As one of the highlights of the season, the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine (September 6-8) offers a variety of challenges that make it unique in more ways than one. Now a closer look at an event that could shape the rest of the Clio R3T Trophy France season…
Edition 70 of the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine will, once again, host the Clio R3T Trophy France and it can be said that some can’t wait any longer!
“The Rallye du Mont-Blanc offers a setting that can’t be found elsewhere”, says Yann Mogno. “Right from the recce, we find ourselves in this unique atmosphere with the competitors rubbing shoulders and crews speaking a lot amongst themselves.”
“The Rallye du Mont-Blanc is one of the best rallies of the season”, adds Damien Tozlanian, who is getting ready to take part in his fifth Mont-Blanc. “The stages are legendary and unique with long climbs and quite fast descents that put that the brakes to the test. You can quickly find yourself with a lack of bite on the pedal!”
“The Mont-Blanc is different from other rounds”, insists Yann Mogno. “The roads are both fast and technical. This will compel us to think about brake management. This is my first season with a turbo-powered car and I am also curious to find out what the altitude impact is in this area.”
Florian Bernardi, however, quickly reassures him. “Despite the constrictions on the engine at high-revs, the Clio R3T is hands down better than other cars that I‘ve driven”, says the driver who can clinch the title this weekend. “Nevertheless, Damien is right about the brakes that are used a lot in the big braking zones separating the high-speed descents and tight hairpins.”
With nearly 200 timed kilometres, the competitors will have little time to rest on Friday and Saturday, and contrary to conventional wisdom, this will not necessarily be due to the rarefied air!
“Despite the altitude, it isn’t high enough to feel a lack of air”, explains defending Clio R3T Trophy France Junior Champion. Yet, the non-stops rhythm changes make this a very intense rally. The most difficult point is perhaps the weather. If it’s nice, temperatures in the cockpit can near those of the Rouergue, at around 40°C. If we get some weather, it could get very cold… And we can also encounter different conditions crossing the valleys in the same special stage!”
“Weather can complicate set-up and tyre choices”, expounds Damien Tozlanian. “The rain can also make the asphalt surface slipperier. In any case, it is a long rally. You have to be in good physical shape to drive at the maximum of your ability. This is an essential element in motor racing and the training particularly helps me keep up the pace during a very busy weekend when you are in a private team. All week, I will run everywhere I can to manage the tyres, fuel and all the other necessary areas!”
Some will nevertheless go for it in what is such a complex rally.
“With these always unique and very changing conditions, the Mont-Blanc is kind of more dangerous”, concludes Yann Mogno. “In addition to the fog and rain, some sections leave absolutely no margin for error, because of the steep ravines. All of this makes things a little more intense and the bravest drivers can go for it because although they are not the quickest on paper, its specificities level out the playing field more than on other rounds.”