Rallye international du Valais - 29 au 31 octobre 2015
Dernier rendez-vous d’une saison qui en compte cinq, le Rallye International du Valais est cruciale pour Michaël Burri, Jean-Pierre Gatti et Olivier Courtois dans l’optique de décrocher l’une des deux places qualificatives leur permettant de participer à la Finale du Rallye International du Valais, 29-31 October 2015
The last of this season’s five events, the Rallye International du Valais (RIV) is a crucial one for Michaël Burri, Jean-Pierre Gatti and Olivier Courtois, as they continue to fight it out for the two qualifying slots for the 2015 Clio R3T European Trophy final. The stakes are high for all three drivers. The two who win through will face their fellow qualifiers from this season’s four other Clio R3T competitions (Italy, France, Spain/Portugal and Europe) at the 2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo, with the winner of the final earning an official six-event programme with Renault Sport Technologies in next season’s FIA World Rally Championship 3. It is a prize the three contenders are determined to make their own.
The battle to win it will be played out at the RIV, which starts in Sion at 13:45 on Thursday 29 October. Featuring 17 special stages and 25 kilometres of dirt tracks, the 233-kilometre race route cuts through in the Alps of Switzerland’s Valais region on smooth asphalt roads for the main part. All in all, it is a challenging event that provides the perfect setting for what promises to be a thrilling Clio R3T Alps Trophy finale.
Brimming with confidence
Fresh from winning the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, Jean-Pierre Gatti and co-driver Bertrand Chagot lie second in the standings. Though the Haute Savoie duo are making their RIV debut, their intimate knowledge of the Alps and their race experience should help them feel at ease on the roads of Valais. That said, the RIV is a unique challenge, with three days of tough competition in store for the drivers. Always at ease on damp roads, Jean-Pierre Gatti should the find perfect conditions in which to express himself, with fluctuating grip levels on the menu thanks to a combination of dry sections and stretches of road made cool and damp by the morning dew. Full of confidence and as motivated as ever, Gatti and his sidekick have a place in the final firmly in their sights.
Less haste, more speed
Also competing on unfamiliar ground will be Oliver Courtois and Hubert Risser, who go into the event lying third in the standings. The Alsace pair have had their fair share of disappointments this season but have the pace and experience to make up for them in the final round. Their analytical approach and ability to read roads are key attributes that will no doubt help them get to grips with the terrain. A driver who loves to attack, Olivier Courtois will be determined not to let this opportunity pass him by. If he can control his pace in an event in which nearly 40 percent of the field fail to finish every year, Courtois could well sneak into contention. He certainly has the desire, motivation and potential to do so.
Much still to do for Burri
Though respectively 23 and 24 points clear of Jean-Pierre Gatti and Olivier Courtois in the Clio R3T Alps Trophy standings, Michaël Burri and Anderson Levratti can take nothing for granted this coming weekend, not with 60 points available for the winners. Knowledge of the terrain will be a vital factor for the championship leaders, though Michaël Burri has had his ups and downs in the RIV before and knows better than his opponents just how testing an event it can be. That previous experience and in-depth knowledge of the event gives him a crucial edge, however, and with his undoubted talent to boot, he is an obvious candidate for a place in the final.
Eyes on the prize
Currently tied for the points lead in the Clio R3T European Trophy, Corsican crew Eric Filippi and Francis Victor Mazotti will be taking part in the RIV for the very first time. Following their Tour de Corse win, the pair can take the international Clio R3T title if they make the finish line in Valais. Having already booked his place in the European Trophy final, Eric Filippi is under no pressure and is keen to lay down a marker against his Clio R3T Alps Trophy colleagues. All will be revealed from this Thursday.
For all the latest goings-on in the Clio R3T Alps Trophy and info on its development and event highlights go toits official Facebook page: Clio R3T Alps Trophy
For the latest Clio R3T Alps Trophy standings as well as competition details and rules go to: www.clior3.com
For all the latest news on the Rallye International du Valais as well as start times and the race route go to: www.riv.ch
CREDIT PHOTO: project-diffusion.ch