Mattéo Chatillon claimed his first Clio Trophy France Terre win on the Rallye Terre de Lozère Sud de France with a superb attack on the final stage, becoming the fourth different winner in as many rounds this year. Thanks to this hard-fought victory over Florian Bouchonneau, the title race will continue at the Rallye Terre des Cardabelles, with two Junior drivers battling for an official Clio Rally4 programme in 2023.
On the heels of an extremely competitive start to the season, twenty-eight crews lined up at the start in Mende for a vital round for the aspirations of many contenders. The battles promised to be intense. And so they were right from the start.
Mattéo Chatillon had shown a strong pace despite three retirements, and he confirmed his speed by taking the early lead. Julien Pontal answered on SS2, but the Langres winner made a mistake which cost him more than 90 seconds on the following timed sector, while Faniry Rasoamaromaka also got caught out in the loop. While Mika Rasoamaromaka set the best time on the morning’s final stage, Mattéo Chatillon held a 5.6-second lead from Florian Bouchonneau.
On the return from the service park, Mattéo Chatillon stepped up the pace with the fastest time on SS5 and two second fastest times to relegate his challenger to 21.3s. Meanwhile, Florian Condamines powered his way up to third place, but Benjamin Boulenc, Mika Rasoamaromaka and Maxime Lafon lingered at less than twenty seconds. Meanwhile, Julien Pontal’s hopes were dashed in the afternoon by a mechanical issue on extremely challenging roads. Gentleman driver Laurent Reuche was also third before dropping six minutes on SS6.
The drama increased on Sunday. Mattéo Chatillon was penalised ten seconds for a late check-in on SS4 before Florian Bouchonneau won both morning stages. The Clio Trophy France Terre leader took the maximum five bonus points in the process, beating Mattéo Chatillon and Florian Condamines by less than a second on the 23km Jean Ragnotti Power Stage.
The decisive loop offered new twists and turns. Florian Bouchonneau took an 8.8s lead in Allenc, but Mattéo Chatillon countered with a brave pass through Le Born to set the best time by a commanding 40.3s, allowing the ARL Sport driver to claim his first victory in the trophy and the Junior category win by 31.5s from Florian Bouchonneau.
Jean-Paul Monnin avoided the hazards and took advantage of the retirements of Florian Condamines and Mika Rasoamaromaka to complete the podium, followed closely by Bastien Bergounhe, Maxime Lafon and Baptiste Panissié. Benjamin Boulenc was left out of the fight for third place after a puncture on SS8 but settled for seventh place ahead of Gentlemen Eric Royère, Emmanuel Gunchard and Gaël Alquier.
While Florian Bouchonneau missed his first opportunity to seal the title by losing out in the last few kilometres of the event, only Julien Pontal can take the crown from him, but he will have to win, set the best time on the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage and hope that Florian Bouchonneau doesn’t score more than twenty points in the season-finale.
The other categories are not as clear-cut. Fun Meca Sport still leads a tighter than ever classification among the teams, while Lilian Vialle, Laurent Reuche and Eric Royère are only covered by two points in the Gentlemen category. Lastly, Garage de Sousa still leads the Renault Network Challenge ahead of the Rallye Terre des Cardabelles - Millau - Aveyron from 7 to 9 October.
Mattéo Chatillon : "This victory is big for us. After three rallies in which we fought for the lead before retiring, this first success is thanks to the excellent work done with ARL Racing and my family. We wanted this more than anything, and we are so happy. On SS9, I went straight on to take the escape road after trying to go too fast in a corner. We stalled and lost between ten and fifteen seconds in the process. So it was a case of all or nothing for the last stage : either I pushed hard so that I wouldn’t have any regrets even if I retired, or I would have settled for second place, which wouldn’t necessarily have satisfied me. We gave it our all, and the victory was there. I am looking forward to the Cardabelles. I scored my first podium there and I love this rally. I hope we will fight again at the front against our competitors, whom I thank because we all make each other better !"
Rallye Terre de Lozère Sud de France 2022
Clio Trophy France Terre*
1. Mattéo Chatillon – Maxence Cornuau (J) 1h44:00.8s
2. Florian Bouchonneau – Jeanne Rey (J) +31.5s
3. Jean Paul Monnin – Franck Gilliot +3:16.5s
4. Bastien Bergounhe – Mathieu Descharne (J) +3:32.4s
5. Maxime Lafon – Thomas Delmas (J) +3:34.5s
6. Baptiste Panissié – Gaël Lavernhe (J) +3:59.7s
7. Benjamin Boulenc – Chloé Barozzi-Gauze +6:57.2s
8. Éric Royère – Gilbert Dini (G) +8:04.3s
9. Emmanuel Guinchard – Kilian Guinchard +9:03.4s
10. Gaël Alquier – Marion Alquier +9:13.1s
11. Jean Lavigne – Arnaud Cubizolles (J) +10:08.9s
12. Lilian Vialle – Manuel Ghirardello (G) +11:47.2s
13. Christophe Rocard – Florian Chardon (G) +12:09.5s
14. Sébastien Studer – Patrick Spart +14:45.6s
15. Vincent Favre-Miville – Cédric Causse +14:49.6s
16. Claudie Tanghe – Jean-Christian d’Ennetières (G) +15:25.0s
17. Thomas Mouysset – Lucas Gineste (J) +18:55.0s
18. Laurent Reuche – Gaël Delasoie (G) +21:15.5s
19. Justin Tamisier – Laurent Tamisier (J) +22:40.6s
20. Ludovic Casciani – Céline Cavallaro +39:16.8s
21. Philippe Morard – Vincent Groulier (G) +45:23.8s
Ret. Guillaume Lafitte – Marie-Noëlle Ratier
Ret. Marcel Abad – Pere Requena (J)
Ret. Julien Pontal – Loan Biagetti (J)
Ret. Florian Condamines – Damien Jole
Ret. François Fraymouth – Romain Felicelli
Ret .Faniry Rasoamaromaka – Judi Rakatomalala (J)
Ret. Mika Rasoamaromaka – Bastien Pouget (J)
DNS. Sam Taveneau – Pauline Boyer (J)
*classifications suspended pending the technical scrutineering results
ABOUT THE CLIO TROPHY FRANCE ASPHALTE AND TERRE
After a successful launch, Clio Rally5 is now taking on all surfaces with the Clio Trophy France Asphalte and the Clio Trophy France Terre. With two calendars intentionally independent and complementary to maximise the opportunities for all, each trophy consists of five rounds of the FFSA French Taramc or Gravel Rally Championship. Junior, Gentlemen, Female and Teams categories allow all the contenders to be valorised while enjoying unrivalled technical support and a unique level of equity at this level of the pyramid. A real springboard for the most promising hopefuls, the best Juniors on each surface at the end of the year will be offered an official programme with Clio Rally4.
Renault, a historic mobility brand and pioneer of electric vehicles in Europe, has always developed innovative vehicles. With the ‘Renaulution’ strategic plan, Renault has embarked on an ambitious, value-generating transformation moving towards a more competitive, balanced and electrified range. Its ambition is to embody modernity and innovation in technology, energy and mobility services in the automotive industry and beyond.