Pascal Bérard, William Pitot and Aurélien Lafont have been rewarded for their respective wins in the three classes in the 2014 Renault Sport Challenge with a drive at the Rallye du Var. Taking on the role of official Renault Sport drivers for a week, they will have a day’s testing in the Clio R3T before getting behind the wheel of the car in the final round of this year’s French Rally Championship.
A hectic, ten-event Renault Sport Challenge season came to an end in the autumn, with Pascal and Caroline Bérard taking the honours in the R3/N4 class, William Pitot and Alexis Estival doing likewise in R2 and Aurélien Lafont and Aurélien Verdenet following suit in R1. In reward for their victories, the three crews will take to start line for the 60th Rallye du Var on Friday. Competing in the colours of Renault Sport, they will spend three days at the wheel of the Clio R3T, the latest addition to the motorsport/customer range.
“It’s a major challenge for these three drivers,” said Renault Sport Technologies Team Manager Sylvain Alanore. “They’ve earned their seat driving three different cars, some of which are pretty far removed from the standards of a modern R3. But we’ll be there to help them get to grips with the Clio R3T. They’ll be looking to make the most of this experience, which is both a reward for their performances and an opportunity for them to show what they can do.”
In joining the Renault Sport team in Le Var, Pascal Bérard, William Pitot and Aurélien Lafont will also be getting their own personal back-up, as Sylvain Alanore explained: “Each crew will have their own dedicated race engineer. The goal is not to get them competing with each other but to support them and allow them to gain a better understanding of the car, which is why we’ve also arranged a day’s testing before the rally. They need to find the set-up that will allow them to fully express the potential they’ve shown in other cars this year, and they’ll have the resources they need to shine in the R3 class.”
Following testing on Tuesday, the trio will reconnoitre the route prior to the start of the three-day rally on Friday, which finishes at noon on Sunday. There are three timed stages on the schedule on days one and three, while Saturday is the busiest day of the rally, with six specials in all.
Renault Sport Technologies will also be entering a Renault Twingo R.S. R2 Evo, driven by the Twingo R1 Germany Trophy winner Bryan Bendfledt, who will have Björn Christ in the co-driver’s seat.