Michaël Burri finished his Clio R3T European Trophy (Alps area) season in style at the Rallye International du Valais. Winner of the final round on this year’s calendar, he ends the season top of his area, ahead of Olivier Courtois. Both drivers will therefore contest the Rallye Monte-Carlo finale held in January 2016, with the chance of winning a drive in next year’s WRC 3. As regards Eric Filippi, he followed up his win at the Tour de Corse in the International category with another victory at Le Valais. He therefore qualifies for the finale from this category, along with Alberto Monarri, Alain Pyrame and Benoit Boulanger.
Michaël Burri, alongside his co-driver in Le Valais Anderson Levratti, booked his place for the Rallye Monte-Carlo. He made a perfect start to the season, winning the Critérium Jurassien and the Rallye du Chablais, before finishing as runner-up in Ticino and securing third at the Rallye du Mont Blanc.
Despite two wins and his overall consistency, Michaël Burri was nonetheless chased by Jean-Pierre Gatti and Olivier Courtois, who both arrived in Martigny determined to finish the season in one of the top-two spots and qualify for Monte-Carlo.
Burri made a superb start on Thursday in sunny conditions to take a commanding lead. The Clio R3T no.36 crew collected four consecutive stage wins the next day to extend their lead, before hitting a sewer drain and having to change a wheel. As a result, they lost three minutes and handed the lead to Jean-Pierre Gatti.
The Burri/Levratti crew went back on the attack and on Saturday morning, despite a slow puncture, they retook the lead. The pair went on to secure victory, whilst Olivier Courtois enjoyed a stunning end to the rally. He climbed up to second place on the final loop and with it, snatched the runner-up spot in the overall standings for the Trophy (Alps) from Jean-Pierre Gatti. The three men ended in the top four of the R3 category, but Michaël Burri and Olivier Courtois could congratulate themselves on making it through to the final of the Clio R3T European Trophy.
Clio R3T European Trophy standings – Alps area
1. Michaël Burri 159 points
2. Olivier Courtois 117
3. Jean-Pierre Gatti 108
4. Toni Buemi 15
In the International category, Eric Filippi – who had never previously competed in a rally outside of Corsica – captured the coveted prize. Level on points with Alberto Monnari at the top of the overall standings coming into the event, he claimed victory after a controlled performance, rounding off the season in style. With this second win, following his victory at the Tour de Corse, he booked his place at the 2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo, where he will be joined by Alberto Monarri, Alain Pyrame and Benoit Boulanger.
Clio R3T European Trophy standings – International category
1. Eric Filippi 120 points
2. Alberto Monarri 60
3. Alain Pyrame 56
4. Benoît Boulanger 42
5. Zoltan Bessenyey 38
6. David Nafria 36
7. Yannick Wendling 30
8. Frédéric Perrard 10
9. Frederick Delplace 2
Forthcoming Clio R3T European Trophy rallies:
14-15 November: Rallye Communidad de Madrid (Iberia)
21-24 January 2016: Finale – Rallye Monte-Carlo