The Route Outline

The 22nd Marathon Route Outline

12th - 18th June 2010

Day One: Beaune to Valence - Sunday, 13th June - 360kms

A mid morning start from the centre of Beaune sees crews heading out into the attractive farmland of the Bresse plains for the initial regularities on their way to lunch and a brace of tests at a new motorsport venue.

The afternoon section then sees crews wend their way south through the gently rolling hills of the Bugey and the Pays de Bièvre before skirting the dramatic limestone massifs of the Chartreuse and the Vercors as further competitive motoring brings us to our first overnight halt in the traditional Monte Carlo Rally watering hole of Valence.

Day Two: Valence to Millau - Monday, 14th June - 430kms

We are quickly into the action today as crews head into the classic French rallying heartland of the Ardèche and Cévennes. It is no surprise that this area has long been a favourite for rallyists combining superb views with a maze of lanes that are a real driver’s treat.

The British designed Tarn Bridge

Our overnight at Millau in the Gorges du Tarn lies close to the majestic Tarn bridge

We spend the day enjoying some classic “Monte” sections, as well as tackling some newly unearthed finds - stunning roads you never knew existed! Emerging from these densely wooded hills in the late afternoon, the final sections trace a dramatic route through the spectacular Gorges du Tarn to the bustling market town of Millau.

Day Three: Millau to Carcassonne - Tuesday, 15th June - 400kms

Leaving Millau, crews head west along the attractive Vallée du Tarn before turning south to tackle a series of testing sections on the narrow lanes that thread their way through the remote hills of the Monts de Lacaune and the Monts de l’Espinouse.

After crossing the Languedoc plain, we enter the Corbières region or “Cathar Country” in the afternoon. These vine-clad hills, crowned by ruined hilltop fortresses, hide a dense network of sinuous roads which should provide an enjoyable few hour’s of competition as we make for Carcassonne and our overnight hotel, within a stone’s throw of the imposing Cité Médiévale – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The medieval walled city of Carcassonne

Medieval Carcassonne

Day Four: Carcassonne to Luchon - Wednesday, 16th June - 410kms

Heading south from Carcassonne, we will soon be tackling little known Cols, which not only offer great driving, but also the first dramatic panoramas of snowy Pyrenean peaks. Soon we will be amongst them, climbing to over 2000 metres to cross the highest passes of the Pyrénées-Orientales.

After lunch, we explore more great rallying country in an often neglected corner of France - called the Couserans - before dropping down to the sleepy spa town of Luchon (or Bagnères-de-Luchon as it is now known) nestling in the high mountains, close to the Spanish border.

The Tourmalet

Spectacular scenery & great roads

Day Five: Luchon to Biarritz - Thursday, 17th June - 440kms

It’s action from the word “Go” today as we tackle a succession of climbs made famous by the Tour de France, including the Peyresoude, the Aubisque and the biggest and most celebrated of all - the Tourmalet.

No surprise then that a tough day is in prospect as crews undertake a series of testing regularities amidst the dramatic surroundings of towering granite and limestone massifs incised by deep ravines. Watch out for the drops...

Descending from these spectacular mountain surroundings in the late afternoon, a pleasant cross country run through the lush farmland of the Pays Basque brings us to our final destination –Biarritz where we spend the next two nights.

Biarritz

Glamorous Biarritz

Day Six: Biarritz to Biarritz - Friday, 18th June - 230kms

Heading inland, and with only eagles soaring on the thermals for company, we spend a final morning exploring the maze of deserted roads in the hills close to the French-Spanish border. These challenging sections should provide a fitting finale to the event, with perhaps a sting in the tail to shape the final leaderboard back in Biarritz...

After another unforgettable week of Marathon motoring, there will no doubt be a few tales of derring-do to be shared over a celebratory drink in one of Biarritz’s many bars and cafés before the evening’s gala prize giving dinner rounds the event off in style.

All information is correct at time of publication (Jan 2010) but changes may be made. The programme for the event will be included in the Event Regulations.