Quentin Ribaud’s win on the extremely challenging Rallye Terre de Lozère also sees him reclaim the lead in the Clio Trophy France Terre. While the title race remains wide open, the French driver has already wrapped up the Junior crown as the Fun Meca Sport squad takes the teams honours ahead of the season-ending Rallye Terre des Cardabelles.
While the Lozère stages promised to be selective, the first leg shortened the list of contenders for the win. The first driver to get caught out was none other than Clio Trophy France Terre points leader Jean-Paul Monnin on SS1, just before Serge Chapus’ day came to a premature end two tests later.
Meanwhile, Quentin Ribaud was quickest in the first two timed sectors to take an early lead, but John Laroche answered on SS3 to finish the first loop just five seconds back. Third when he arrived at the service park, Marcel Abad retired soon afterwards after going off the road. Richard Paget then set the fastest time on SS5 to steal second place from John Laroche, who then responded with the scratch time on the day’s final stage to close the gap to 1.8s, while Quentin Ribaud extended his lead to over a minute from both men.
On Sunday, the leader pulled away even more with another two stage wins in the morning, including on the longest timed sector of the rally, while John Laroche regained the advantage over Richard Paget on the first stage of the day. Quentin Ribaud went on to seal his second success of the year in the afternoon, but the final test caused further drama as Richard Paget and Yves Blanc went off the road. John Laroche retained second place to become the only driver to finish on the podium in every round this season.
While Richard Paget could only lick his wounds, Switzerland’s Sébastien Studer celebrated his first podium result ahead of Simon Heinemann and Serge Chapus. Jean-Paul Monnin, who restarted on Sunday morning and set the fastest time on SS10, was the final official finisher.
Thanks to his second victory this season, Quentin Ribaud reclaims the lead in the general classification, just two points ahead of John Laroche with Jean-Paul Monnin one point further back. All three drivers will compete for the inaugural Clio Trophy France Terre title at the Rallye Terre des Cardabelles (8-10 October). With the top Junior spot already secured, Quentin Ribaud also wins an official two-round programme in the 2022 French Gravel Rally Championship with a Clio Rally4 to be run by Fun Meca Sport, the newly-crowned teams title winners.
Quentin Ribaud: "We are thrilled to score our second win of the season. It wasn’t an easy rally, especially with the terrain deteriorating so much that we got a puncture on the last stage. The aim was to score as many points as possible and with the win we did, while also ensuring that we finishas the best Junior driver. So, we are really happy and I would truly like to thank the BHR team and 3P Racing, as well as all our partners and everyone who has made it possible for us to be here this weekend. Once again, we had a lot of fun driving Clio Rally5 and the battle for the title with Jean Paul and John is going to be very intense."
Clio Trophy France Terre – Rallye Terre de Lozère
1. Quentin Ribaud – Melissa Ascensio (J) 1h44:41.2s
2. John Laroche – Damien Augustin +4:29.9s
3. Sébastien Studer – Maude Studer +9:10.4s
4. Simon Heinemann – Yves Heinemann +14:31.4s
5. Serge Chapus – Mathieu Favreau +4h05:24.1s
6. Jean Paul Monnin – Sandra Chipaux +4h05:50.8s
Ab. Richard Paget – Sébastien Poujol
Ab. Yves Blanc – Nicolas Blanc
Ab. Marcel Abad – Carles Cortes (J)
(J) : Juniors