The penultimate round of the 2018 season will lead the Clio R3T Trophy France field to the Centre-Val-de-Loire region for the Rallye Cœur de France (September 29-30). With the absence of this year’s champion Florian Bernardi and Boris Carminati, one thing is sure: a new driver will enter the category record book.

Florian Bernardi and Boris Carminati are skipping the Cœur de France and there are several candidates for the win next Sunday in the Loir-et-Cher.

Third in the general classification, Thibaut Poizot is the logical pre-rally favourite. With three podiums in the first four rounds of the year, the French will, however, have to adapt to all the subtleties of a rally he has never competed on before.

His closest rivals in the Junior category Mathieu Walter and Guillaume Jean will be in the same situation, but have high hopes for a strong weekend. Consistent just until his first retirement on Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, the Alsace native will have the bit between the teeth, while Guillaume Jean showed his level of determination when he climbed back to fourth place in the Alps despite rolling his car on the opening stage.

Some drivers will rely on the experience, which is the case of Sara Williams and Éric Filippi.

Sixth last year, the British driver has seen little reward for the progress she has made, but intends to remedy the situation on the rally she scored her first top three in a special stage. Winner of the 2015 Clio R3T European Trophy International, the Corsican was eighth and now plans to do better.

Among those making their return to the service park is Olivier Delaporte. The leader of the Gentleman category is back with the goal of clinching the title, but he really hopes to have better fortune than he had in 2014. Back then, Pascal Luçon and he had to retire even before the start with a mechanical problem.

Yoann Lambert and Julien Brégeon are read to make their second appearance of the year. While the crew from the South of France wants to demonstrate the extent of the progress they’ve made since the Rouergue round, the winner of the 2006 Rallye jeunes wants to make the most of three previous participations on the event to shine.

Four new competitors will make their debut in the category this weekend and all of them could finish at the sharp end of the order. Three among them will make their debut in a Clio R3T : winner of several regional rallies, Yves Pezzutti, Coupe de France des Rallyes standout, Christophe Herbelin and Anthony Caplan, who will have the advantage of having won in the N4 category in the 2016 Cœur de France.

And Václav Stejskal Jr could create a surprise in this round where all the cards –almost – will be re-dealt. The twice champion of the class in his native Czech Republic is on his way to a third title, at the wheel of a Clio R3T this time!

The 12 crews will have the chance to compete against 2017 Clio R3T Trophy France champion, Cédric Robert, who is not eligible in the Trophy but is a contender for the win in R3.

The distance of the Rallye Cœur de France is 452.89 kms, with 186.46 timed kms. On Saturday September 29, two three-stage loops, including Besse-sur-Braye and Sargé-sur-Braye, will be contested before the day-ending Super Savigny super special. The following day, four stages will be on the programme, including one in the Vendôme city centre.

Rallye Cœur de France

Entry list – Clio R3T Trophy France
#21 Thibaut POIZOT – Marion GRAND (Junior)

#22 Mathieu WALTER – Thibault RAINCOURT (Junior)

#23 Guillaume JEAN – Loris PASCAUD (Junior)

#24 Olivier DELAPORTE – Pascal LUÇON (Gentleman)

#25 Éric FILIPPI – Francis MAZOTTI (Gentleman)

#26 Yoann LAMBERT – Fabien YONNET 

#27 Sara WILLIAMS – Patrick WALSH (Féminine)

#28 Julien BREGEON – Ludovic TOUVRON

#29 Anthony CAPLAN – Sylvain BUCHET 

#30 Yves PEZZUTTI – Corinne MURCIA (Gentleman)

#31 Christophe HERBELIN – Cédric ALLIGNET (Gentleman)

#32 Vaclav STEJSKAL Jr – Stanislav VIKTORA Jr (Junior)

General classification Clio R3T Trophy France
1. Florian Bernardi, 113 points
2. Boris Carminati, 52 points
3. Thibaut Poizot, 50 points
4. Damien Tozlanian, 46 points
5. Mathieu Walter, 35 points
6. Guillaume Jean, 32 points
7. José Javier Perez, 22 points
8. Olivier Delaporte, 21 points
9. David Nafría, 12 points
10. William Pitot, 10 points
11. Yves Gire, 8 points
12. Florent Joly, 6 points
13. Pierre Lerosier, 6 points
14. Pascal Aimé, 6 points
15. Jérôme Aymard, 6 points
16. Éric Filippi, 4 points
17. Alex Sabater, 3 points
18. Dominique Patenotte, 2 points
19. Yoann Lambert, 1 point
NC. Riquelmo Gomis
NC. Sara Williams
NC. Julien Brégeon
NC. Yann Mogno
NC. Riccardo Canzian