After the season kicked off at Le Touquet, round two of the Clio R3T Trophy France is due to be held at the Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur (12-14 May). Winner of the opening round, Cédric Robert will start as favourite, but his ten rivals will be determined to give him a run for his money in the south-east corner of France.
On his first competitive outing in a Clio R3T, Cédric Robert claimed maximum points at Le Touquet in northern France. He will undoubtedly be looking to repeat the feat at the Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur, an event he knows well since he has already claimed an outright win (2005) and won the R3 class on his last appearance here in 2014. Florian Bernardi, his closest challenger at Le Touquet, will nevertheless want to hit back despite his lack of knowledge of the event.
The two leading contenders will need to be wary of a number of drivers who possess experience in the Clio R3T on the Cote d’Azur tarmac. This will be especially true of Kevin van Deijne. Fourth at Le Touquet, the Dutchman will be back alongside co-driver Hein Verschuuren and will be aiming to improve on the third place he secured here in 2016.
Pascal Bérard and Damien Tozlanian will also be looking improve on last year’s performances, where they finished fifth and sixth respectively. Damien will be looking to keep up the good form he enjoyed at Le Touquet, where he grabbed his first top five finish in the Clio R3T Trophy France.
Having missed last year’s event after crashing at the Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières, Frédéric Perriat and Frédéric Flajolet followed up their outing at the Rallye du Touquet with regional rallies in order to fully get to grips with Clio R3T and move up the standings. Following her retirement in northern France, British driver Sara Williams will also be looking to show she is improving.
Stéphane Gragnola will start his season at home, at an event of which he is particularly fond, since he has already three appearances under his belt in a Clio Ragnotti, including a class win in 2013. After his first experiences at the 2015 Tour de Corse and the 2016 Rallye du Var, David Sauvaigo returns to the Clio R3T Trophy France looking to test himself against the leading drivers. Lastly, Pascal Aimé will also be making his first appearance in the Clio R3T Trophy this year, after competing in the Rallye National du Pays de Grasse in a Clio R3.
Emmanuel Guigou, not competing in the Trophy, will be one of the favourites to win the R3 category. The Vaucluse driver will be keen to bounce back following his retirement at Le Touquet as he aims to move back into contention in the title race.
Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur will be contested Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May. The opening leg features two identical loops of four stages and the final leg consists of three stages, each contested twice. The itinerary includes some roads that have achieved iconic status in the Rallye Monte-Carlo, including the Col de Bleine, Lantosque and the Col de Turini.
List of entries – Clio R3T Trophy France
#33 Cédric Robert – Matthieu Duval
#34 Florian Bernardi – Xavier Castex
#35 Kevin van Deijne – Hein Verschuuren
#36 Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot
#37 Frédéric Perriat – Julie Bessonet
#38 Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard
#39 Frédéric Flajolet – Christophe Leroy
#40 Sara Williams – Mark Glennester
#41 Stéphane Gragnola – Aymeric Duchemin
#42 Pascal Aimé – Stéphanie Aimé
#43 David Sauvaigo – Stéphane Marquez
Overall standings after the opening round
1. Cédric Robert 30 points
2. Florian Bernardi 21 points
3. Jean-Paul Monnin 15 points
4. Kevin van Deijne 13 points
5. Damien Tozlanian 10 points
6. Frédéric Perriat 8 points
7. Frédéric Flajolet 6 points