Twingo R1 France Trophy hits the heights

The fourth event on the 2012 calendar, the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine takes the Twingo R1 France Trophy field into Haute-Savoie and the French Alps. Driving the Twingo Renaultsport R1, 22 crews will fight it out at the foot of Europe’s highest peak, with mid-season leader Charles Martin intent on defending his position from fellow title challengers Romain Fostier, Damien Defert, Florian Bernardi and Jeremie Serieys.

Victories at Le Touquet and Rodez in the opening half of the Twingo R1 France Trophy season have allowed Charles Martin, who hails from Île-de-France,to open up a 25-point lead over second-placed Fostier. Martin also leads the way in the French Junior Rally Championship – open to drivers under the age of 25 – albeit by a slightly smaller margin of 21 points from Defert, who needs to close the gap fast, as do Bernardi, Jeremie Serieys and the rest of the chasing pack. A disappointing display on the Morzine slopes could leave them out of the title reckoning.

Created last season by Renault Sport Technologies, the Twingo R1 France Trophy is the first step on the French rally ladder, with a kit conversion of the Twingo Renaultsport production car allowing drivers to get their first taste of competitive action. Thanks to their victory in the inaugural competition and the French Junior Rally Championship last year, Nicolas Romiguiere and Alexis Negre have stepped up to the Twingo Renaultsport R2 Evo programme this season. Hoping to follow in their footsteps in 2012 are more than 30 young drivers.

Bernardi earned a podium finish on the Twingo R1 France Trophy’s first visit to the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine in 2011, while Martin had to settle for sixth. One year on, the two 23-year-olds are now the star attractions.

Defert, Serieys, Antoine Masse, Frederic Hauswald and Jean-Rene Perry are also ones to watch in the junior event, with Fostier, the only man in the field over the age of 25, banking on his extensive experience as he goes in search of a high placing.
Hailing from local villages Evires and Lovagny respectively, Jean-Baptiste Dunand and Segolene Couturier, the only female driver in action, will be out to impress on home ground, while Fostier and Johan Notargiacomo, who also live in the Savoie region, should be right at home amid the peaks, some of which reach more than 1,500 metres.

As well as the Twingo R1 France Trophy, this weekend’s rally is also hosting the Twingo R1 Swiss Trophy, where nine Twingo Renaultsport R1s will take to the start of what is the fourth of five legs on the 2012 calendar. Mathias Rossetti heads the standings but will be racing these roads for the first time, unlike some of his championship rivals.

Morzine marks the start and the finish of this the 64th running of the rally, with 11 special stages taking place from Friday morning through to Saturday evening, when Renault Sport Technologies will host a big barbecue for all the teams competing in the various Trophy events.

64th Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine
80. Fostier Romain – Abchiche Ophélie
81. Martin Charles – Devos Romain
82. Defert Damien – Diottin Florent
83. Bernardi Florian – Bellotto Victor
84. Serieys Jérémie – Quillet Justine
85. Masse Antoine – Favreau Mathieu
86. Hauswald Frédéric – Poujol Frédéric
87. Perry Jean-René – Millet Kevin
88. Dunaud Jean-Baptiste – Debornes Yannick
89. Jouines Jean – Villani Jean-René
90. Fohrer Thibaut – Bihl Anaïs
91. Wouters Mathias – Gainet Aline
92. Mougin Jean-Charles – Bronner Kévin
93. Saillat Yohan –Marty Julien
94. Lieffroy Gabriel – Ehrhardt Laurine
95. Lebiez Simon – Julie Lebiez
96. Auvert Romain – Belivier Maxime
97. Notargiacomo Johan – Delon Marine
98. Hanquiez Ben – Coustenoble Tom
99. Margiotta Joffrey – Margiotta Brice
100. Audet Dimitri – Artzner Mélodie
101. Couturier Ségolène – Deville Charlène

Friday 7 September
8h00 – Assistance (Morzine)
8h45 – ES1 Montriond-le-Lac (12,20 km)
9h16 – Assistance (Morzine)
9h49 – ES2 Morzine – Samoëns (21,12 km)
11h27 – ES3 Sommand – Praz de Lys (27,52 km)
15h25 – Assistance (Morzine)
16h53 – ES4 Samoëns – Morillon (14,90 km)
17h30 – ES5 Samoëns – Morzine (20,32 km)
18h06 – Assistance (Morzine)
18h46 – Arrivée (Morzine)

Saturday 8 September
7h30 – Assistance (Morzine)
8h12 – ES6 Morzine – Montrions (22,30 km)
8h54 – Assistance (Morzine)
9h32 – ES7 La Côte-d’Arbroz – Praz de Lys – Sommand (28,60 km)
11h00 – ES8 Morzine – Samoëns (21,12 km)
14h20 – Assistance (Morzine)
15h34 – ES9 Samoëns – Morillon (14,90 km)
17h09 – ES10 Samoëns – Morzine (20,32 km)
17h54 – ES11 Morzine – Les Lindarets (13,98 km)
18h44 – Arrivée (Morzine)

Twingo R1 France Trophy: Overall standings (after three rounds of six)
1 MARTIN Charles 65 points
2 FOSTIER Romain 40 points
3 DEFERT Damien 39 points
4 BERNARDI Florian 36 points
5 SERIEYS Jérémie 26 points
6 MASSE Antoine 22 points
7 RAMBAULT Julien 18 points
8 HAUSWALD Frédéric 12 points
9 PERRY Jean-René 10 points
10 DUNAND Jean-Baptiste 8 points…

Twingo R1 France Trophy: Overall standings (after three rounds of six)
1 MARTIN Charles 65 points
2 DEFERT Damien 44 points
3 BERNARDI Florian 36 points
4 SERIEYS Jérémie 30 points
5 MASSE Antoine 28 points
6 RAMBAULT Julien 18 points
7 HAUSWALD Frédéric 15 points
8 PERRY Jean-René 12 points
9 DUNAND Jean-Baptiste 11 points
10 COSTE Cédric 8 points…