The sixth and last round of the 2016 Clio R3T France Trophy will be contested at the Rallye du Var (25-27 November). After sealing the title with a win at the Rallye Mont Blanc, newly-crowned champion Charles Martin will be aiming for a fifth consecutive victory this season as he looks ahead to next year’s Rallye Monte-Carlo. Elsewhere, there promises to be an almighty scrap between his three closest challengers, Kevin van Deijne, Pascal Bérard and William Pitot, who will be fighting it out for the last two places on the final podium.
The outcome of the Clio R3T France Trophy was decided at the last round, the Rallye Mont Blanc, in Morzine. Winner for the fourth time this season, Charles Martin secured the title ahead of the final round at the Rallye du Var. He therefore earned the right to compete at the 2017 Rallye Monte-Carlo in a Clio R3T with the support of Renault Sport. In the Var, the Île-de-France driver will be hoping to maintain his winning run before calmly turning his attention to 2017.
However, whereas first place is already decided, the final two top-three places in the Clio R3T France Trophy are still very much up for grabs. The last round left the standings even closer and there are now fewer than twelve points between the three drivers fighting for second place ! Kevin van Deijne, who has been very consistent since the middle of the season, is best placed going into the final round and starts as the favourite. With plenty of experience behind him, Pascal Bérard will hope he can snatch second place at the death, although the system of discarding your poorest result does not count in his favour. Currently fourth, William Pitot is quite far back but he has what it takes to finish on the podium. All three have already competed here, which augurs well for an epic battle. The driver that finishes as runner-up will win €7,000 in prize money and six tyres for the 2017 Monte-Carlo or for the 2017 Clio R3T France Trophy.
Newly-crowned Women’s French Rally Champion, Charlotte Dalmasso will be looking to maintain her rich vein of form and secure a good result in the Clio R3T Trophy. She will also have to contend with competition from Stéphane Boissy, who has grown in confidence throughout the season and who will also be aiming for a top-five spot. Jérôme Chavanne makes his return to the series, having claimed third place in the opening round in Lyon, and will be one of the favourites to finish among the leaders. Damien Tozlanian, who has three sixth place finishes this year, will want to improve on his best result at a rally in which he has already competed.
Several drivers join the Clio R3T Trophy for the Rallye du Var. Javier Bouza, winner of the Dacia Sandero Rally Cup in Spain, will face stiff competition as he tests the Clio R3T. Pascal Aimé also features in the line-up for the rally, on his debut in the Clio R3T. David Sauvaigo is familiar with the Renault car but will be competing in the Trophy for the first time, as will Boris Bazalgette.
Emmanuel Guigou will once again be driving a Renault Clio R3T but will not be competing in the Trophy. The Apt driver is on an unbeaten run of five consecutive wins in the R3 category of the French Championship, his best overall result being a fine sixth place at the Rallye du Rouergue ! Often very comfortable on the roads of the Var, he should be among the leaders.
The Rallye du Var is due to get underway on Friday, 25 November with three stages contested in the afternoon. The longest leg will be held on Saturday, with seven timed stages to complete, including Pignans, the event’s longest speed test (39.98 kilometres). The rally concludes on Sunday with three stages, including Plan de la Tour and Gonfaron, both over thirty kilometres long !
List of entrants for Clio R3T France Trophy – Rallye du Var
Charles Martin – Thierry Salva
Kevin van Deijne – Hein Verschuuren
Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard
William Pitot – Romain Brun
Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot
Stéphane Boissy – Jérôme Bard
Charlotte Dalmasso – Gwenaëlle Le Poëc
Jérôme Chavanne – Romain Montvignier
Boris Bazalgette – Mathieu Maurin
Pascal Aimé – Morgan Aimé
Javier Bouza – Ivan Bouza
David Sauvaigo – Nicolas Gillet
Overall standings (before round 6 of 6)
1. Charles Martin 130 points
2. Kevin van Deijne 68 pts
3. Pascal Bérard 60 pts
4. William Pitot 57 pts
5. Benoît Vaillant 35 pts
6. Damien Tozlanian 32 pts
7. Philippe Corneau 28 pts
8. Rémi Jouines 21 pts
9. Stéphane Boissy 20 pts
10. Charlotte Dalmasso 18 pts