The Rallye International du Valais is one of the largest automobile events in Switzerland and offers stunning views from its setting in the Valais Alps.
The event was launched in September 1960, and was originally known as the “Rallye du Vin” or “Wine Rally”. It rapidly grew in scale but remained true to its name and philosophy: discovering the different regions of the Canton du Valais, along with its wine regions and wines.
In 1976, the event’s tourism element was removed and it became a competition entirely dedicated to motorsports, quickly entering the International Championships. From the late 1970s famous international drivers such as Jimmy McRae, Per Eklund and Jean Ragnotti competed in the Rallye du Vin. Per, a Swedish driver, was the first ‘international’ driver to win the Rallye du Vin, in 1980.
The first edition of the Rallye International du Valais in 1981 saw another ‘continental’ driver, Jimmy McRae, win on Valais’ roads at the wheel of an Opel Ascona 400.
There have been changes behind the scenes too, with the Association du Rallye du Valais – the event organiser since 1 January 2017 – granting Martigny-based Global Events Sàrl the role of coordinating and organising part of the event.
The Association du Rallye du Valais is committed to leveraging the competition to promote the Valais region beyond its local, linguistic and international borders. To help boost tourism, it invites international motorsports stars to take part in each edition and, to aid the local economy, the Association strives to work with local Swiss businesses and artisans.
Over one hundred Swiss and international crews stay in the Valais region each year as they compete in this special race. And nearly 1,000 volunteers, 500 with a focus on safety, work hard to make this a successful and fun event.