Defert dominates from start to finish

After finishing the first round on the bottom step of the podium, Damien Defert responded with a perfect performance in Limousin. The junior led the second round of the Twingo R1 Trophy France from start to finish, claiming victory ahead of Florian Bernardi and Charles Martin. The result sees Martin retain first place in the Twingo R1 Trophy France, and he now shares the lead in the French Rally Junior Championship with Defert.

With points already on the board from the first round, Damien Defert, Charles Martin, Cédric Coste and Jérémie Serieys all burst out of the blocks in the first special stage. Kévin Coste and Florian Bernardi both managed to stay less than a second per kilometre off the pace, with Jean-René Perry, Roman Ferrero, Jean-Baptiste Dunand and Dimitri Audet completing the top ten.

On dry roads at the beginning of the race, Defert was able to build an early lead of 8.3 seconds over Martin, with Perry already 30.4 seconds behind as the cars returned for servicing. Dunand, Bernardi, Serieys, Kévin Coste, Romain Fostier and Antoine Masse all managed to stay less than a minute off the lead after three special stages. The early stages of the rally were slightly more difficult for Mathias Wouters, Joffrey Margiotta, Dimitri Audet and Cedric Coste, all of whom went off the road during the first run.

The first drops of rain soon started falling, allowing some of the other drivers to shine in the afternoon. Johan Notargiacomo and Yohan Saillat threw themselves into mix among the front-runners, but Defert continued to stretch his lead. At the end of the first leg, Defert held a 19.7-second lead over Martin, and a 36.7-second advantage over Perry. Bernardi found himself in fourth place at this stage having moved above Dunand, who suffered a puncture in SS5. Julien Rambault, Frédéric Hauswald and Roman Ferrero all suffered a similar fate in the afternoon.

After falling to 23rd place in the provisional overall standings, Dunand then put in the strongest performance of the second leg with four fastest times in six special stages. This allowed him to climb back up the leaderboard and into tenth place in the Juniors category.

Out in front, Defert was in complete control. Martin and Bernardi did manage to record the fastest times lap after lap, but Defert was still able to increase the gap further by taking advantage of his rivals’ errors. In the morning, Perry rolled his car and lost more than four minutes. In Martin’s case, it was a bad tyre choice that proved costly. He went out on wets while the roads were dry, which cost him more than a minute and, ultimately, second place. Rambault and Serieys also made mistakes, but Serieys did still manage to finish the rally.

In the end it was Bernardi who finished second, behind Defert. Martin completed the podium, ahead of Serieys, Fostier, Masse, Kévin Coste, Ferrero, Thibaut Fohrer and Jean-Charles Mougin.

“This victory puts us back on course in the championship,” said Defert. “We had a few small problems in Touquet. Here, we drove quickly but without forcing things. It’s a good result and it’s one I share with the Daumas Sport team, who guided us well in our tyre choices. We only made one small mistake in SS3. I think we drove really well during the first run yesterday. We were able to increase our lead at the right time and stay in front right to the end.”

The next event takes place on 15 and 16 June during the Rallye des Vins Mâcon.

Fastest times: Jean-Baptiste Dunand 5, Charles Martin 4, Damien Defert 3, Florian Bernardi 2
Leader: SS1-13 (finish), Damien Defert

1 Damien Defert – Florent Diottin 2:29:02.7 (J)
2 Florian Bernardi – Victor Bellotto +40.5 (J)
3 Charles Martin – Romain Devos +1:45.1 (J)
4 Jérémie Serieys – Justine Quillet +1:47.5 (J)
5 Romain Fostier – Ophélie Abchiche +1:49.7
6 Antoine Masse – Mathieu Favreau +2:06.7 (J)
7 Kevin Coste – Loïck Paitre +3:10.2 (J)
8 Roman Ferrero – Maxime Morin +4:39.1 (J)
9 Thibaut Fohrer – Anaïs Bihl +5:35.4 (J)
10 Jean-Charles Mougin – Kévin Bronner +5:53.4 (J)
11 Jean-Baptiste Dunand – Yannick Debornes +5:58.1 (J)
12 Arnaud Genesca – Jordan Berfa +6:20.3 (J)
13 Simon Lebiez – Gwenaelle Dhote +6 :43.0 (J)
14 Jean-René Perry – Kévin Millet +6:46.3 (J)
15 Dorian Nicolas – Gauthier Perier +6:48.6 (J)
16 Jean Jouines – Madeline Celso +7:34.8 (J)
17 Steven Bossard – Geoffreu Combe +9:37.7 (J)
18 Romain Auvert – Maxime Belivier +10:14.0 (J)
19 Anthony Caplan – Julien Bichon +10:26.3
20 Frédéric Hauswald – Sébastien Pujol +10:58.0 (J)
21 Gabriel Lieffroy – Laurine Ehrardt +11:30.8 (J)
22 Ségolène Couturier – Charlène Deville +15:03.3 (J)
(J) = entered in the French Rally Junior Championship

Twingo R1 Trophy overall standings (2/6)
1 Charles Martin 40 points
2 Damien Defert 37 points
3 Romain Fostier 25 points
4 Julien Rambault and Florian Bernardi 18 points
6 Antoine Massé and Jérémie Serieys 16 points
8 Jean-René Perry 10 points
9 Cédric Coste and Kévin Coste 6 points
11 Roman Ferrero 4 points
12 Mathias Wouters and Thibaut Fohrer 2 points
14 Jean Jouines and Jean-Charles Mougin 1 point

French Rally Junior Championship overall standings (2/6)
1 Charles Martin and Damien Defert 40 points
3 Antoine Massé 20 points
4 Julien Rambault, Jérémie Serieys and Florian Bernardi 18 points
7 Jean-René Perry 12 points
8 Cédric Coste and Kévin Coste 8 points
10 Roman Ferrero 6 points
11 Thibaut Fohrer and Mathias Wouters 4 points
13 Jean-Charles Mougin and Jean Jouines 2 points
15 Yohan Saillat and Jean-Baptiste Dunand 1 point