Forty crews will be in action at the Critérium des Cévennes this week in the fifth and final Clio Trophy France Asphalte meeting of 2022. On a rally shortened by poor weather last year, Thomas Chauffray and Tom Pieri will be able to officially seal their titles while many accessit are still at stake to complete a rally season that attracted more than 130 drivers on tarmac and gravel. Thanks to this success, both Clio Trophy France Asphalte and Terre have been confirmed for 2023, each with a five-rally format with all details to be announced soon!
Thomas Chauffray is undefeated this year and will only have to take the start to succeed Anthony Fotia and Romain Di-Fante on the category’s winners’ list, but the Clio Trophy France Asphalte leader wants to conclude his campaign with a clean sheet and seal his title in the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage Trophy against Tom Pieri and Patrick Magnou.
Mathematically guaranteed to finish first in the Junior category, Tom Pieri will do his utmost to score his maiden win on the Cévennes roads before donning the Renault colours in 2023. Such a result would guarantee the Marseille native the runner-up place to Thomas Chauffray while resisting the return of Patrick Magnou, who has progressively improved this year and is battling with Benjamin Stirling for the third place in the season-ending general classification.
This battle for the places of honour could strongly influence the fight for the teams’ title. The running of Tom Pieri’s official programme in 2023 will be decided between 3P Racing by BHR - defended by Tom Pieri, Valentin Ascenzi and Yoan Corberand - and Sébastien Loeb Racing, with Jérémy Sarhy and Benjamin Stirling. Several competitors will also be active on several fronts as Benjamin Stirling and Yoann Corberand will try to secure the Renault Network Challenge crown for Groupe Bertrand against Renault Dunkerque, who will count on Louis Myr.
In addition to these battles, the leaders will have their work cut out against rivals who are determined to impress during the season-finale. Among them, Benjamin Barnouin and Yannick Francisci will give their all to finish in the top five of the general classification. Nicolas Hebrard, Yann Clairay, Calvin Lucas will also be worth keeping an eye on, just like Julien Deslauriers after his promising debut in both French Clio Rally5 trophies. Meanwhile, Arthur Pelamourgues, Matthieu Suzzarini, Julien Anthérieu, Sylvain Janny, Franck Giraud, Enzo Beschet and Gabriel Conti hope to send a strong message ahead of next year.
The honorary places of best Gentleman and best Woman will also be at stake. In the first category, Éric Royère will start with a slight advantage over Mike Souvigné, winner of the two previous meetings, but Dominique Patenotte, Christophe Fontaine, Jean-Pierre Lejeune and Patrick Fabre will also try to get a good result. In parallel, Élodie Gines wants to demonstrate the extent of her improvement after excelling in the French Cup with Thomas Chauffray as her co-driver, but she will have to deal with the ambitions of her rivals Margot Dupuy and Allison Viano.
Olivier Reilhan and Karine Hebrard competed in last year’s edition, which was cut short by poor weather. They will be back in the service park but are not eligible to score points. It will also be the case for newcomers Anthony Ardin, Johan Gres, Lucas Morel, Jérémy Tondut and Mattéo Codaccioni, seventh on his Clio Trophy France Terre debut on Rallye des Cardabelles. Lastly, Yohan Saillat and Luc Giroux return to the trophy, while Matthieu Fassio completes the field and is ready to create a surprise at his home rally!
Six Clio Rally4s will also be in action, including Philippe Rageau’s Clio Rally4 driven by Romain Di-Fante, who will aim for victory in the RC4 category. Pauline Dalmasso, Loïc Sauvage and Hikaru Kogure, Nao Otake and Yuki Yamamoto - three Japanese hopefuls formed by Toyota Gazoo Racing - are entered with the same model.
The Critérium des Cévennes begins on Friday with a loop of five stages. Three of them, including the day’s longest stage, will be repeated after a stop at the service park. On Saturday, the second leg will see the crews challenge five other timed sectors, including the daunting Col du Pas - Ardailles stage (38.63 km) hosting the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage. The season will conclude with Saint-André-de-Majencoules - Mandagout (8.91 km) to complete a course of 13 special stages totalling 196.17 timed kilometres on an overall route of 734.91 km.
#53 Thomas Chauffray – Pauline Chauffray
#54 Tom Pieri – Amandine Borderie (J)
#55 Patrick Magnou – Anthony Vilanova
#56 Jérémy Sarhy – Loïc Declerck (J)
#57 Louis Myr – Camille Flajolet (J)
#58 Benjamin Stirling – Antoine Paque (J)
#59 Benjamin Barnouin – Enzo Mahinc (J)
#60 Valentin Ascenzi – Corentin Silvestre (J)
#61 Yannick Francisci – Lisa-Marie Vinciguerra (J)
#62 Julien Deslauriers – Amandine Brunel
#63 Nicolas Hebrard – Bastien Dumas
#64 Yoan Corberand – Emeline Faivre
#65 Arthur Pelamourgues – Sylvain Barrau (J)
#66 Yann Clairay – Magali Clairay
#67 Mattéo Codaccioni – Cédric Santini (J)
#68 Éric Royère – Gilbert Dini (G)
#69 Calvin Lucas – Amandine Houry (J)
#70 Élodie Gines – Lisa Tornior (W)
#71 Yohan Saillat – Marine Pelamourgues
#72 Franck Giraud – Sylvain Guillaume
#73 Lucas Morel – Carla Gaffayoli (J)
#74 Mike Souvigné – Sébastien Gouionnet (G)
#75 Margot Dupuy – Maxime Dupuy (W)
#76 Matthieu Suzzarini – Sony Postel
#77 Anthony Ardin – Rémi Roger (J)
#78 Dominique Patenotte – Romain Gandre (G)
#79 Julien Anthérieu – Eddy Jabeneau (J)
#80 Jérémy Tondut – Jean-François Faille
#81 Sylvain Janny – Mireille Guy
#82 Matthieu Fassio – Gabriel Salvia
#83 Johan Gres – Manon Deliot
#84 Allison Viano – Mallaury Sola (J,W)
#85 Enzo Beschet – Pierrot Rousselet (J)
#86 Luc Giroux – Quentin Saxemard
#87 Christophe Fontaine – Bastien Fontaine (G)
#88 Jean-Pierre Lejeune – Geneviève Arnavielhe (G)
#89 Gabriel Conti – Maxime Cruart (J)
#90 Patrick Favre – Clément Certano (G)
#91 Karine Hebrard – Tom Besson (W)
#92 Olivier Reilhan – Florent Reilhan (G)