The final event on the semi-official programme awarded to the 2014 Swiss junior rally champions, the Rallye International du Valais marks the end of Simon and Thibaud Rossel’s season-long apprenticeship. “After several seasons at the wheel of the Renault Twingo R1, a car that’s not too far removed from the production version, driving the Renault Clio R3T has been an important challenge for us,” said Simon Rossel. “Renault Sport Technologies’ latest arrival has tremendous potential and you really need an apprenticeship to be able to use a set-up like this. Before this season we’d never driven a car with a sequential gearbox, anti-skid system, a turbo engine delivering a huge amount of torque, competition brakes and axles and suspension that deliver so much in the way of performance. Thanks to the supervision offered by all the people in charge of the programme and at Chazel Technologie, and with Laurent Reuche by our side too, we’ve been able to take this big step forward in the best possible way. Obviously we haven’t yet been able to tap the Clio R3T’s full potential in races but we’ve made progress throughout the season, which pleases us.”
As part of their preparations for the Rallye International du Valais, Simon and Thibaud Rossel carried out a testing session on Tuesday 20 October. “We drove at Ales racetrack in the south of France,” added Simon Rossel. “We’d had a four-month break and it was important for us to get behind the wheel again before the Rallye International du Valais. We decided to do this test session at a racetrack to prepare ourselves for the high speeds we’ll experience at the RIV, which is a very fast rally. We don’t have much experience of that kind of driving in the Clio R3T. Driving at a track gave us a better understanding of how the Clio R3T handles at high speed and its potential, while also allowing us to try a few things without taking too many risks. It was a great session and it’s done our confidence a power of good. Thanks to Chazel Technologie Course and in particular to Renaud Chazel, who was there with us, we were able to set up the Clio R3T the way we want. I can’t wait for the RIV to start. Our aim is to find good pace without overdoing it and to be consistent throughout the race. In a rally like this, that approach could pay dividends for us in the final standings. We’re going to enjoy this last event on our official programme as much as we can and try to put in a good performance to pay back all the partners who’ve played a part in making it possible, starting with the reconnaissance runs.”
The programme was awarded to the crew for their Swiss junior rally title win last year and is funded entirely thanks to the support of Renault Sport Technologies, Renault Suisse SA, Pirelli Suisse SA, Chazel Technologie, Total / Elf, ValJob, Auto Sport Suisse, GT2i and the Anzère ski resort among others.
You’ll find all the latest news and info on the Swiss junior rally champions as well as photos and onboard videos from the Clio R3T at the official Facebook page.