Just three weeks after its competition debut, Clio Rally4 scored its first podium in its first appearance in France. Entrusted to Jean-Sébastien Vigion for the Rallye Le Touquet – Pas-de-Calais, the car designed by the teams at Viry-Châtillon and Dieppe set the best time on seven of the eleven stages while battling for the win against extremely tough competition.
After its baptism of fire on the atypical roads of the Targa Florio, Clio Rally4 made its debut in France in the opening round of the FFSA French Tarmac Rally Championship.
In the Pas-de-Calais, Jean-Sébastien Vigion and Manon Verger immediately confirmed the potential of Clio Rally4 by setting the fastest time in their category against experienced crews and cars. The duo did it again on SS2 before losing the lead due to a small mistake on SS3, but the Frenchman went on the attack again with two stage wins in the three afternoon timed sectors.
Jean-Sébastien Vigion refined his set-ups for the second loop and scored his fifth fastest time on the first stage on Saturday. Following a small trip off the road on SS8, Clio Rally4 returned to the top of its category on two of the last three timed sectors.
Despite setting seven fastest times in eleven stages, Jean-Sébastien Vigion finished second in the Rally4 category, just 15.2 seconds behind the winner Stéphane Lefebvre, a former official driver in the FIA World Rally Championship as well as standout in the 2010 Twingo R2 Trophy.
Alpine Racing’s technical teams also took advantage of this second competitive outing to expand Clio Rally4’s setup database and continue to unleash the potential of a car that has made a strong impression on all observers.
The next outing for Clio Rally4 will be in less than two weeks at the Rallye Vosges Grand-Est. 2020 Clio Trophy France best Junior Anthony Fotia will be behind the wheel as he begins his programme run by Europe Location, which won the teams title.
Jean-Sébastien Vigion: "The outcome of this rally is incredibly positive. We came here to test ourselves against adversity, and we were very successful, winning seven of the eleven stages in our category. Clio Rally4 had a genuine shot to win but a minor misunderstanding in the cockpit was costly against someone like Stéphane Lefebvre. I had a lot of fun and the level of performances shown bodes well for the future of the car. I would even say that it still has a lot of room for improvement as it is constantly improving. Clio Rally4 will surprise a lot of people and I would like to thank the Alpine Racing team for their support and guidance throughout the weekend!"
Benoît Nogier, Alpine Racing Commercial Director: "Clio Rally4 has reached a milestone by more than confirming its potential in only its second rally. Jean-Sébastien Vigion was one of the drivers at the heart of its development and we wanted him to assess the progress made in recent months. As in Italy, Clio Rally4 immediately took the lead in its category and was among the best and more powerful rear-wheel-drive cars. Despite the final classification, Jean-Sébastien was the best performer in his category while managing his pace on the blindingly fast and tricky roads against an opponent whose talent we all know. He also finished in the overall top 20 on more than half of the stages. This result is extremely positive and encouraging for the future of Clio Rally4. We are now looking forward to opening a new chapter in its history with Anthony Fotia’s programme thanks to his title of best Junior in Clio Trophy France!"