A COLOURFUL image on the back of a Holden station wagon travelling through Europe was enough to convince Monaco’s ambassador to Australia to change her travel plans.
Although she lives in the midst of the Mediterranean’s picturesque scenery, Catherine Fautrier decided the image of the 12 Apostles was so impressive she needed to tour the Great Ocean Road. Her visit included an overnight stop in Warrnambool on Monday.
Just two-and-a-half weeks ago, Ms Fautrier welcomed Australia’s entry in the Monte Carlo historic rally.
The 1951 FX Holden sedan, restored by Derrinallum plumber and car enthusiast Gary Poole, reached Monaco after a 3200-kilometre trek from Glasgow in Scotland through the French alps.
Mr Poole teamed up with co-drivers, V8 Supercar champion Craig Lowndes and Richard Davison, to re-enact the 1953 Monte Carlo Rally, which was the first ever international motorsport campaign by an Australian car and team — also in a FX Holden by drivers Lex Davison (Richard’s father), Tony Gaze and Stan Jones.
The historic Holden was backed up by a new Holden Commodore Sportswagon supplied by Warrnambool’s Callaghan Motors which also arrived in Monaco.
It was there that Ms Fautrier took note of the graphics on the rear door of this support vehicle — an image of the famous Great Ocean Road landmark provided by the Corangamite Shire.
She had an official Australian visit and holiday already scheduled but decided to tweak her plans to view the coastal scenery.
“I decided to see a little bit more of the country,” Ms Fautrier told The Standard yesterday. “The ocean road was really amazing. I saw so many beautiful places.”
Ms Fautrier said it was a special privilege to welcome the FX Holden team to Monaco at the end of the rally, particularly given its historic 60th anniversary and the family link with the two Davison drivers.
“Really it was a great human adventure.”
The ambassador organised a team photograph with the vehicle outside the royal palace in Monte Carlo, replicating a similar image taken in 1953 of the original team.