The 2012 Renault Twingo R2 France Trophy roars into action at the Rallye Region Limousin, with the Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo taking its place on the start line alongside the Twingo Renaultsport R2, a member of the previous generation. Laurent Clutier, Romain Salinas and Georges Gonon, three of the leading contenders from 2011, are back again this year, though there have been many changes in the field, which means everyone will be looking for pointers as the championship gets under way.
Created in 2010, the Twingo R2 France Trophy has taken another step forward this year with the arrival of the Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo. Modern, easy-to-drive and reliable, the new car has taken its cue from the Renault Sport line, which has enabled whole generations of drivers to fulfil their passion for the sport.
Aside from featuring reinforced sections in the running gear, the Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo is fitted with new Ohlins two-way shock absorbers with hydraulic bump stops. This competition car also comes with a 4-cylinder, 1.6-litre, 16V engine delivering 190bhp, some 57bhp more than the production version. And as well as a five-speed sequential gearbox with a joystick control mounted on the steering wheel, the engine also produces maximum torque of 200Nm.
Second, third and fifth respectively in the 2011 Twingo R2 France Trophy, Georges Gonon, Laurent Clutier and Romain Salinas are bracing themselves for another tilt at the championship, which this year comprises six events. Their extra experience should stand them in good stead against the clutch of newcomers to the event, with 2010 champion Gonon an obvious contender.
There is plenty of quality in the ten-team field in Limousin however. Yann Clairay will have big ambitions after making the switch from the Clio Renaultsport R3 he has been driving in recent seasons. Second in the Clio R3 France Trophy last year, Clairay has the ability to claim a top-three finish.
After competing in the Twingo Renaultsport R1 last season, Anthony Balester and Mathieu Sentis have taken a step up this year by switching to the R2 Evo, and will be aiming to cut short their apprenticeship fast and push for honours.
Signed up by Renault Sport Technologies, 2011 Twingo R1 France Trophy winner Nicolas Romiguiere will also be at the wheel of the R2 Evo. His official duties prevent him from taking part in the Trophy, but having finished first in his class in last weekend’s Tour de Corse, he will be looking to repeat the feat at the Rallye du Limousin.
21. Clutier Laurent – Brun Brice
22. Salinas Romain – Micheli Benjamin
23. Gonon Georges – Gonon Valérie
24. Clairay Yann – Roux Thomas
25. Sentis Mathieu – Valette Gil
26. Monnet Thierry – Hugonnot Cédric
27. Balester Anthony - Boschetto Thomas
28. Galleano Yannick – Santos Paulo
29. Fra Jonathan – Salva Thierry
30. Seminara Lloyd – Hottelet Jean-Louis
Friday 18 May: Stage 1
11h33– ES1 St Moreil - St Priest (19.29 km)
12h01– ES2 Auriat – Champnetery (11,39 km)
12h34 – ES3 St Julien – Peyrat (16,67 km)
15h07 – ES4 St Moreil - St Priest (19.29 km)
15h35 – ES5 Auriat – Champnetery (11,39 km)
16h08 – ES6 St Julien – Peyrat (16,67 km)
19h06 – ES7 Ville de Limoges (2,34 km)
Saturday 19 May: Stage 2
11h08 – ES8 Mont-Gargan (29,98 km)
11h46 – ES9 Lacelle – Tarnac (16,67 km)
14h24 – ES10 Mont-Gargan (29,98 km)
15h02 – ES11 Lacelle – Tarnac (16,67 km)
17h45 – ES12 St Moreil - St Priest (19.29 km)
18h13 – ES13 Auriat – Champnetery (11,39 km)