The Clio R3T France Trophy competitors back in action in Antibes

Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur (20-22 May) hosts the second round of the Clio R3T France Trophy, which began last month in the Rhône valley. Winner in Lyon-Charbonnières, Benoît Vaillant starts as the favourite but will face stiff opposition. A total of thirteen Renault Clio R3Ts will be tackling the roads of the Alpes-Maritimes.

Benoît Vaillant won the opening round in Lyon-Charbonnières to start 2016 season where he left off in 2015, during which he enjoyed great success in the Renault Clio R3T. However, he had to fight for long periods before topping the overall standings as he claimed the 25 points for the win, plus the five points for the "Jean Ragnotti best performer" prize awarded for the most stage wins.

Rémi Jouines, in particular, had ran him close for first place before finishing as runner-up in Lyon. In Antibes, the Hérault driver will be keen to do whatever it takes to prevent the leader from moving clear. He’ll be helped in that respect by his experience in two-wheel drive cars. Charles Martin, hampered by brake problems at the opening round of the season, wasn’t fully able to give his all and will want to fight for the win this time around.

Philippe Corneau, who started the year with a top five finish, will be looking to keep up his good form. Pascal Bérard, has won the R3 class of a rally in the French Cup after finishing sixth in Lyon, and will also be able to use his knowledge of R3T. Damien Tozlanian and Guillaume Bergeon, both in the top ten in Lyon, will be aiming to move up the standings, as will Charlotte Dalmasso, the sole entrant in the Female category. She’ll also have the advantage of competing at her home event and would dearly love to perform well in front of her supporters.

The Junior category will be well represented, with seven crews in the starting line-up, with Benoît Vaillant and Charles Martin topping the bill. Stéphane Boissy, William Pitot and Kevin Van Deijne will be looking to make a point after a somewhat disappointing start to the season. Patrice Poinapin and Kevin Narassamy Virama, both from La Réunion, will be making their debut in the Clio R3T Trophy France.

It should be noted that Frédéric Pierrat and Frédéric Flajolet will not be taking part in this event after failing to recover sufficiently from their accident at Rallye Lyon-Charbonnières. They are however expected to return to action for the third round at Rallye Rouergue-Aveyron.

Rallye Antibes Côte d’Azur will be contested over two days, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May. Two loops of three stages will be completed on each of the two legs. The course includes some of the greatest tests in the Alpes-Maritimes, such as the Lantosque, Col de Bleine and Col de Turini stages.

List of entries
Benoît Vaillant – Antoine Brule (Junior)
Rémi Jouines – Adrien Bonicel
Charles Martin – Matthieu Duval (Junior)
Philippe Corneau – Grégoire Samuel
Pascal Bérard – Caroline Bérard
Charlotte Dalmasso – Gwenaëlle Le Poëc (Féminine)
Damien Tozlanian – Pierre Blot
Stéphane Boissy – Jérôme Bard (Junior)
Guillaume Bergeon – Vincent Merlet
Kevin van Deijne – Hein Vershcuuren (Junior)
William Pitot – Romain Brun (Junior)
Patrice Poinapin – Kevin de Berge (Junior)
Kevin Narassamy Virama (Junior)

Overall standings after the opening round
1. Benoît Vaillant 30 points
2. Rémi Jouines 21
3. Jérôme Chavanne 16
4. Charles Martin 12
5. Philippe Corneau 10
6. Pascal Bérard 8
7. Charlotte Dalmasso 6
8. Damien Tozlanian 4
9. Stéphane Boissy 2
10. Guillaume Bergeon 1