Only two points … At mid-season, two lengths separate the top three in the French Rally Championship. Yoann Bonato is leader ahead of Quentin Giordano, with both 77 points but three wins to zero for the three-time champion of France, and Eric Camilli (one victory) follows by two points. A case rarely observed at this stage during the last few years when, at best, a duel was still relevant halfway through.
In view of the fights per second between the three contenders since the opening at Le Touquet, this 2021 edition could resemble that of ten years ago, where they were still four to be able to be crowned on the morning of the last rally, Gilles Nantet styling the crown in extremis following the abandonment in Var of Eric Brunson and Dany Snobeck. There too, will the outcome take place in Sainte-Maxime at the end of November?
In the meantime, we already have to go through Vendôme this weekend, for a Coeur de France rally that promises to be electric. An ultra-fast event in which Bonato has been undefeated since 2017, he who won the first four editions counting for the French Championship.
But the three-time national champion comes out of an impressive cabriole in the Azores in the ERC. “By far the biggest stoppage of our career,” he admits, even if he immediately recognizes: “we took to the water in the Azores but, good news, we know how to swim! We are in great shape with Benjamin, everything will be fine for the Heart of France. “
This accident does not therefore call into question his participation because the Citroën C3 used in the ERC and destroyed last weekend is different from that of the French Championship.
Quentin Giordano, on roads he knows just as much as his co-leader, will undoubtedly be his toughest rival once again. The Nancy driver is as sharp as ever this season and his Volkswagen Polo GTi R5, masterfully prepared by Sarrazin Motorsport, is currently a formidable weapon against the C3s. With four podiums in four races, he is only missing one victory this season.
Eric Camilli (C3 Rally2), he, a subscriber to the WRC specials since 2015, mainly pays for his lack of knowledge of the terrain. Despite his burst of speed, the Niçois will once again have to compose in the Loir-et-Cher with a course that is unknown to him. Under these conditions, if he wants to stay within the high pace imposed by his rivals, he will especially have to avoid small errors, punctures having already spoiled two of his races this year.
In addition to these three favorites, we will observe with attention the pace of Jean-Marie Cuoq, on an antique Citroën C4 WRC two liters. At 52, the double French champion returns to the Championship for the first time since 2015. Other expected outsiders: Pierre Roché (C3 Rally2), seven times winner here in the Coupe de France, William Wagner (C3 Rally2), still well placed , and the GTs of Cédric Robert (Alpine A110 Rally) and Anthony Cosson (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup), very fast on this type of terrain where the averages blithely exceed 100 km / h.
Finally, the Peugeot 208 Rally Cup, the Renault Clio Trophy France, the Alpine Rally Trophy and the French junior championship will reinforce the interest of this rally which will take place over 192 km timed in 13 special stages, Friday (7 SS) and Saturday (6 ES).