YOHAN ROSSEL AND BENOIT FULCRAND WIN THE 2018 CURTAIN-RAISER IN THE 208 RALLY CUP.
Mon, 02/04/2018 - 10:15
208 RALLY CUP ROUND #1 | TERRE DES CAUSSES
The 208 Rally Cup revved back into life this weekend (March 31-April 1) with the Rallye Terre des Causses. The 2018 curtain-raiser took place in the Aveyron region, in southwest France, as part of the FFSA French Gravel Rally Championship. At the end of the event’s 10 special stages, it was the #32 crew of Yohan Rossel and Benoit Fulcrand that emerged on top, seeing off Karl Pinheiro / Franck Le Floch in the #29 entry and the #30 car of Quentin Ribaud and Mathieu Maurin.
- The opening round of Season 6 of the 208 Rally Cup was characterised by wet weather, making conditions very slippery. Six timed speed tests awaited the 18 competitors over the course of the first day, totalling 75.224km. Heavy rain challenged the phalanx of Peugeot 208 R2s through SS1, leading to a number of incidents, although thankfully none with any major consequences. Yohan Rossel set the early pace behind the wheel of the #32 entry, completing the opening salvo in a time of 8m14s, two seconds clear of his closest pursuer, Karl Pinheiro (#29). Rossel repeated the feat on SS2, this time one second quicker than Hugo Margaillan in the #33 car. The tables were finally turned on SS3 when Quentin Ribaud (#30) outpaced the rally leader, albeit by only a second.
- Over the course of the afternoon’s three stages, Pinheiro, Matthieu Margaillan and Rossel engaged in a tight tussle at the top of the order. A notable retirement was the #43 of Dorian Delagne due to a mechanical failure on SS5, while Mohamed Al Mutawaa (#35) fell victim to a double puncture on SS6 following a significant rear-side impact with a tree. The Emirati driver was nonetheless able to re-start on Sunday morning for the second day of competition. At the end of the first leg, Rossel led the way in the #32, ahead of Pinheiro (#29) and Matthieu Margaillan (#86).
- The second and final leg, on Sunday, April 1, pitted protagonists against four special stages totalling 74.54km. SS7 saw Pinheiro set the fastest time in the #29, outpacing the #31 of Emmanuel Gascou, while Rossel in the #32 car remained firmly in the hunt by posting the third-best time. Drama ensued in the second test of the morning (SS8), as two of the hotly-tipped favourites – Pinheiro (#29) and Matthieu Margaillan (#86) – overshot and conceded vital seconds, allowed Ribaud in the #30 to take the stage win ahead of Rossel, who continued to be an ever-present threat behind the wheel of the #32 car. ‘Junior’ driver Hugo Margaillan turned heads on SS8 by setting the third-quickest time – an excellent effort on his maiden appearance in the 208 Rally Cup.
- Following a short break, competitors returned to the fray for the final two stages. On SS9, Pinheiro set the pace in the #29 entry, getting the better of a charging Ribaud. By contrast, Matthieu Margaillan lost crucial time when he went off into a field, costing him a podium finish. The battle for victory, however, went right the way down to the wire on SS10, the last stage of the rally. The second-fastest time for Rossel – behind Ribaud (#30) – was sufficient for the driver of the #32 car to lift the laurels in the 208 Rally Cup season curtain-raiser. Pinheiro (#29) ultimately finished as runner-up, with Ribaud rounding out the rostrum in third. Rossel picked up the points for being the event’s best overall performer.
#32 Yohan Rossel – Winner of the 2018 Rallye Terre des Causses – 208 Rally Cup
“It was a tough weekend, with the conditions certainly complicating matters. That said, we didn’t make any mistakes and, by working closely with the team, we made consistent progress on the set-up side. I’m very happy. In the build-up to the rally, I worked hard with [co-driver] Benoit, and the entire team performed miracles to ensure we were ready for action in the space of barely a fortnight – so this victory is first and foremost for them. It goes without saying that this is the perfect way to start the season. It was important to put a solid points-haul on the board in the first event, but there are plenty of rallies still to go so we mustn’t get carried away.”
#29 Karl Pinheiro – 2nd in the 2018 Rallye Terre des Causses – 208 Rally Cup
“Overall, it’s been a very positive weekend, and the preparation work that we put in with the team ahead of the event clearly paid off. The only sight disappointment is the mistake we made this morning. I didn’t expect to be as close as we were time-wise to Yohan [Rossel]. That’s a promising sign for the remainder of the season.”
#30 Quentin Ribaud – 3rd in the 2018 Rallye Terre des Causses – 208 Rally Cup
“That was a good start to the season, all told. Yesterday, we conceded ten seconds when I made a small mistake in the first stage of the rally. That was obviously frustrating, but we made up for it to some extent by going fastest through SS3. Unfortunately, on Saturday afternoon we had to contend with an incorrectly fitted tyre, which held us back slightly, but we were able to limit the damage in terms of time loss. Today we drove well, with the sole exception of SS7 this morning when we were perhaps a bit too hesitant. After that, we really pushed hard and the result was three consecutive stage wins. That secured us third place overall and a podium finish, which was our stated objective. Mission accomplished.”
Round 2 of this year’s 208 Rally Cup – the first to be held on asphalt – will take teams to Antibes on May 18-20.
2018 Rallye Terre des Causses – Overall 208 Rally Cup classification:
- #32 Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand (1h39m40.1s) – Sarrazin Motorsport
- #29 Karl Pinheiro / Franck le Floch (1h40m03.1s) – Saintéloc Racing
- #30 Quentin Ribaud / Mathieu Maurin (1h40m07.2s) – CHL Sport Auto
- #33 Hugo Margaillan / Sébastien Poujol (1h40m09.9s) – CHL Sport Auto - (JUNIOR)
- #31 Emmanuel Gascou / Alexandre Vida (1h40m28.8s) – CHL Sport Auto
- #86 Matthieu Margaillan / Mathilde Margaillan (1h40m34.1s) – PH Sport
- #34 Aki Sahila / Rami Suorsa (1h40m37.7s) - Saintéloc Racing
- #44 Thomas Baudoin / Margot Basso (1h42m26.5s) – PH Sport (JUNIOR)
- #38 Enzo Baraccani / Matthieu Belhacene (1h43m13.0s) – Pit Stop
- #40 Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria (1h43m49.7s) - Sébastien Loeb Racing (JUNIOR)
- #37 Meirion Evans / Jonathan Jackson (1h44m11.6s) – Chazel Technologie Course
- #39 Nicolas Lathion / Yannick Schriber (1h45m20.6s) – Sébastien Loeb Racing
- #42 Cédric Noé / Alex Vignolle (1h45m32.3s) – Tregou Racing
- #46 Clément Bully /Thierry Salua (1h47m42.4s) – CHM Sport Auto (JUNIOR)
- #45 Benjamin Boulenc / Jules Escartefigue (1h51m04.9s) – Chazel Technologie
- #43 Dorian Delagne / Bastien Dumas (5h36m46.7s) – Onyx Racing by Enjolras
2018 Overall 208 Rally Cup classification:
- Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand – Sarrazin Motorsport
- Karl Pinheiro / Franck le Floch – Saintéloc Racing
- Quentin Ribaud / Mathieu Maurin – CHL Sport Auto
- Hugo Margaillan / Sébastien Poujol – CHL Sport Auto - (JUNIOR)
- Emmanuel Gascou / Alexandre Vida – CHL Sport Auto
- Matthieu Margaillan / Mathilde Margaillan – PH Sport
- Aki Sahila / Rami Suorsa - Saintéloc Racing
- Thomas Baudoin / Margot Basso – PH Sport (JUNIOR)
- Enzo Baraccani / Matthieu Belhacene – Pit Stop
- Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria – Sébastien Loeb Racing (JUNIOR)
- Meirion Evans / Jonathan Jackson – Chazel Technologie Course
- Nicolas Lathion / Yannick Schriber – Sébastien Loeb Racing
- Cédric Noé / Alex Vignolle – Tregou Racing
- Clément Bully /Thierry Salua – CHM Sport Auto (JUNIOR)
- Benjamin Boulenc / Jules Escartefigue – Chazel Technologie
- Dorian Delagne / Bastien Dumas – Onyx Racing by Enjolras
Subject to the publication of the official results by the FFSA.
. 208 Rally Cup / Rallye Terre des Causses photos: http://bit.ly/2Eb6O68
. Photo credit: PEUGEOT SPORT / @World
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