- Driven by Artur Prusak and Thierry Benchetrit, the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai from Toyota France took first place in the first e-Rally Monte-Carlo, which was held between Fontainebleau and Monaco.
- The three Mirai cars entered by Toyota France, one of which was driven by Georges Marsan, the Mayor of Monaco, all finished the race after completing a course of more than 1,000 km.
- Thanks to a mobile refuelling station developed by Air Liquide, the performance of the three cars demonstrated the sustainability of the hydrogen fuel cell over a long distance.
Brussels, Belgium - As the first hydrogen powered car to participate in such an event, the Toyota France Mirai assigned to Artur Prusak and Thierry Benchetrit stood out over a course of more than 1,000 km.
Organised by the Monaco Automobile Club from 12-16 October between Fontainebleau and Monaco, the e-Rally Monte-Carlo is a regularity rally compliant with FIA regulations and restricted to “zero-emission” cars. Thirty-five crews of nine different nationalities were registered, primarily with battery electric vehicles. The three Mirai cars entered by Toyota France all crossed the finishing line, demonstrating the performance, reliability and sustainability of hydrogen fuel cell technology over such a distance - the longest distance ever travelled in France by hydrogen powered cars.
Already champions of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup world championship in 2015 and 2016, as well as winning the Monte-Carlo New Energies Rally in 2013 behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius, Artur Prusak and his co-driver Thierry Benchetrit have added another trophy to their cabinet by securing the Toyota Mirai’s title as the first hydrogen powered car to win an International Automobile Federation test.
“We are thrilled to have won because it is the first time in history that a rally of this size has been organised for zero-emission cars and we have achieved a world first with a hydrogen powered competition car,” explained Artur Prusak and Thierry Benchetrit. “The Toyota Mirai performed perfectly for the whole circuit. It is comfortable, powerful, and performs as well on the motorway sections as it does on the winding roads of the regularity sections. We found that its driving range can exceed 500 km.”
Bearing the number 1 and provided by Air Liquide, the Toyota Mirai driven by the Mayor of Monaco, Georges Marsan, and his assistant and co-driver, Jacques Pastor, finished in an impressive sixth place. “It was the first time that I took part in a rally, and the first time a hydrogen powered car has competed,” stated Georges Marsan. “We really enjoyed ourselves with this Mirai, which showed that sustainable mobility can also be synonymous with performance. The success of this test is a major step towards the roll-out of hydrogen fuel cell cars. The Office of the Mayor of Monaco is proud to have taken part, and with such a good result. ”
The third Mirai entered by Toyota France, entrusted to a crew of French journalists, took eleventh place and would have undoubtedly done better had it not been for a navigation error in the first regularity zone, as it performed consistently in the later stages.
The Toyota Mirai is currently available for sale in seven European countries: Germany, Denmark, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and the Netherlands.