With the win in the Clio Trophy France Terre season-finale at the Rallye des Cardabelles, Bastien Bergounhe becomes the third different winner in four rounds this year. The Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT competitor won on his return to the national scene ahead of Quentin Ribaud, who secured the title in a thriller just weeks after sealing his place as the top Junior to win an official programme with Clio Rally4 in 2022
Ten crews - including three still in contention for the title - were present at the start of the season-ending round of the Clio Trophy France Terre, the Rallye Terre des Cardabelles.
Quentin Ribaud, who had already wrapped up the Junior title, hit the Larzac plateau hard from the start. The leader of the general classification immediately took a 14.9s lead on the opening Sainte-Eulalie stage. He set the best time on L’Hospitalet and Le Camp du Larzac to complete the first loop with a lead of 56.7s. Initially second, John Laroche dropped back after a minor contact on SS3 and Bastien Bergounhe took advantage to move up to second place ahead of Loïc Mattei.
In the afternoon, the Bastien Héron Racing driver kept his momentum going with a fourth consecutive scratch time, but a double puncture forced him to be more careful. The battle for the title was back on the boil when Bastien Bergounhe took command of the category ahead of Quentin Ribaud, Jean-Paul Monnin and John Laroche, all three title contenders covered by 2.4s heading to the four final timed sectors of the season!
In this battle where the slightest change of position between the three protagonists could have changed the outcome of the trophy, Quentin Ribaud resumed his advance by dominating the Sunday morning action, each time in front of Bastien Bergounhe and Jean Paul Monnin. Meanwhile, a mechanical issue dashed John Laroche’s title hopes.
Eight seconds behind the leader and with a cushion of around 20 seconds over Jean Paul Monnin, Quentin Ribaud maintained his advantage on the final two stages to win the title, by finishing 1.7s behind his teammate Bastien Bergounhe, who was ineligible to score points.
Bastien Bergounhe was then victorious in his first appearance in the Clio Trophy France Terre ahead of Quentin Ribaud and Jean Paul Monnin, who posted the fastest times on the last two stages of the season, to fall 14.9s short of the title. Simon Heinemann and Sébastien Studer finished ahead of John Laroche after his problems, whereas Thomas Mouysset and Anthony Bartoli completed the classification. Running third at one point before running out of spare wheels on Saturday afternoon, Loïc Mattei had to give up for personal reasons on Sunday while Marcel Abad had to retire for arriving at a check-in point outside the delay.
Quentin Ribaud has now completed the double by becoming the first overall and Junior winner of the Clio Trophy France Terre. Next year, he will have an official programme of two rallies in the French Gravel Rally Championship with Clio Rally4, run by Fun Meca Sport, which won the teams’ title. Although his performances were not enough to allow Marignane Automobiles defeat Garage De Sousa in the Challenge Réseau Renault, Quentin Ribaud also took the lead in the French two-wheel-drive Gravel Rally Championship!
The details of season two of Clio Trophy France Terre, scheduled for 2022, will be announced shortly.
Bastien Bergounhe: "It was a close one at the end, but we gave it everything we had within reason and held on for 1.7s! The goal was to do the best job possible while comparing ourselves to the leaders of the trophy, like Quentin. This result is positive. We had a lot of fun, and my programme in Europe definitely helped me a lot as we pick up a lot of experience at each rally. Now it’s off to Hungary in a fortnight for the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT finale in the FIA ERC, again with Clio Rally5!"
Quentin Ribaud: "We set a great pace on Saturday to make the gap, and we had more than a minute advantage before the two punctures that allowed Bastien to take the lead and Jean Paul to come back in the mix. The aim was to stay ahead of him, but we only had four used tyres left to finish on Sunday. We did our best, and it’s a bit frustrating to miss out on the victory by less than two seconds, but Bastien drove very well, and most of all, our goal was the title. So, mission accomplished. I am delighted to have won this official programme for next year. We have had an almost perfect season and I can’t wait to show Clio Rally4’s potential on gravel. I’m already ready to give it my all with the Fun Meca Sport team, which I don’t know yet, but which I hear nothing but good things about!"
Clio Trophy France Terre – Rallye Terre des Cardabelles
1. Bastien Bergounhe – Mathieu Descharne (J) 1h47:03.0s
2. Quentin Ribaud – Melissa Ascensio (J) +1.7s
3. Jean-Paul Monnin – Franck Gilliot +16.6s
4. Simon Heinemann – Yves Heinemann +3:02.3s
5. Sébastien Studer – Maude Studer +5:40.0s
6. John Laroche – Damien Augustin +6:37.7s
7. Thomas Mouysset – Lucas Gineste (J) +18:23.4s
8. Anthony Bartoli – Jonathan Ricard +19:20.0s
Ab. Loïc Mattei – Dominique Corvi
Ab. Marcel Abad – Carles Cortes (J)
(J) : Juniors