After coming within a cat’s whisker of winning the previous round of the Clio Trophy France eight months ago, Thomas Chauffray got his revenge on the Rallye Le Touquet – Pas-de-Calais. In a season that featured three different winners in as many rounds, Anthony Fotia has won both the overall and Junior titles as well as a factory Clio Rally4 programme for 2021!
Among the 37 Clio Rally5s at the start of the resumption of the FFSA French Tarmac Rally Championship, 16 crews entered the season finale of the 2020 trophy, and eight of them were still in contention to win the Clio Trophy France crown.
Anthony Fotia and Thomas Chauffray, who were third and sixth respectively in the general classification, set the early pace. Anthony Fotia immediately jumped to the top of the order but Thomas Chauffray replied on the following two stages to return to the service park with a 4.9s advantage over Anthony Fotia. Romain Di Fante was third at 15.6s to the leader.
The afternoon loop then brought an end to the title hopes of Rémi Jouines, who went off the road on SS4 and then of Maxime Braesch, who also had an accident in SS6. Meanwhile, Thomas Chauffray posted two more fastest times versus one for Anthony Fotia to relegate his rival to 10.6s at the end of the first leg.
Anthony Fotia got off to a strong start Saturday morning with the quickest time through the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage to take five seconds out of Thomas Chauffray, who all the same came second to score four bonus points and win the Jean Ragnotti best performer classification for the most kilometres in the lead for the entire season ahead of his rival!
On the next stage, Thomas Chauffray widened the gap from Anthony Fotia to 19.5s. From there, he managed his lead to seal his first win in the category with a 27.9s margin of victory. He also finished in the top five in two-wheel drive and the overall top 30.
With the points for second place, Anthony Fotia becomes the first winner of the Clio Trophy France in the Clio Rally5 era. As the top junior, the Nice native also won a factory Clio Rally4 programme for 2021. Europe Location Rallye, which clinched the team title thanks to Thomas Chauffray’s victory, will run this campaign.
Romain Di Fante finished third at 58.1s to the winner and ahead of Antoine Massé and Romain Fostier, who set the best time on the final two stages. Guillaume Canivenq, who was the leader in the general classification heading into the Touquet round, finished sixth ahead of Damien Mattei, who put in an impressive comeback drive. Benjamin Stirling finished a personal best eighth place ahead of Gentleman competitor Frédéric Perrard and Sébastien Rambaud. Émilien Sanlaville was the last of the competitors to complete the rally.
Lastly, thanks to the results of Boris Carminati at Mont-Blanc and Thomas Chauffray this weekend on the Touquet, Garage Carminati edged out Renault Rodez / Groupe Fabre for the final trophy at stake in winning the first-ever Renault Dealership Challenge.
Anthony Fotia: "It was a hard rally. We got off to a great start as I wanted to set a good time right away and then match our main rival in the Juniors, Romain Di Fante. We were able to push hard in the Power Stage after a good attack. The Sarrazin Motorsport team did an excellent job, and I would like to thank Alpine Racing for putting the Clio Rally5 in a feeder series. It’s a fantastic car, exceptional and able to shine overall. I’m now looking forward to getting to know Europe Location Rallye, the now defending champion, to learn Clio Rally4 with them. And I’m even more eager to be at the Rallye Vosges after seeing it battle for victory this weekend with Jean-Sébastien Vigion!"
Rallye Le Touquet – Pas-de-Calais
2020 Clio Trophy France
1. Thomas Chauffray - Anthony Hamard 1h27:08.7s
2. Anthony Fotia - Didier Sirugue (J) +27.9s
3. Romain Di Fante - Patrick Chiappe (J) +58.1s
4. Antoine Massé - Marc Haddad +1:19.0s
5. Romain Fostier - Ophelie Abchiche +1:38.9s
6. Guillaume Canivenq - Bastien Dumas +3:24.1s
7. Damien Mattei - Romain Garel (J) +3:55.8s
8. Benjamin Stirling - Florence Wehrey (J) +4:39.0s
9. Frederic Perrard - Francois Gilbert (G) +4:40.7s
10. Sebastien Rambaud - Aurelien Frejefond (J) +5:19.1s
11. Emilien Sanlaville - Amaury Sanlaville (J) +8:16.3s
Ab. Julien Baziret - Delphine Laval
Ab. Maxime Braesch - Loick Andre (J)
Ab. Remy Jouines - Valentin Auge
Ab. Margot Dupuy - Clio Chambelland (F)
Ab. Maxime Delhommeau - Melvin Fraigne
(J) : Juniors
(G) : Gentlemen
(F) : Females