Clio Trophy France Terre leader Jean-Sébastien Vigion scored his third victory in four starts this season with a superb performance. Overcoming his lack of knowledge of the Rallye Terre de Lozère stages and the hazards of a final timed sector full of surprises, the Frenchman and his co-driver Amandine Borderie mathematically clinched the title ahead of the season-finale. While the successor to Quentin Ribaud and Florian Bouchonneau is now known, the suspense remains among the Juniors and Teams, where the various contenders will battle it out for the 2024 sporting programme at stake in Cardabelles (6-8 October).
For the third year running, the Rallye Terre de Lozère hosted the penultimate round of the calendar, which was crucial to the hopes of several title contenders.
After a sunny shakedown and a draw which gave Mattéo Chatillon, Christophe Truchet, Inès Tamisier and Déborah Marie the opportunity to win a Michelin LTX Force T XL92 tyre, the weather conditions changed on Saturday with a bt of rain before the first recce runs.
Clio Trophy France Terre leader Jean-Sébastien Vigion overcame his ten-year absence from Lozère to immediately take the lead and dominate the three stages on a morning that was eventually dry. Twice runner-up, Matteo Chatillon was 14.0s down at midday before reducing his deficit to less than ten seconds in the early afternoon. However, the Junior remained powerless against his rival’s fightback. With five fastest times in six timed sectors, Jean-Sébastien Vigion returned to the service park with a 23.2s advantage over Matteo Chatillon, while Benjamin Boulenc, Jean-Paul Monnin and Laurent Reuche were battling for third.
After more overnight showers, the dust gave way to sand and mud on Sunday. While Benjamin Boulenc was initially the fastest, Jean-Sébastien Vigion continued to pull away before scoring maximum bonus points with an impressive run in the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage. At that point, the leader was only two stages away from the crown, but the final test in Le Born was to offer its share of surprises.
With a 35.5s lead, Jean-Sébastien Vigion suffered a puncture and opted to continue on three wheels to limit the time lost to his closest rival. However, Matteo Chatillon was forced to retire due to broken studs, and Jean-Sébastien Vigion eventually won by a margin of 30.4s ahead of Benjamin Boulenc, who secured his second consecutive podium finish and best result in the trophy.
Sixth at the start of the SS10 despite a puncture the day before, Mika Rasoamaromaka inherited victory among the Juniors while taking advantage of the misfortunes of Jean-Paul Monnin and Laurent Reuche to snatch third place. Baptiste Panissié and Faniry Rasoamaromak completed the top five. Sixth-placed Florian Condamines was ahead of Alexandre Gransagne, Jean Lavigne, Aurélien Devanthery and Samuel Lay, while Laurent Reuche salvaged the victory in the Gentlemen category. Julien Ingrassia and Gilles de Turckheim finished 15th for the one-off of the eight-time world rally champion co-driver in the Clio Trophy France Terre.
While Jean-Sébastien Vigion has now mathematically sealed the title, plenty of suspense remains in the other categories. Tom Pieri, absent this weekend, is still the man to beat in the Junior category but Matteo Chatillon, Mika Rasoamaromaka and Baptiste Panissié are still in with a shout of the official programme promised to the future winner. The same goes for the teams, where 3P Racing, Fun Meca Sport and Vigion Promosport are still in contention. Currently led by Matteo Chatillon and Bandelier Automobiles, the Jean Ragnotti Power Stage Trophy and the Renault Network Challenge also remain up for grabs ahead of the season finale at the Rallye Terre des Cardabelles.
Clio Rally5, which won the RC5 class, was not the only model to make an impression in Lozère. Quentin Ribaud won the two-wheel drive category with Clio Rally4 and finished an impressive seventh overall. Lastly, Clio Rally3 won for the third time, leading a sweep of the top four in RC3 led by Jérôme Jacquot and three crews in the overall top ten at the finish.
Jean-Sébastien Vigion : "At last, a title in feeder series ! It’s like returning to take the A-levels past a certain age ! I hadn’t come here for this at the start of the season because I’d only signed up for the first round, but everything fell into place. I was disappointed at not being able to show my pace before the summer break in Aléria, but we put our rally together by pushing hard at the right moments this weekend, thanks to some good times, very close to the top ten. I had a great time, even though I almost threw victory away with a puncture on the last stage. I’ll be at the Cardabelles because our team is still in the running to manage the official programme in 2024. We know these cars so well and want to entrust them to a promising young driver. Lastly, this title has a special meaning. I liked Clio Rally5 the first time I got behind the wheel during the development tests. It delighted me, and it still does. I’m even considering going to the Coeur de France to see what the Clio Trophy France Asphalte could be like…"
Clio Trophy France Terre - Rallye Terre de Lozère
1. Jean-Sébastien Vigion – Amandine Borderie 1h43:07.8s
2. Benjamin Boulenc – Chloé Barozzi-Gauze +30.4s
3. Mika Rasoamaromaka – Bastien Pouget (J) +39.1s
4. Baptiste Panissie – Gaël Lavernhe (J) +1:11.3s
5. Faniry Rasoamaromaka – Judicael Rakotomalala (J) +1:14.4s
6. Florian Condamines – Damien Jolé +1:53.1s
7. Alexandre Gransagne – Loïc Maurel +3:16.2s
8. Jean Lavigne – Arnaud Cubizolles (J) +3:59.0s
9. Aurélien Devanthery – Gaël Delasoie +4:05.6s
10. Samuel Lay – Geoffrey Brion (J) +4:14.5s
11. Laurent Reuche – Patrick Spart (G) +4:32.3s
12. Jean Paul Monnin – Franck Gilliot +4:33.1s
13. Christophe Truchet – Barbara Truchet +5:02.0s
14. Ludovic De Luca – José Boyer +7:24.9s
15. Julien Ingrassia – Gilles De Turckheim +8:11.9s
16. Jean-Michel Da Cunha – Bastien Dumas (G) +9:28.4s
17. Sylvain Tamisier – Mathieu Tamisier +13:31.8s
18. Ludovic Casciani – Céline Cavallaro +15:53.3s
19. Lilian Vialle – Manuel Ghirardello (G) +17:45.7s
20. Anthony Rovina – Kylian Sarmezan (J) +18:53.6s
21. Déborah Marie – Tony Tranel (F) +24:08.8s
22. Inès Tamisier – Laurent Tamisier (J,F) +25:08.1s
23. Nicolas Ressegaire – Amandine Houry (G) +44:53.8s
Ret. Yohan Saillat – Marine Pelamourgues
Ret. Mattéo Chatillon – Maxence Cornuau (J)
Ret. Thomas Mouysset – Thomas Chauffray (J)
Ret. Emmanuel Guinchard – Kilian Guinchard (G)
DNS. Florian Bernardi – Loïc Declerck
DNS. Clément Marchesini (J)