Journal: Here’s Why Jean Ragnotti Is The Guy You Call To Hoon Group B Renaults

Here’s Why Jean Ragnotti Is The Guy You Call To Hoon Group B Renaults

By Michael Banovsky
June 29, 2016

Imagine you’re a senior manager, work for an automaker with a large collection of historic vehicles, and, crucially, lord over their keys—knowing full well what a set of tires or, uh, a ‘ding’ will cost shareholders. Who do you let behind the wheel? In Renault’s case, there’s a pretty easy solution: just call Jean Ragnotti.

It’s difficult to overstate the level of car control required to have raced the 236-mph-in-a-draft Renault-Alpine A442 at Le Mans or hustle the mid-engine Renault 5 ‘Maxi’ Turbo through the Tour de Corse. Ragnotti? Good enough to beat the unbeatable Audi quattros. Thing is, he’s just not that well-known outside of Europe. The English Wikipedia page for Ragnotti is lacking, but the French one lists dozens of achievements.

From the Paris-Dakar to Formula Renault Martini, he’s won in several series on tough tracks—victories at Pau, Monaco, the Nürburgring, Tour de France Automobile, regional French rallycross series… Put another way, he’s a guy you wouldn’t want to see gaining in your rearview mirror during a race.

His mastery of Renault’s rally cars, however, has not only spawned several YouTube highlight reels but the role as an ambassador for the automaker’s historic activities, including recently at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Renault took the opportunity to strap a 360° camera on a Ragnotti-driven ‘Maxi’ Turbo…just before he rocked up the hill and laid down a run.

It was actually a bit atypical—usually Ragnotti spends his demonstration runs sliding the ‘Maxi’ around like a teenager tray sliding the family Jetta. Have you ever watched Ragnotti in action?

H/T to Renault

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5 years ago

Here’s a better video of his last years rallying, bear in mind he’s already 50 years old at that time!

5 years ago

Seen him dozen of time rallying in France, here people where just waiting for him to pass before to leave for the next stage. And he never disapointed! One of the best French ever, too sad he didn’t had enough ambition and did not leave Renault for Lancia when they wanted him in the 80’s!

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