty or so are able to get the car back on dry land.

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The event occurred at the final of the Coupe de France des Rallyes—the French Rally Cup. The event was initially to take place in 2022, but strikes postponed it until February 2023. Driver Mickaël Reydellet, along with his more famous codriver, Stephane Lefebvre, had pitched the Polo into the ditch on Special Stage 6. Up until that point, the duo had been running fourth.

Thanks to the efforts of the assembled crowd, the pair were able to restart and complete the stage. They finished 89th on the stage, no surprise given the lengthy delay. Their cumulative position for the rally ended up as 54th, recovering to 33rd by the end of the event after a pair of podium finishes in stages 7 and 8.

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Of course, in and of itself, the event won’t appear strange to any experienced rally spectator. It’s a long established tradition for the crowd to step in and help stricken racers get back on their wheels. Still, the collaborative spirit is heartwarming, and something we don’t see enough of in motorsport, nor broader life.

How many of us get to join with others, saving the day on a regular basis? Our lives too often lack this kind of rewarding endeavor, where we grab the rope with our fellow humans and tug our hardest to some greater goal. Much of our toil is more diffuse in results, serving profit margins or other oblique corporate goals with little connection to reality. There’s no camaraderie, no adrenaline rush, no achievement. No shared glory. No celebratory slaps on the back with those who also put their shoulder to the wheel.

It’s easy to see how being a rally spectator could be rewarding. You don’t just get to see amazing feats of driving skill and high-performance vehicles roaring by at full attack. You also might get the opportunity to make yourself useful, and get covered in mud in the process. It’s also a grand reminder that we are stronger together. One spectator alone cannot pull a car to freedom. But many spectators together can achieve great things.

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“LE TRIOMPHE!”

I’ll level with you. I’ve worked some great jobs over the years, this one included. But as much as I enjoy writing, some days I long for the simple base rewards of laboring to success with a hard-working crew. Banding together to topple grand tasks is what we were built for, right? Evolution drove us to team up and succeed.

In my younger days, I toiled in the back docks of many a store with other nightfillers, stacking shelves and smashing pallets with the best of them. Those guys worked hard for no thanks and little money, but the brotherhood was everything. It was you and the boys against the clock, and a job well done made the midnight pizza runs all the more rewarding. I suspect pulling cars out of ditches with nineteen of your new best friends hits the same dopamine receptors.

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As an aside, the 2022 finale of the French Rally Cup might now be a distant memory, but it wasn’t short on hilarious carnage. In researching this piece, I was amused to find footage of one unfortunate driver who plowed their Citroen right into the wall of someone’s house. There were no injuries, but a resident can be seen looking down from their balcony with some disdain. In France, as in America, it’s considered rude to crash into somebody’s home.

In any case, I hope this piece inspires you to help others. Especially if their turbocharged race car has found itself stuck in the mud. It always feels good to lend a hand.

Image credits: Rallying UK via Twitter screenshot

 

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Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
13 days ago

Happened to us this year at Sno*Drift Rally, bunch of people came and pushed us out of a muddy snow bank and we recovered to finish 3rd!

https://youtu.be/SRmbadju0pI?list=PLPqyFF53MEmot8uU65dGNdFwz0Ro3hZjl&t=204

Space
Space
16 days ago

Would this be lighter or heavier than a standard Polo?

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
16 days ago

I can’t help but feel a tiny bit sorry for the poor French guy whose front lawn is now the ‘alternate route’ for that corner. Even after lining the road with a series of boulders, they still find a way to trim his grass.

As a rally fan it’s absolutely epic, but spare a thought for the potted plant.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
17 days ago

“How many of us get to join with others, saving the day on a regular basis?”

Join your local volunteer fire department. Even if you aren’t willing to fight fires or run EMS calls, they will find some way for you to help. Volunteer Chiefs are talented that way.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
17 days ago

Quite heartwarming! Yeah, that does indeed seem to be rather a hallmark of rally racing, especially in Europe and South America, with such camaraderie and helpfulness. With the current state of Google and other search engines being so capitalistically moribund I haven’t had a chance to dig into it to check on details but years ago I read about an incident where a Ford Escort (with the dogbone grille, which tells you how long ago this was!) had smashed its windshield in a rally race and due to safety regs couldn’t continue until a spectator volunteered the windshield from his own Escort whereupon some other spectators got out their tools and helped the mechanics replace the windshield so the rally Escort was able to carry on. Yeah, that helpful spectator might have had to drive home without a windshield but sure had a heck of a story to tell at the pub 🙂 I do recall that after the race the Escort’s team tracked him down and gave him a new windshield.

MY LEG!
MY LEG!
17 days ago

20 people honestly seems super light for how steep and how deep the Golf is in. Seems like… a bunker shot. *rim shot*.

Last edited 17 days ago by MY LEG!
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