After four completed rounds and an eight-week summer break, the Clio R3T France Trophy returns to action at the first French Rally Championship of the autumn. Rallye Mont Blanc Morzine (1-3 September) may prove decisive in the title race, since Charles Martin could be crowned champion before the final round of the season.
After claiming a third consecutive win at Rallye du Rouergue, Charles Martin is the clear favourite to win in the Clio R3T France Trophy. This will be his fifth appearance at this rally and his experience here is expected to help him to top the timesheets, although a podium spot may be enough to secure the main prize at the end of the season.
He is nonetheless likely to be challenged by Kevin van Deijne. After competing at Rallye Deutschland in a Clio R3T, the Dutchman is improving gradually in the Trophy. Having finished as runner-up at the last two rounds, he’ll be looking for his first win, a result that might put him back into contention in the title race. As the five best results count at the end of the season, he is the only other driver that can still finish first.
Pascal Bérard, a consistent performer since the start of the year, moved into the podium places in the Trophy standings thanks to his result at Rallye du Rouergue. He will be aiming to consolidate his position, or even move up the standings if van Deijne is off the pace this weekend. Having competed at Morzine last year in a Clio R3, he’ll be able to use his knowledge of the course.
This is also true for Charlotte Dalmasso who, in addition to the prize for the leading Female driver, will also have her sights set on a podium place. She has already competed at Rallye du Mont Blanc on three occasions, claiming a top-eight finish in the R3 category in 2015. William Pitot will equally be going after a place on the podium, which might enable him to move into the top three in the overall standings.
Damien Tozlanian is another driver aiming to move up the standings by recording a strong result. With three consecutive sixth-place finishes, he can target a top-five spot. This will also be the thinking of Stéphane Boissy, whose best result to date is seventh in Antibes. Meanwhile, Frédéric Perriat returns to action in the Trophy after his debut appearance at Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières was cut short.
The Clio R3T ALPS Trophy competitors will also be taking part at Rallye Mont Blanc Morzine. Five Clio R3Ts will be looking to shine, whilst also measuring themselves against crews from the French series. Championship leader Cédric Althaus will be joined by Jean-Pierre Gatti, Olivier Courtois, Jérôme Chavanne and Philippe Broussoux. Manu Guigou, not competing in the Trophy, will harbour serious hopes of winning the R3 category, buoyed by four wins in his last four outings in the Clio R3T.
List of entrants
Charles Martin – Thierry Salva
Kevin van Deijne – Hein Verschuuren
Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard
William Pitot – Romain Brun
Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot
Charlotte Dalmasso – Gwenëlle Le Poec
Frédéric Perriat – Géraldine Robe
Stéphane Boissy – Jérôme Bard
Overall standings (before round 5 of 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