The penultimate round of the 2017 season takes the Clio R3T Trophy France competitors to Vendôme for the Rallye Cœur de France (29-30 September). The anticipated fight between the top two in the standings may end up with Cédric Robert sealing the title in Loir-et-Cher, but Florian Bernardi will be doing all he can to stop his rival.
As this event makes its long-awaited return to the French Tarmac Rally Championship calendar, eleven crews will be contesting it as part of the Clio R3T Trophy France.
This weekend, Cédric Robert can be crowned champion if he finishes among the first four and Florian Bernardi fails to finish – even if Bernardi scores the points awarded to the best performer! At a rally that is unfamiliar to both men, the last remaining challenger will therefore be doing all he can to keep the title race alive and maintain his winning form at Mont-Blanc.
With his closest rivals missing this round, Kevin van Deijne will be looking to strengthen his hold on third place in the standings. Although he will be looking to score his second podium this year, the Dutchman will be up against some drivers who are experienced on the roads of Loir-et-Cher!
Frédéric Perriat (2016) and Philippe Rageau (2011) have both won here in R3. Third in the event in 1999 and winner of the French Rally Cup in 2014, Bruno Longépé will making his maiden appearance in the Clio R3T France Trophy. Meanwhile, William Pitot will be returning to the same stages on which he drove to victory three years ago in the R2 Twingo Trophy. Lastly, Romuald Lezeau will be back at the Cœur de France after a thirteen-year absence.
Sara Williams will be looking to confirm her progress by beating her best result of the season. Seventh on his debut in the category at Mont-Blanc, the winner of the International category of the 2015 Clio R3T European Trophy, Éric Filippi will also be taking part, as will Frédéric Flajolet.
As usual, Emmanuel Guigou – not competing in the Trophy – will be aiming to win the R3 class, whilst also providing the Clio R3T Trophy France competitors with a useful benchmark.
The Rallye Cœur de France will be contested over a total of 503.75km, with 182.88km of stages. On Friday, 29 September, two loops of three stages will be contested, before the day leg concludes with Super Savigny. The next day, the crews will complete Sargé-sur-Braye and Savigny-sur-Braye twivce, before the podium ceremony.
Renault Sport will be present at the event to contribute to its success. Whilst guests will take turns on the stages alongside Charlotte Berton in the VIP car, the synergies established between Renault Sport Cars and the Renault Blois dealership will enable fans to test drive Renault Sport vehicles.
List of entries – Clio R3T Trophy France
#24 Cédric Robert – Matthieu Duval
#25 Florian Bernardi – Xavier Castex
#26 Kevin van Deijne – Kris Botson
#27 Frédéric Perriat – Julie Bessonet
#28 Frédéric Flajolet – Aurélien Gozet
#29 Philippe Rageau – Alexandra Rageau
#30 William Pitot – Romain Brun
#31 Bruno Longépé – Christelle Orillac
#32 Éric Filippi – Francis Mazzoti
#33 Sara Williams – Mark Glennerster
#34 Romuald Lezeau – Vincent Reault
Overall standings (before round five)
1. Cédric Robert, 111 points
2. Florian Bernardi, 93 points
3. Kevin Van Deijne, 50 points
4. Damien Tozlanian, 42 points
5. Pascal Bérard, 31 points
6. Pascal Aimé, 16 points
7. Jean-Paul Monnin, 15 points
8. Frédéric Perriat, 14 points
9. Fréderic Flajolet, 14 points
10. Michele Tassone, 12 points
11. Philippe Rageau, 8 points
12. Stéphane Gragnola, 6 points
13. Éric Filippi, 6 points
14. Sara Williams, 5 points
15. Dominique Patenotte, 4 points
16. Romuald Lezeau, 2 points
17. David Sauvaigo, 1 point