Combining intelligence and consistency, Guillaume Jean claimed his maiden victory in the Clio R3T Trophy France during the Rallye Cœur de France – Centre-Val-de-Loire. Thanks to his win, ahead of Mathieu Walter, and the retirement of Thibaut Poizot, the battle for the Junior title is far from settled. Third place, Olivier Delaporte is closing in on the Gentleman driver crown.
With the absence of the two Clio R3T Trophy France leaders, the logical favourite, Thibaut Poizot immediately built a 14-second lead over Sara Williams, who was followed closely by Guillaume Jean and Mathieu Walter. The first and longest Saturday special stage was the last of the day for Anthony Caplan, who went off the road.
Despite a spin on SS2, the Gap native held on to the lead and was back up to speed on SS3, while Sara Williams made a costly 40-second error. Following service in Vendôme, Thibaut Poizot posted another scratch time on Bessé-sur-Braye and continued to pull away from his pursuers before a mechanical issue forced him to drop out on the penultimate stage of the day.
Mathieu Walter inherited the lead and finished the first loop with an 18-second lead from Guillaume Jean. With two stage wins on day one, Olivier Delaporte was third at 46.6s, while Sara Williams and Vaclav Stejskal stayed in contention ahead of Julien Brégeon, Éric Filippi, Yoann Lambert, Yves Pezzutti and Christophe Herbelin.
Sunday morning, Sara Williams won her first stage in the Clio R3T Trophy France on the longest timed run of the day. Behind, Guillaume Jean trimmed his gap to 10.3s from Mathieu Walter before taking the lead of the rally with his win on SS9. The Alsace driver was then quickest on the Vendôme super-special and the two attacked the 4.18km long Villerable stage separated by just 3.8s!
On the final stage, Mathieu Walter was once again the fastest, but Guillaume Jean held on to first place by 2.2s, which is the smallest margin of victory in the history of the category. Olivier Delaporte completed the podium at over one minute. Sara Williams finished a personal best fourth place in the Trophy ahead of Vaclav Stejskal, Julien Brégeon and Éric Filippi. Yves Pezzutti wrested away eighth place from Yoann Lambert, while Christophe Herbelin rounds out the top ten.
Not registered in the category, the 2017 Clio R3T Trophy France champion, Cédric Robert took the honours in R3 and finished seventh in the general classification, three places ahead of Guillaume Jean.
The sixth and final round of the 2018 Clio R3T Trophy France will be held during the Rallye du Var (November 22-25).
Guillaume Jean: “I am very pleased with this result! I wasn’t necessarily thinking about the win. I came into this rally with the idea of scoring valuable points and having a trouble-free weekend. Despite improvable set-ups and a less than ideal tyre choice for Saturday, I was able to stay with the leaders right from the start and finished the loop in second place. On Sunday, my goal was to finish, but I wanted to try something with the front tyres and attack on the two long special stages. The bet paid off, but it still wasn’t settled before the super-special. I am still afraid of making a mistake, on this type of special stage, like I did on the Touquet, and Mathieu had the advantage of getting a look at it during the shakedown. I knew that he would give it everything he had, but I was able to put in a decent time. It was an extremely positive weekend and the battle for the Junior title is going to be fantastic between Mathieu, Thibaut and myself. We are already longing for it.”
Clio R3T Trophy France – Rallye Cœur de France
1. Guillaume Jean – Loris Pascaud (Junior) – 1:54.10s
2. Mathieu Walter – Thibault Raincourt (Junior) +2.2s
3. Olivier Delaporte – Pascal Luçon (Gentleman) +1:18.9s
4. Sara Williams – Patrick Walsh (Féminine) +1:44.2s
5. Vaclav Stejskal Jr – Stanislav Viktora Jr (Junior) +2:06.8s
6. Julien Bregeon – Ludovic Touvron +3:49.2s
7. Éric Filippi – Francis Mazotti (Gentleman) +6:43.7s
8. Yves Pezzutti – Corinne Murcia (Gentleman) +8:43.8s
9. Yoann Lambert – Fabien Yonnet +8:53.8s
10. Christophe Herbelin – Cédric Allignet (Gentleman) +11:00.0s
11. Anthony Caplan – Sylvain Buchet +4:01.34.1s
Ret. Thibaut Poizot – Marion Grand (Junior)
Clio R3T Trophy France General Classification
1. Florian Bernardi, 113 points
2. Mathieu Walter, 58 points
3. Guillaume Jean, 57 points
4. Thibaut Poizot, 53 points
5. Boris Carminati, 52 points
6. Damien Tozlanian, 46 points
7. Olivier Delaporte, 37 points
8. José Javier Perez, 22 points
9. Sara Williams, 12 points
10. David Nafría, 12 points
11. Vaclav Stejskal, 10 points
12. William Pitot, 10 points
13. Éric Filippi, 10 points
14. Julien Brégeon, 8 points
15. Yves Gire, 8 points
16. Florent Joly, 6 points
17. Pierre Lerosier, 6 points
18. Pascal Aimé, 6 points
19. Jérôme Aymard, 6 points
20. Yves Pezzutti, 4 points
21. Yoann Lambert, 3 points
22. Alex Sabater, 3 points
23. Dominique Patenotte, 2 points
24. Christophe Herbelin, 1 point
NC. Riquelmo Gomis
NC. Anthony Caplan
NC. Yann Mogno
NC. Riccardo Canzian