Thomas Chauffray was well on his way to a clean sweep in the Clio Trophy France Asphalte until hopes of a fifth consecutive victory ended with a puncture on the final leg of 2022 at the Critérium des Cévennes. Patrick Magnou seized the opportunity to claim his first win of the year and deprive Tom Pieri of the runner-up position behind Thomas Chauffray. Second in the rally, the best Junior Tom Pieri nevertheless secured the crown for his team 3P Racing by BHR and will continue the adventure with the outfit as part of its official programme with Renault in 2023.
Forty crews entered the Critérium des Cévennes for the final Clio Trophy France Asphalte event of the year. Thomas Chauffray only had to start to seal his title and join Anthony Fotia and Romain Di-Fante in the discipline’s list of winners.
This wasn’t enough for him though as Thomas Chauffray set the best time on the opening three timed sectors to immediately take the lead. After the allocation of notional times in Sumène - Saint-Martial, it was not until the Circuit Kartix stage that Tom Pieri broke the streak of the leader, who finished the morning with a 13.2s lead.
Although Thomas Chauffray won two more stages in the early evening, the battle intensified between his pursuers in the darkness. Valentin Ascenzi took the last scratch of the day and second place from Patrick Magnou, allowing 3P Racing by BHR to take a step towards the teams’ title. Behind him, his team-mate Tom Pieri did the same by distancing Benjamin Stirling after Julien Deslauriers hit troubles on SS7.
The story of the rally changed radically on Saturday. Patrick Magnou had a sensational run on the Col du Pas - Col de Bès and reduced the gap to 15.1s behind Thomas Chauffray. The latter saw his dreams of a clean sweep end due to a puncture on the next timed sector. Patrick Magnou set the fastest time again and now had a near one-minute lead over Tom Pieri, as Valentin Ascenzi also suffered a puncture on SS10.
With his pride of a champion stung, Thomas Chauffray went on the attack again on the daunting Col du Pas - Ardailles stage (38.63 km) to take the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage by nearly 30 seconds over his rivals led by Patrick Magnou. This performance, synonymous with the 16th best time overall, allowed him to secure the 2022 Jean Ragnotti Power Stage Trophy.
Patrick Magnou controlled his pace on the final stage to win the season-finale, 1:20.0s ahead of Tom Pieri. Third, Benjamin Barnouin scored his best result of the year, beating Benjamin Stirling by only half a second at the end of a breathtaking duel in the final kilometres. Arthur Pelamourgues also put in his best drive of the season, finishing fifth. Valentin Ascenzi, newcomer Anthony Ardin, Thomas Chauffray, Jérémy Sarhy and Julien Deslauriers completed the top ten.
Like Thomas Chauffray in the general classification, Tom Pieri sealed his first place among the Juniors. He will be offered an official programme with Renault in 2023, managed by 3P Racing by BHR, which won the Teams’ title thanks to the podium finish of the Marseille driver. Meanwhile, Eric Royère secured the honorary title in the Gentlemen category despite Mike Souvigné’s third consecutive victory. Élodie Gines did the same in the Women’s class and will therefore contest one 2023 French Rally Championship round with an Alpine A110 Rally. Lastly, the Renault Network Challenge went to the Groupe Bertrand, defended by Benjamin Stirling and Yoan Corberand.
This Sunday, Alpine Racing will celebrate all the winners and participants of the Clio Trophy France Asphalte and Clio Trophy France Terre at the prize-giving ceremony. After attracting more than 130 crews this season, the two trophies will also unveil their calendars of five rounds each in the upcoming days.
2022 Critérium des Cévennes
Clio Trophy France Asphalte
1. Patrick Magnou – Anthony Vilanova 2h18:30.0s
2. Tom Pieri – Amandine Borderie (J) +1:20.0s
3. Benjamin Barnouin – Enzo Mahinc (J) +1:30.7s
4. Benjamin Stirling – Antoine Paque (J) +1:31.2s
5. Arthur Pelamourgues – Sylvain Barrau (J) +2:47.8s
6. Valentin Ascenzi – Corentin Silvestre (J) +2:58.2s
7. Anthony Ardin – Rémi Boyer (J) +3:25.7s
8. Thomas Chauffray – Pauline Chauffray +3:46.8s
9. Jérémy Sarhy – Loïc Declerck (J) +3:48.0s
10. Julien Deslauriers – Amandine Brunel +4:21.2s
11. Yannick Francisci – Lisa-Marie Vinciguerra (J) +4:52.3s
12. Calvin Lucas – Amandine Houry (J) +6:16.2s
13. Mattéo Codaccioni – Cédric Santini (J) +7:16.7s
14. Margot Dupuy – Maxime Dupuy +7:20.9s*
15. Enzo Beschet – Pierrot Rousselet (J) +7:36.7s
16. Mike Souvigné – Sébastien Gouionnet (G) +8:23.4s
17. Julien Anthérieu – Eddy Jabeneau (J) +10:53.5s
18. Luc Giroux – Quentin Saxemard +11:20.0s
19. Jérémy Tondut – Jean-François Faille +11:55.8s
20. Éric Royère – Gilbert Dini (G) +13:13.6s
21. Christophe Fontaine – Bastien Fontaine (G) +14:50.8s
22. Lucas Morel – Carla Gaffayoli (J) +16:55.9s
23. Johan Gres – Manon Deliot +17:46.6s
24. Élodie Gines – Lisa Tornior (W) +18:01.1s
25. Dominique Patenotte – Romain Gandre (G) +18:52.1s
26. Matthieu Suzzarini – Sony Postel +19:05.9s
27. Allison Viano – Mallaury Sola (J,W) +19:14.8s
28. Sylvain Janny – Mireille Guy +20:56.9s
29. Patrick Favre – Clément Certano (G) +22:00.3s
30. Yoan Corberand – Emeline Faivre +24:50.2s
31. Olivier Reilhan – Florent Reilhan (G) +30:04.0s
32. Karine Hebrard – Tom Besson (W) +44:37.2s
33. Jean-Pierre Lejeune – Geneviève Arnavielhe (G) +54:23.2s
Ret. Gabriel Conti – Maxime Cruart (J)
Ret. Louis Myr – Camille Flajolet (J)
Ret. Nicolas Hebrard – Bastien Dumas
Ret. Matthieu Fassio – Gabriel Salvia
Ret. Franck Giraud – Sylvain Guillaume
Ret. Yohan Saillat – Marine Pelamourgues
NP. Yann Clairay – Magali Clairay
*Ceding the wheel to Maxime Dupuy, Margot Dupuy gave up her points and the Women’s category for this event