The final round of the 2021 Clio Trophy France Asphalte season was halted by a particularly violent storm in the Cévennes region, with Guillaume Canivenq winning the Critérium des Cévennes. Romain Di Fante, who had already secured the overall title, finished third to contribute to Naudon Rallye Services’ team title and will continue the adventure with the outfit as part of its official programme with Clio Rally4 in the French Rally Championship in 2022!
The Critérium des Cévennes is known for its dreadful weather conditions and the Clio Trophy France Asphalte’s first visit to the rally was no exception.
After the recce in dry conditions, rain came into play as soon as the rally started on Friday. Guillaume Canivenq hit the ground running in the first blindingly fast Alzon - Vissec - La Rigalderie special stage. The 2009 French Rally Champion built up a 9.3s lead to Romain Di Fante.
In his second drive with Clio Rally5, Patrick Magnou then showed his ability to adapt by dominating the longest test of the loop, Montdardier - Le Vigan. He posted the fastest time, 0.5s quicker than Guillaume Canivenq to move into second place, 12.1s behind the leader and seven seconds ahead of Thomas Chauffray.
Guillaume Canivenq came back strong on La Cadière - Sumène to conclude the morning with a 17.5s lead from Patrick Magnou, with Thomas Chauffray third at 24.4s. Romain Di Fante and Romain Fostier trailed the leader by more than thirty seconds.
With concerns about the weather, the prefectural authorities of the Gard department decided to cancel the second loop of the rally on Friday and to authorise the resumption of the rally only when the orange alert level was lifted. The latter being maintained on Saturday, in addition to road damages due to overnight showers, the final classification was ratified after the post-SS3 time control. As the competitors ran more than 10%, but less than 50% of the initially scheduled timed distance, only half points were attributed.
Guillaume Canivenq thus sealed his second victory of the year. Due to Patrick Magnou’s retirement for personal reasons, Thomas Chauffray and Romain Di Fante joined Guillaume Canivenq on the podium while Romain Fostier and Karl Pinheiro completed the top five. Meanwhile, Margot Dupuy and Dominique Patenotte won respectively in the Female and Gentlemen categories to confirm their honorary titles in these classes.
Ninth this weekend, Styve Juif remains the runner-up of Romain Di Fante in the general classification, keeping the advantage overall on Thomas Chauffray and in the Juniors on Benjamin Stirling. With the cancellation of the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage, Romain Di Fante also kept the lead in this classification and received a third trophy during the prize-giving ceremony on Sunday. With three victories and six podiums this season, the driver from Nice was also a key contributor to the team title won by Naudon Rallye Services as the Rochelle-based structure will continue the adventure with Romain Di Fante in the upper class in 2022!
Groupe Bertrand in the Challenge Réseau Renault completes this year’s list of winners. Meanwhile, Anthony Fotia once again dominated the action to win his category with Clio Rally4, whilst finishing in eighth place overall. Pierre Loustalniau won the Challenge Philippe Bugalski by 32.5s from Stéphane Ciaramitaro. Both men follow Thomas Anacleto in the same order in the final general classification.
Romain Di Fante’s third place at the weekend also keeps him on top of the French two-wheel-drive Rally Championship while Anthony Fotia is up to third on the provisional podium ahead of the final round on the Rallye du Var next month.
The 2022 Clio Trophy France Asphalte season will kick off at the Le Touquet - Pas de Calais Rally on 17-19 March 2022.
Critérium des Cévennes
2021 Clio Trophy France Asphalte
1. Guillaume Canivenq - Bastien Dumas 31:31.9s
2. Thomas Chauffray - Pauline Chauffray +24.4s
3. Romain Di Fante - Patrick Chiappe (J) +31.8s
4. Romain Fostier - Ophélie Abchiche +42.5s
5. Karl Pinheiro - Sarah Filipe (J) +46.3s
6. Florian Bernardi – Xavier Castex +57.2s
7. Benjamin Stirling - Florence Wehrey (J) +1:01.4s
8. Valentin Ascenzi – Julien Tramaloni (J) +1:04.2s
9. Styve Juif - Maxime Biegalke (J) +1:42.8s
10. Tom Rensonnet - Renaud Herman (J) +1:46.5s
11. Margot Dupuy - Clio Chambelland (F) +2:46.9s
12. Dominique Patenotte – Romain Gandre (G) +4:14.0s
13. Julien Anthérieu – Valérie Anthérieu (J) +4:25.5s
14. Joël Do Rego – Justin Ladet +4:31.9s
15. Jean-Pierre Lejeune – Genevieve Arnavielhe (G) +7:14.9s
16. Karine Hebrard – Sophie Siardana (F) +12:01.8s
17. Olivier Reilhan – Florent Reilhan (G) +16:20.7s
Ab. Patrick Magnou - Anthony Vilanova
Ab. Jeremy Sarhy – Alexis Maillefert (J)
Philippe Bugalski Challenge
1. Pierre Loustalniau – Benoît Catterini 34:16.2s
2. Stéphane Ciaramitaro – Stéphane Maille +32.5s