Following an incredibly close-fought and enthralling Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, the Clio Trophy France heads this week to the town of Vendôme for the Rallye Cœur de France (September 25-27). 26 New Clio Rally entries will line up at the start with the shared goal of winning to confirm or reverse the first trends seen in the Alps.
Like on the mountain roads, the show will be just as spectacular on the ultra-quick special stages in the Loir-et-Cher department as one of the fastest rallies on the calendar now awaits the Clio Trophy France crews!
Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine winner Romain Di Fante scored maximum points in the Alps and comes to Vendôme atop the general classification. Second in his first go on the Cœur de France last year, the Nice native, however, will face stiff competition that is far from abdicating after an extremely competitive opening round.
Rémi Jouines and Romain Fostier were quick to come to terms with New Clio Rally, resulting in a podium for each and are now the closest rivals to the leader. While they are newcomers to the tricky special stages in and around Vendôme, both are aiming for victory to confirm their stature as genuine title contenders.
Gradually picking up the pace on their return to competition, 2009 French Rally Champion Guillaume Canivenq and Antoine Massé arrived in Mont-Blanc less than 10 seconds behind the third-place finisher. Both would like to keep the momentum going by starting off strong to show that they haven’t lost of any of their dexterity behind the wheel!
Special stage winners in their first appearance in the Clio Trophy France, Brandon Maïsano and Victor Cartier will try to exhibit their top speed by getting the advantage on the best Junior so far... Romain Di Fante!
It promises to be an intense battle in the category as Damien Mattei too claimed a scratch time in the mountains before having to retire. Just like Anthony Fotia and Jean Jouines, the Corsican wants to bounce back while Benjamin Stirling, Jonathan Grande, Sébastien Rambaud, Maxime Braesch and Ghjuvanni Rossi will all look to score their first points of 2020.
First among the Gentlemen at Mont-Blanc, Thierry Monnet will take on three new rivals: Philippe Rageau and Éric Filippi, who are both familiar faces from the Clio R3T Trophy France, and Stéphane Demier, who has two years of experience in the French Rally Cup.
Meanwhile, Alexis Frontier and Maxime Delhommeau will also try to score their first points after leaving Mont-Blanc empty handed while Mathias De Sousa will second Romain Fostier to allow Garage De Sousa to maintain the lead in the Renault Dealership Challenge.
After having teamed up together to score two points in Morzine, Julien Baziret and Thomas Chauffray will challenge each other this time as the latter will be at the controls of New Clio Rally after he recently won the Rallye de Lisieux Normandie with a car in the R5 category!
Two other newcomers will take part in the second round of the season: Calvin Lucas who has already impressed on this type of roads in a Twingo R1, and Luc Giroux, who is a regular in the French Rally Cup.
The Rallye Cœur de France gets underway Saturday morning. Two identical loops consisting of three stages will be repeated prior to the Vendôme super-special. The Sunday leg will begin with the Sargé-sur-Braye Jean Ragnotti Power Stage on a route that will feature two stages run twice, plus the short Super Savigny stage. The 12 timed sectors will add up 186.95 kilometres of action on an overall itinerary of 459.06 km.
Clio Trophy France – Rallye Cœur de France entry list
#27 Romain Di Fante - Jules Escartefigue (J)
#28 Rémi Jouines - Marine Lacruz
#29 Romain Fostier – Ophélie Abchiche
#30 Guillaume Canivenq - Bastien Dumas
#31 Antoine Masse – Gwenola Marie
#32 Brandon Maisano - Pierre Pebeyre (J)
#33 Victor Cartier - Marine Maye (J)
#34 Julien Baziret – Delphine Laval
#35 Anthony Fotia – Didier Sirugue (J)
#36 Thomas Chauffray - Pauline Vaultier
#37 Benjamin Stirling - Florence Wehrey (J)
#38 Alexis Frontier - Jeremy Gulino
#39 Damien Mattei - Laurent Magat (J)
#40 Mathias De Sousa - Marie Corbineau
#41 Jonathan Grande - Sandrine Guirado (J)
#42 Calvin Lucas - Amandine Houry (J)
#43 Sébastien Rambaud - Aurélien Frejefond (J)
#44 Maxime Braesch - Andre Loick (J)
#45 Jean Jouines - Sylvain Kukulka (J)
#46 Philippe Rageau - Amélyne Rageau (G)
#47 Luc Giroux - Julien Loup
#48 Thierry Monnet - Quentin Saxemard (G)
#49 Maxime Delhommeau - Valentin Goutel
#50 Stéphane Demier - Charles Beraud (G)
#51 Éric Filippi - Julie Amblard (G)
#52 Ghjuvanni Rossi - Baptiste Volpei (J)
(G): Gentlemen, drivers born in 1975 and before
(J): Juniors, drivers born in 1992 and after