Olivier Courtois and Hubert Risser make winning return

After retiring from the Critérium Jurassien, the Alsace twosome of Olivier Courtois and Hubert Risser made a winning return on the roads of the Ronde del Ticino, this after Michaël Burri and Anderson Levratti had set the early pace in winning the opening special from Jean-Pierre Gatti and Bertrand Chagot, who looked very much at home in the event. The early leaders’ luck deserted them on the next stage, however, when a loose brake line caused them to lose 1:16.1, which saw them drop to the bottom of the standings and allowed Olivier Courtois to take an 0.8-second lead from Jean-Pierre Gatti.

It did not take long for Michaël Burri to respond. With his chances of victory gone, he focused his attention on being the most consistent performer in the event and changed his race strategy accordingly, a policy that started to pay dividends on stage three. Despite keeping pace with his rivals, Jean-Pierre Gatti then fell victim to some technical gremlins of his own, with a loose electrical wire resulting in an engine cutout that cost him 2:43.4 in his battle with Olivier Courtois and dropped him down to third. Despite sorting out the glitch and then posting some excellent times, he would stay in third for the rest of the race, though he at least had the chance to continue to find his bearings in the Clio R3T.

Their opponents’ travails left Olivier Courtois and Hubert Risser with the relatively straightforward task of simply maintaining their lead. Finding a consistent pace and steering well clear of trouble, they eased home for a valuable win, one that leaves them second in the Clio R3T Alps Trophy standings and in the race to qualify for the final of the Clio R3T European Trophy, behind Michaël Burri and Anderson Levratti and ahead of Jean-Pierre Gatti and Bertrand Chagot. The season’s next meeting is the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, a superb event in which the Clio R3T Alps Trophy crews will come face to face with the challengers in the Clio R3T Trophy France. The three-day race gets under way in the resort of Morzine on 3 September.

The Clio R3T Alps Trophy is a qualifying series for the Clio R3T European Trophy final. You can find the full standings here

And for all the latest photos, news and behind-the-scenes info on the Clio R3T Alps Trophy, head to its official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ClioR3TAlpsTrophy and to http://www.clior3.com.

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