PEUGEOT 208 RALLY CUP: A THIRD STRAIGHT WIN PUTS YOHAN ROSSEL AND BENOIT FULCRAND EVEN FURTHER CLEAR ON TOP!
208 Rally Cup | Rallye Vosges Grand Est (asphalt) - Round 3 of 7
Round 3 of the 2018 208 Rally Cup took teams to the Rallye Vosges Grand Est which was a first for the majority of the 15 crews that made the trip to eastern France on June 8-10. The two-day event was ideally suited to the characteristics of the PEUGEOT 208 R2, even though the conditions proved extremely tricky at times due to the poor weather and the occasional thunderstorm which made the stages treacherously slippery. The championship’s provisional leaders Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand (Sarrazin Motorsport) survived the ordeal unscathed to collect a third straight victory which has extended their lead at the top of the provisional order. The French pair finished 47.9 seconds clear of Spaniards Efren Llarena / Sara Fernandez (Llarena Racing) and Juniors Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria (Sébastien Loeb Racing).
The 208 Rally Cup crews found themselves with a delicate challenge on their hands from the outset when SS1 (Boslimpré) proved extremely slippery, leading to a number of punctures and errors. The first best time of the weekend was the work of Karl Pinheiro. SS2 (Pays d’Ormont) proved more straightforward, even though the long test had been soiled by the torrential rain which led the drivers to tread warily. Fastest on this occasion was Yohan Rossel. SS3 (Moyenmoutier) was more complex due essentially to a particularly difficult sequence of corners which caught out several crewsincluding Junior leaders Hugo Margaillan / Sébastien Poujol (CHL Sport Auto), while Enzo Baraccani / Cindy Priolo rolled. Once again, the timesheet was topped by Karl-Alexandre Pinheiro / Franck Le Floch (CPS Quality-Saint Eloc Racing). The midday service halt was perturbed by another storm which also affected the afternoon’s conditions. The greasier going clearly didn’t faze Karl-Alexandre Pinheiro, however, since he repeated his morning’s performance by winning Boslimpré 2 (SS4). Unfortunately, his elation was short-lived since he crashed out on the following test (SS5, Pays d’Ormont). Yohan Rossel subsequently took control with fastest times on SS5 and SS6 (Moyenmoutier), chased by Spaniards Efren Llarena / Sara Fernandez (Llarena Racing) who closed the gap ahead of the 1.9-kilometre Gérardmer – La Mauselaine super-special (SS7) which was won by Hugo Margaillan who bounced back to conclude the rally’s first day on a high note.
The second day took place in sunny weather, although the stages weren’t entirely dry and remained slippery in places following the torrential rain that had fallen during the previous leg. Forewarned by the events of Day 1, the crews were consequently cautious when action resumed with the leg’s longest stage (SS8, Le Fossard, 22,5km). Hugo Margaillan continued on his momentum and was fastest. The following test (SS9, Corcieux) was won by Finns Aki Sahila / Ramu Suorsa (CPS Quality-Saint Eloc Racing) who had been delayed by a puncture and an ‘off’ on Day 1. The second visit to the Gérardmer – La Mauselaine super-special (SS10) saw Yohan Rossel post his fourth stage win of the weekend, but Hugo Margaillan respondedwith fastest times on SS11 (Le Fossard) and SS12 (Corcieux). The 12-stage Rallye Vosges Grand Est saw Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand collect their third win from three this season, the first time any crew has achieved that feat in the history of the 208 Rally Cup. Efren Llarena / Sara Fernandez were rewarded for their fine performance on their first appearance in the popular Peugeot single-make series with second place. As in Antibes, Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria joined in the overall podium festivities in addition to winning the weekend’s Junior battle.
The first three clashes of the year have produced a thrilling battle in the Junior U23 class between Léo Rossel and Hugo Margaillan who are split by just nine points in the provisional classification with the season’s midpoint fast approaching. It is worth recalling that the best-placed Junior 208 Rally Cup crew after the next round (Rallye Aveyron Rouergue Occitanie) will be invited to attend the ERC Junior Experience course which is organised in association with Eurosport Events. The crew will travel to the Czech Republic and Latvia to familiarise themselves with the European Rally Championship thanks to a 360-degree training programme. Following in the footsteps of the 2017 208 Rally Cup winner and 2018 Peugeot Rally Academy driver Laurent Pellier, the best-placed U23 crew will be given tuition in the taking of pace notes, working with the media and perfecting their recce skills thanks to a series of workshops presented by experts in these domains. This instruction at European level is aimed at grooming the season’s potential U23 winners for their end-of-year prize which is a six-round ERC3 programme in 2019 with Motorsport PSA in a PEUGEOT 208 R2.
Yohan Rossel (driver, Sarrazin Motorsport)
1st overall and provisional 2018 208 Rally Cup leader
“It was a perfect weekend for us. We worked well with the team and hardly made any mistakes, even though it was by no means a straightforward weekend. Winning this event to take my score to three victories on the trot is extremely encouraging for the rest of the year. We will now focus on the Rallye du Rouergue which is a particularly complex event. We won’t be the only ones wanting to win it so we intend to prepare thoroughly and fine-tune the set-up of our car to be as ready as we possibly can be!”
Efren Llarena (driver, Llarena Racing)
“It was a tough rally but we did our best to finish on the podium and we succeeded. It was a good result but we still need to improve. I wasn’t entirely happy with my pace notes and that’s something I will have to work on before the Rallye du Rouergue because it’s an event where anything can happen. I am pleased to be contesting the 208 Rally Cup because it’s one of the very best European single-make championships. The level is very high and you need to push all the time.”
Léo Rossel (driver, Sébastien Loeb Racing)
3rd overall and best-placed Junior
“Our weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts when we punctured on SS1 after finding a good early pace. We needed to dig deep to climb back after that. We weren’t the fastest but we were consistent and posted several top-three times. We didn’t make any mistakes and that paid off. The next round sees the championship reach its midpoint. We are obviously targeting a place on the ERC Experience course, but I believe Hugo Margaillan is slightly faster. His mistake this weekend allowed us to climb up the order and, if any more chances like that arise, we will be only too happy to snap them up.”
Hugo Margaillan (driver, CHL Sport Auto)
1st, provisional Junior standings
“It turned out to be a complex rally for us even though we got off to a promising start on Day 1. Unfortunately, we made a mistake which saw us lose ground. The conditions were hard and we didn’t want to take any risks but we changed our objective. From Sunday morning, we pushed hard in order to post the weekend’s highest number of stage wins which we ended up doing. So that was a good result in terms of the Junior championship and we have a chance of attending the ERC Experience course. Who actually goes will be settled between Léo Rossel and me on the Rallye du Rouergue, and I hope it will be us!”
Final classification – Rallye Vosges Grand Est (Round 3 of 7)
1. Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand – Sarrazin Motorsport
2. Efren Llarena / Sara Fernandez – Llarena Racing, +47.9s
3. Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria – Sébastien Loeb Racing (JUNIOR) ,+ 1m42.9s
4. Quentin Ribaud / Mathieu Maurin – CHL Sport Auto, +2m15.7s
5. Eddy Marchal / Alison Girard, +3m53.1s
6. Hugo Margaillan / Sébastien Poujol – CHL Sport Auto (JUNIOR), +6m27.4s
7. Meirion Evans / Jonathan Jackson – Chazel, +11m2.8s
8. Hugo Bonfils / Olivier Brouze – Easy Rally (JUNIOR), +12m0.9s
9. Brandon Maisano / Pierre Pebeyre – Easy Rally, +13m56.2s
10. Aki Sahila / Rami Suorsa – CPS Quality-Saint Eloc Racing, +15m18.4s
11. Mohamed Al Mutawaa / Aaron Johnston - PH Sport, +4h25m36.6s
Provisional 2018 208 Rally Cup classification after the Rallye Vosges Grand Est:
1. Yohan Rossel / Benoit Fulcrand – Sarrazin Motorsport 66 points
2. Hugo Margaillan / Sébastien Poujol – CHL Sport Auto - (JUNIOR) 34 points
3. Léo Rossel / Alexandre Coria – Sébastien Loeb Racing (JUNIOR) 25 points
4. Quentin Ribaud / Mathieu Maurin – CHL Sport Auto 24 points
5. Karl Pinheiro / Franck le Floch – Saintéloc Racing 18 points
6. Efren Llarena /Sara Fernandez – Llarena Racing 15 points