The Clio Cup Europe title races intensified while Clio Rally4 won again on the European scene with Jean-Baptiste Franceschi this past weekend. Meanwhile, Clio Rally5 extended its winning streak while also securing a podium result alongside a World Rally Car!
Already a three-time winner this season in the FIA ERC3 Junior category, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi won for a second time in the FIA ERC3 category with Clio Rally4 to take the championship lead at the end of the Azores Rallye.
The Frenchman and Anthony Gorguilo were slowed by an intercom issue problem on the first loop, but they worked hard throughout the rally to take the lead when the leader went off the road on SS5. On Saturday, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi controlled the action to seal the victory in the two-wheel-drive class and score maximum points to complete his mission of taking the FIA ERC3 lead.
“Like I said to my co-driver it’s more difficult to do stages in survival mode than having to push because of the big lead we had at the start of the day, he said at the finish. But we had to survive and finish this day. It was a long day, but our only objective was to score the maximum points for the championship that we could. For sure it was not easy and we had to stay focused because this rally was very difficult for the first time and it’s easy to make a mistake or have problems. I am happy with this result and thank you to Renault and my team, Toksport WRT, for this opportunity.”
With three rounds to go, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi now has an eight-point lead over his nearest rival. The Frenchman also holds a one-point advantage in the FIA ERC3 Junior category, with two rallies remaining on the calendar.
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Clio Cup Europe
More than three months after his last victory, Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) returned to the top step of the podium at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia
On Saturday, the Frenchman beat his two principal rivals, David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition), before making it a weekend-sweep on Sunday ahead of Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) and David Pouget. With three rounds to go, the suspense remains in the race for the Clio Cup Europe title as David Pouget’s lead from Nicolas Milan now stands at just 11 points while Marc Guillot is still in the hunt.
Meanwhile, Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) shared the spoils in the Challengers Cup, as did Stephan Polderman (Chefo Sport) and Javier Cicuendez (Team VRT) in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
More information here.
Next round: Circuit Paul Ricard (1-3 October)
French Rally Cup
One week after the remarkable display of Jean-Sébastien Vigion in Saint-Yrieix, Clio Rally4 won again in the French Cup thanks to Laurent Papi & Jean-Michel Perrin in the Rallye Pays de Grasse - Fleurs et Parfums.
Clio Rally5 was not to be outdone with a 1-2 in its category thanks to Jean Jouines & Sylvain Kukulka and Stéphane Barbier & Nadège Barbier on the Rallye Régional des Camisards. Matthieu Suzzarini & Enzo D’Angelo also led the car to victory on the Rallye de Corti - Centru di Corsica, as did Marina Breuil & Thomas Santiago on the Rallye du Haut-Lignon and Romain Guenec & Brice Ricou on the Rallye de la Vie.
Alex Español and Clio Rally5 claimed a prestigious podium finish in the Ral.li de La Llana, second only to Thierry Neuville’s WRC. Co-driven by Marc Qué Canals, the Andorran won round five of the Catalan Asphalt Rally Championship.
Clio Rally5 also won its category and finished in the overall top ten of the Rali de Santo Tirso (Portugal) thanks to the crew of Nuno Coelho and Luís Ramalho. Meanwhile, Filippo Nannetti & Alessia Tasi and Paolo Moricci & Paolo Garavaldi secured a one-two finish for Clio Rally5 in RaC5 on the Rally di Casciana Terme (Italy). Clio Rally4 excelled in the hands of Roberto Daprà & Alessio Angeli, who finished third in the Under 25 category on Rally San Martino di Castrozza (Italy).
Lastly, Vitalii Antonov & Christiaan van der Rijsen won the RC5 class on Hellendoorn Rally, round three of the Dutch Rally Championship.
This week, the Clio Trophy France Asphalte will contest the penultimate round of its season on the Rallye Coeur de France (23-25 September). Romain Di Fante will try to extend his lead over his rivals while Anthony Fotia will continue his programme with Clio Rally4.
The Clio Trophy Swiss will also be in action on the Rally Ronde Internazionale del Ticino (24-25 September). Jérémie Toedtli will defend his position as leader of the trophy and the Swiss Junior Rally Championship against increasingly stiff competition.
Lastly, the Clio RXs of the French Junior FFSA Rallycross Championship will make their return at the Circuit de Mayenne (24-26 September). David Bouet and Arthur Le Boudouil enter this round on equal points at the top of the general classification.
Photos 1 & 2: FIA ERC
Photos 3 & 4: DPPI / Alpine Racing