Berard keeps R3/N4 hopes alive, Pitot and Lafont celebrate R2 and R1 titles

Renault Sport cars excelled at the Rallye du Pays de Saint Yrieix, recording wins in each of the three classes. Pascal Berard steered his Renault Clio Renaultsport R3 to victory in the R3/N4 class* and moved out front in the standings, while William Pitot celebrated his R2 title with another victory. Finally, Romain Auvert took the honours in R1 ahead of championship winner Aurelien Lafont. The season comes to a finish at this weekend’s Rallye National Vosgien, where the race for the R3/N4 title will be decided.

Points leaders following three podium finishes in the last three races, Mickael Reydellet and Thomas Chauffray started out as favourites in the R3/N4 class. Frontrunners after the first special and fifth overall, they climbed up to fourth after SS2 and held a lead of 23.4 seconds over Pascal and Caroline Berard at the end of the opening day.

Mickael Reydellet’s rally ended on Sunday morning, however, when he went off, allowing Pascal Berard to move into the lead. Stringing together a series of excellent times, Berard went on to take the class win and finish fifth overall, a result that took him to the top of the R3/N4 standings* ahead of the season-ending Rallye National Vosgien.

Thomas Gaume and Pierre Cesbron turned in an impressive performance in the Clio Renaultsport R3 to finish fourth, while debutants Jean-Sebastien Vigion and Yann Poursain had to retire in SS1 because of mechanical problems. For their part, Philippe and Alexandra Rageau were disqualified due to a technical infringement.

Though assured of the R2 title after winning the last two rounds, William Pitot and Alexis Estival went on the attack at the Rallye du Pays de Saint Yrieix, going fastest in SS1 and keeping the pace up for the rest of the weekend to win half of the stages, take the class victory and finish ninth in the general standings. In making it three wins in a row in a season in which they have steadily improved and finished on the podium seven times, the duo celebrated their championship win in style.

Behind them, Marvin Sorin and Karine Moinet recovered from a sluggish start to impress in the Twingo Renaultsport R2, posting the fastest times in the last four specials to finish third in the class, their third top-three finish of the year.

In the R1 class, meanwhile, Aurelien Lafont and Aurelien Verdenet began the event knowing that they had the championship in the bag. Though the pressure was off, their duel with Romain Auvert and Maxime Belivier still lived up to expectations. Fastest in the three stages in Le Chalard (SS1, SS3 and SS5), Romain Auvert took control despite Aurelien Lafont scoring two fastest times of his own in Saint Yrieix (SS2 and SS4) and snatching the provisional lead after the fourth special.

Their tussle continued on day two, with Aurelien Lafont moving back in front after SS8. Romain Auvert was not to be denied, however, winning three of Sunday’s five stages to finish 3.8 seconds clear of his rival and notch his second victory of the season. But with four season wins to his name, Aurelien Lafont had the not inconsiderable consolation of taking the Renault Sport Challenge R1 title. Completing an all-Renault Sport top three in Saint Yrieix were Matthieu Tarif and William Tarif.

The Renault Sport Challenge will reach its conclusion at this weekend’s Rallye National Vosgien, the tenth and final event on the 2014 calendar. Partnered by Sabrina Guillaume, Aurelien Lafont will be out to celebrate his R1 title with another strong showing, while Franck Gravier and Muriel Bernardin will face plenty of stiff competition as they go for the R2 win.

Renault Sport will be best represented in the R3/N4 class, with Mickael Reydellet and Thomas Chauffray taking on Pascal and Caroline Berard in the battle for the title, which also includes Laurent Lacomy and Sebastien Mattei. Joining them in the Vosges will be Damien Stempfle and Aurelien Barthelemy in the Clio Renaultsport R3. The quartet can expect quite a challenge, with more than 20 R3/N4 cars entering the last round of the season.

Rallye du Pays de Saint Yrieix standings
R3/N4 class
1. Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard (Renault Clio R.S. R3) 1:19:10.8
4. Thomas Gaume – Pierre Cesbron (Renault Clio R.S. R3) 1:23:24.5
5. Jérôme Joussely – Audrey Lachieze (Renault Clio R.S. R3) 1:23:50.9

R2 class (Renault Twingo R.S. R2)
1. William Pitot – Alexis Estival 1:21:58.2
3. Marvin Sorin – Karine Moinet 1:23:09.6

R1 class (Renault Twingo R.S. R1)
1. Romain Auvert – Maxime Bélivier 1:25:45.2
2. Aurélien Lafont – Aurélien Verdenet 1:25:49.0
3. Matthieu Tarif – William Tarif 1:35:49.9

Renault Sport Challenge standings after the Rallye du Pays de Saint-Yrieix
R3/N4 class
1. Pascal Bérard 94 points
2. Mickaël Reydellet 85 points
3. Laurent Lacomy 69 points …

R2 class
1. William Pitot 113 points
2. Georges Gonon 86 points
3. Jordan Mottard 56 points
4. Marvin Sorin 44,5 points …

R1 class
1. Aurélien Lafont 124 points
2. Romain Auvert 93,5 points
3. Antoine Margely 83 points
4. Nicolas Renchet 71 points
5. Théo Chalal 67 points
6. Emilien Sanlaville 47 points
7. Matthieu Tarif 36,5 point…

* Sous réserve des vérifications techniques restant à effectuer