Martine de Cortanze

Martine de Cortanze of France is a former rally driver, motorcycle and speedboat racer with an impressive record in all three categories. She has also made her mark as a sports executive and author.

As a car driver, she took part in five seasons of the French Cross-Country Rally Championship from 1968 to 1972. Riding a motorcycle, she competed in five seasons of the French Enduro Championship from 1975 to 1979 and five editions of the Enduro du Touquet. Between 1978 and 1979, she took part in a number of Rallies on a motorcycle, finishing 1st in the women’s category in the Croisière Verte round-France cross-country Rally in 1978 and 1979.

Martine was among the motorcycle contingent in the first edition of the Paris-Dakar, where she headed the women’s standings and came 11th overall. She took part in successive editions of the Dakar between 1978 and 1981.

From 1981 to 1984, Martinetook part in a number of high profile endurance races, coming first in the women’s category in the"24 Heures de Mauléon" and the 2nd "Rallye de Tunisie” car events in 1981.  In 1983, she came first in the women’s category in the car category of the “Rallye du Maroc”.

Between 1984 and 1988, she took part in five seasons of speed and endurance boat races (inshore and offshore). There were no separate women’s standings in those events.

Martine, who started out her career as a journalist and press attaché, wrote a book about her rally experiences entitled “Une fille dans le desert” (a girl in the desert) in 1980 and co-authored a book on cross-country rallies entitled “Les Raids” in 1982.  

In 1988, Martine took part in parabolic flight tests for Nasa at the Space Center in Houston, USA, as with French astronaut Patrick Baudry.
Martine de Cortanze became a Chevalier de l’Ordre de Mérite in 2001.