Charles Martin closes in on the Clio R3T France Trophy title

Charles Martin has won the Rallye du Rouergue in the Clio R3T France Trophy from Kevin van Deijne and Charlotte Berton. At the start of the rally the Frenchman took a lead he was never to lose and went on to score his third victory on the bounce. With two more rounds to go (Mont Blanc and the Cevennes) he is the hot favourite to win a drive in a Clio R3T in the 2017 Monte Carlo Rally.

Charles Martin arrived at the start of the 43rd Rallye du Rouergue Midi Pyrnées full of confidence. Given his experience in this event he was the hot favourite after his two victories in the two previous rallies counting towards the Clio R3T France Trophy. He won the first stage and stamped his authority on the proceedings.

But in SS2, Charlotte Berton shocked her rivals and delighted her fans. Despite a year’s break, and on her first outing in the Clio R3T France Trophy, she set the quickest time in the Campouriez-Le Nayrac stage. Martin continued to open up a gap in the second loop on Friday although van Deijne managed to keep in touch. When the day ended Martin led van Deijne by 18.7sec and Berton by 33.6sec. William Pitot was fourth in front of Pascal Bérard.

On Saturday morning Martin set a searing pace clinching the three fastest times in the first loop while Berton complained of unsuitable setups. The leading trio battled in the last three stages and van Deijne was fastest in the final one, but Martin racked up seven quickest times in 10 specials.

Thus, Martin clinched his third win in four rounds in the Clio R3T France Trophy. Van Deijne finished second again so he still remains the driver from the Ile de France region’s most serious rival in the title chase. Berton put on a stunning performance on her first outing in the Trophy to finish third as well as being the highest-placed woman driver. Pitot came home fourth in front of Bérard, Damien Tozlanian, Patrice Poinapin and Geoffrey Burnens. The eight crews at the start all saw the chequered flag proof of the Renault Clio R3T’s reliability.

Before the summer break Martin had every reason to be delighted with his result in the Aveyron. “I’m very happy. We drove an intelligent race this weekend and the result is a good one in terms of points and bonuses. I did the job, and in addition I really enjoyed myself!”

Manu Guigou, who was not competing in the Trophy, put on an incredible performance at the wheel of the Clio R3T by finishing sixth in the Rallye de Rouergue! He won the two-wheel-drive category and achieved the feat of beating several crews in four-wheel-drive cars. In addition to the tried and tested reliability of the Clio R3T, this result confirms the fact that the Renault is the benchmark in the two-wheel-drive category.

The driving skills of our entrants were also highlighted as all the cars reached the finish. They managed to overcome the traps on quick roads and in difficult conditions because of the heat, especially as they were allowed only two passages during reconnaissance.

Rallye du Rouergue – Clio R3T France Trophy
1. Charles Martin – Mathieu Duval 2h09’02’’0
2. Kevin van Deijne – Hein Verschuuren +34’’1
3. Charlotte Berton – Sabrina de Castelli +1’05’’3
4. William Pitot – Romain Brun +2’17’’2
5. Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard +3’59’’8
6. Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot +7’19’’5
7. Patrice Poinapin – Kévin de Berge +8’30’’8
8. Geoffrey Burnens – Nicolas Paupière +8’35’’7

Best performer Jean Ragnotti
1.Martin 5 points – 2. van Deijne 3 points – 3. Berton 1 point

Overall classification (after round 4/6)
1.Charles Martin 100 points
2. Kevin van Deijne 57 pts
3. Pascal Bérard 45 pts
4. William Pitot 36 pts
5. Benoît Vaillant 35 pts
6. Damien Tozlanian 28 pts
7. Philippe Corneau 28 pts
8. Rémi Jouines 21 pts …