The Clio R3T Trophy France returns to action from 5-7 September with 21 crews entered for Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine. It promises to be an extremely competitive battle in the Alps with three different crews sharing the spoils in the first three rounds this season. Renault Sport Racing will also announce what is to come in its rally customer competition future.
The first half of the season was the most competitive in Clio R3T Trophy France history. Boris Carminati comes to the Haute-Savoie department with a ten-point lead in the general classification. The winner of the season-opening round is determined to win again on a rally he knows well to pull away from his rivals, six of which have a shot at taking over the top spot in the championship.
Romain Di Fante leads the chase group and he is closing the gap rally after rally. After his maiden podium finish before the summer break, the Nice-based driver wants to keep the momentum going at Morzine, where he finished third in the 2016 French Junior Championship. A strong result would also see him distance himself from his challengers in the Junior category with the absence of Alexis Frontier.
Mathieu Walter and Cédric Noé are two other drivers who could leave Mont-Blanc atop the general classification. Winners in the two most recent rounds of the year, both are looking to start the second-half of 2019 strong to catch Boris Carminati and put the bitter disappointments of their first runs in the Alps, cut short a year ago, behind them.
After spraying the bubbly earlier this season, Jérémy Jamet and Dorian Nicolas are setting their sights higher to stay in the title hunt as the final sprint closes on. While Jérémy Jamet has already won this rally in the French Junior Championship three years ago, Dorian Nicolas is ready for his first go in the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, as is Ivan Ferrarotti, who has had more than his share of punctures so far this year.
Several outsiders also hope to show their stuff on a rally that often rewards race management more than raw speed. This is best illustrated by William Pitot, who finished runner-up there in the Clio R3T Trophy France in 2015 and 2016, Damien Tozlanian, who finished second last year, Charlotte Berton, who won the Women’s category in 2014 and 2015, and Yoann Lambert, who is looking for big points.
The Gentleman category once again has the largest entry. Absent on Rouergue, Olivier Courtois returns to the service park for a rally he really likes after his win in the Clio R3T Trophy Alps in 2017.
The native of Alsace is hoping to use his experience to put some major daylight between himself and his rivals, among of which there are veterans Dominique Patenotte, Éric Filippi and Pascal Bérard, who finished third in the Haute-Savoie in 2016 and 2017. Philippe Rageau, Guy Bertrand and Raphaël Marry make their Mont-Blanc debut and Pascal Aimé returns after his selected rounds in the trophy the past two years.
The entry list is completed by David Duc, who makes his debut in the category after competing on the regional scene with a Renault 5 GT Turbo and Clio S1600. He is not the only newcomer in the Clio R3T Trophy France with Mathieu Viscuso also taking up the challenge offered by Renault Sport Racing.
The Clio R3T Trophy Alps will also be in action this week. Like in France, never has the battle been as intense with Styve Juif and Ismaël Vuistinier – separated by just three points - set to battle for the lead in the general classification while Karl Friedrich Beck will be out to score his first win of the year.
Run over two days, the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine starts Friday on the famous roads of the Joux Verte before a three-stage loop, run twice and interspersed by the Montriond-le-Lac test. On Saturday, six more stages will be on the programme of le Praz de Lys, Morillon and Samoëns. The 497.26km rally will feature 197.62 timed kilometres.
#36 Boris Carminati — Marine Lacruz
#37 Romain Di Fante — Patrick Chiappe (J)
#38 Cédric Noe – Alex Vignolle
#39 Mathieu Walter — Thibault Raincourt
#40 Dorian Nicolas — Chloé Trincald
#41 Jérémy Jamet — Marine Journet (J)
#42 Ivan Ferrarotti — Manuel Fenoli
#43 Olivier Courtois – Hubert Risser (G)
#44 William Pitot — Romain Brun (J)
#45 Philippe Rageau — Alexandra Rageau (G)
#46 Damien Tozlanian – Jérémy Pacaud
#47 Yoann Lambert —Etienne Roussel
#48 Charlotte Berton — Cécile Pages (F)
#49 Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard (G)
#50 David Duc – Mallaury Sola (G)
#51 Pascal Aimé – Stéphanie Aimé (G)
#52 Dominique Patenotte – Valentin Goutel (G)
#53 Éric Filippi – Francis Mazzotti (G)
#54 Guy Bertrand — Karine Gehin (G)
#55 Raphaël Marry – Jérôme Duc (G)
#56 Mathieu Viscuso – Alexandre Bérard