The Rallye Cœur de France (23-25 September) hosts the penultimate round of the Clio Trophy France Asphalte this week. On the roads of the Loir-et-Cher, the race for the title might know another twist with more than twenty crews entered, while Anthony Fotia will continue his programme in the FFSA French Tarmac Rally Championship with Clio Rally4!
After an epic battle where five contenders fought for victory from the first stage to the last on the Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, the level of intensity will continue to increase in Vendôme. While several competitors hope to draw on their experience, others are counting on a rally route, of which 70% is new, to make their mark ahead of the season finale.
Romain Di Fante, who is the only driver with two wins this season, has the opportunity to take his first step towards the title if he can extend the string of podiums he started at the beginning of the year. Second in the Clio R3T Trophy France on this rally in 2019, the native of Nice knows that he has no margin for error against a field of competitors determined to catch up to him before the decisive round in the Cévennes. The leader is also the one who presently has the most to lose from the subtlety of the regulations, which keep the five best results to set the general classification!
While consistency at the top is his advantage as he arrives in Vendôme, his rivals intend to pressure him and take advantage of any failure on his part. It is notably the case for Styve Juif, who hopes to continue his rise in form after his near-victory at Mont-Blanc. Despite being a newcomer on the Cœur de France, his aim is the top step of the podium to close the gap in both the general classification and Junior category to maintain his chances of winning an official programme with Clio Rally4 in 2022.
Already victorious this year, Thomas Chauffray and Guillaume Canivenq will be looking for revenge on this rally. Twelve months ago, the former saw victory slip through his fingers when he lost a wheel over a kerb on the final stage, while the latter lost out by just a few seconds at the finish.
Romain Fostier is another of the favourites after his fine fifth place on the Cœur de France roads last year, and in the case of victory, he could move right up the general classification. Unlucky since his impressive showing on the Touquet, François Fraymouth is keen to bounce back on a rally that will be a new experience, unlike Julien Baziret, who is always ready to create a surprise. Lastly, Charley Trevilly and Margot Dupuy want to continue the improvement they’ve made by reducing the gap to the tenors of the trophy.
Meanwhile, several Juniors are ready to give it their all to get closer to Romain Di Fante and Styve Juif before the end of their campaign. Benjamin Stirling and Sébastien Rambaud will use their experience on the rally to take a step forward whilst Jérémy Sarhy, Tom Rensonnet, Karl-Alexandre Pinheiro and Bertrand Blondel la Rougery will look to improve upon their best result.
The category is completed with one of the drivers making his Clio Rally5 debut, Tom Vanson. Patrick Magnou, a familiar face in the promotional categories, will also have his first go with Clio Rally5, as will Anthony Hamard, who has already been the co-driver to Thomas Chauffray, Thomas Gaume, who has moved up through the ranks of the Challenge Renault Sport, and Franck Barat, a two-time class winner on the Cœur de France. The service park will also see the return of Julien Brégeon, winner of the 2006 Rallye Jeunes operation and sixth on these same roads in the Clio R3T France Trophy in 2019.
The Rallye Coeur de France kicks off on Friday, with two loops of three repeated stages, before the Vendôme superstage. On Saturday, the second and final leg will follow an identical format. The second timed sector of the day, Bessé-sur-Braye (28.41km), will host the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage offering bonus points to the ten fastest crews. The thirteen timed sectors will total 192.97 kilometres of action on a 523.3 km route.
#40 Romain Di Fante - Patrick Chiappe (J)
#41 Styve Juif - Maxime Biegalke (J)
#42 Thomas Chauffray - Pauline Chauffray
#43 Romain Fostier - Ophelie Abchiche
#44 Guillaume Canivenq - Bastien Dumas
#45 Benjamin Stirling - Florence Wehrey (J)
#46 Jeremy Sarhy – Christopher Guieu (J)
#47 Tom Rensonnet - Renaud Herman (J)
#48 Sébastien Rambaud - Nicolas Febvre (J)
#49 Karl Pinheiro - Sarah Filipe (J)
#50 François Fraymouth - Romain Felicelli
#51 Patrick Magnou - Anthony Vilanova
#52 Bertrand Blondel La Rougery - Yoann Raffaelli (J)
#53 Julien Baziret – Delphine Laval
#54 Anthony Hamard - Ludovic Coupe
#55 Tom Vanson - Gaëtan Houssin (J)
#56 Julien Bregeon - Amélie Arrive
#57 Thomas Gaume – Armand Gaudard
#58 Charley Trevilly - Corentin Dodard
#59 Margot Dupuy - Clio Chambelland (F)
#60 Franck Barat - Romain Sornais