Having already confirmed another season will go ahead in 2018, this year’s Clio R3T Trophy France returns to action after the summer break at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine (31 August-2 September). Cédric Robert will be looking to maintain his unbeaten run and make a giant leap towards securing the title, but his rivals will be determined to give their all in the Alps to make up ground and remain in contention.
Renewed for 2018
Buoyed by its continuing success, Clio R3T Trophy France is set to enjoy a fourth season in 2018. Widely acclaimed by competitors, the series will once again combine technical and sporting fairness with largely unchanged regulations, enabling drivers to compete against one another on equal terms and with modest operating costs at some of France’s finest rallies. Since contesting its first rally in 2014, Clio R3T has proved itself to be a fiercely competitive and exceptionally reliable car.
2017 title still up for grabs
Having enjoyed a perfect first half to the season, Cédric Robert has the chance to take an almost unassailable lead in the Alps. The championship leader will once again be able to call upon his experience at a rally where he has already competed sixteen times, winning outright in 2002 and dominating the R3 category on three occasions!
However, a revolt is afoot among the challengers to put an end to this domination. Having had to be content with being runner-up thus far, Florian Bernardi would dearly love to finally get the better of his rival at an event where he has enjoyed success in the past, winning here twice in 2012 and 2013 in the Twingo R1 Trophy.
It promises to be a genuinely close battle at the front, because Kevin van Deijne, Pascal Bérard, Frédéric Perriat and Damien Tozlanian will all be looking to score heavily in order to remain in contention. Last year, the Dutch driver was fighting for a podium spot before a puncture meant he dropped back to fifth place, behind Pascal Bérard - who returns to action after his third place in Antibes - and Frédéric Perriat. Damien Tozlanian will be looking to make the most of his third appearance at Mont-Blanc in a Clio to secure his first top-three finish of the year.
The other competitors will be making their first appearance at the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine. Sara Williams will continue to learn about the category in the Alps whilst Frédéric Flajolet and Pascal Aimé are back in the starting line-up after missing the Rallye du Rouergue. Lastly, Romuald Lezeau will be making his debut in the Clio R3T Trophy France, as will Éric Filippi, winner of the International category of the 2015 Clio R3T European Trophy.
Crews competing in the Clio R3T Alps Trophy will also be to test themselves against those from the France series at Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine. Series leader Israël Vuistiner will be joined by Philippe Broussoux, Olivier Courtois and Jean-Pierre Gatti. As usual, Manu Guigou starts in the R3 category and will be looking to win but will not be competing in the Trophy.
The Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine will be held over two days. On Friday 1 September, the crews will contest six stages en route to Morzine before tackling another six stages the following day. The route includes the famous Joux verte, Praz de Lys and Samoens-Morzine stages, as part of a total competitive distance of 206.39km.
List of entries – Clio R3T Trophy France
#38 Cédric Robert – Matthieu Duval
#39 Florian Bernardi – Xavier Castex
#40 Kevin van Deijne – Kris Botson
#41 Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot
#42Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard
#43 Frédéric Perriat – Julie Bessonet
#44 Frédéric Flajolet – Christophe Leroy
#45 Pascal Aimé – Morgan Aimé
#46 Sara Williams – Mark Glennerster
#47 Éric Filippi – Francis Mazzoti
#48 Romuald Lezeau – Loïc Boudaud
Overall standings (before round four)
1. Cédric Robert, 90 points
2. Florian Bernardi, 63 points
3. Kevin Van Deijne, 40 points
4. Damien Tozlanian, 30 points
5. Pascal Bérard, 16 points
6. Jean-Paul Monnin, 15 points
7. Frédéric Perriat, 14 points
8. Michele Tassone, 12 points
9. Frédéric Flajolet, 10 points
10. Philippe Rageau, 8 points
11. Pascal Aimé, 8 points
12. Stéphane Gragnola, 6 points
13. Dominique Patenotte, 4 points
14. Sara Williams, 4 points
15. David Sauvaigo, 1 point