With 202 crews at the start, a challenging layout winding its way between mountains and the sea plus a large number of spectators present in the twelve timed stages, the Rallye du Var remains the highlight the season.
While the outcome of the French Rally Championship was being decided in the 57th event, the Citroën Racing Trophy was thinking European and invited the protagonists in the formula from the four corners of the continent. It was a successful move crowned by a double victory. The DS3 R3 driven by Matthieu Arzeno / Renaud Jamoul won in Group R, while Sébastien Condroyer and his co-driver Céline Cavallaro created a big upset by triumphing in the R2 category in their C2-R2 MAX.
Despite the very sunny conditions that reigned throughout the week, the competitors met with difficult road conditions. The itinerary, quasi-identical to that of the previous years, varied from narrow twisty roads to quick, bumpy sections. The damp and sometimes dirty surface posed a problem for the crews as they had to cope with frequent grip changes. The 35 Citroëns taking part went at it hammer and tongs right from the green light, and Mathieu Arzeno led the field of red cars from start to finish. He took the chequered flag in Group B followed by Cédric Robert with Marc Amourette hanging onto fourth place in the category.
Foreign drivers Czech Jan Cerny, Hungarian Robert Butor and Giuseppe Botta from Italy finished in the top 10 in the group in their DS3 R3s. In C2-R2 MAX, Sébastien Condroyer backed up by Céline Cavallaro upset the predictions by winning the R2 category. The Var driver, who had just taken part in his “thirtieth timed stage,” raced in the last round of the French Rally Championship for the first time in a C2-R2 MAX. Ludovic Bogey / Geoffrey Combe finished in a well-deserved second place, under 8 seconds behind, after putting up a good fight against their main rival. A little further back, Hungarians Zoltan Bessenyey and Menyhert Krozser came home third and fourth with Tomasz Gryc from Poland rounding out the Top 5.
“The results of the weekend have been very satisfactory,” said a delighted Frédéric Bertrand, the Citroën Racing Competition Clients manager. “We’ve ended this successful season in the best possible fashion as our DS3 R3s and C2-R2 MAXs came out on top against a large very strong field. This proves that our Citroëns were both reliable and quick on the Var layout, which is generally considered to be one of the toughest on the calendar. We can now start looking to next year. We’ll announce our 2012 programme in the near future with a few innovations and the cherry on the cake – some great prizes!”
Matthieu Arzeno / Renaud Jamoul (DS3 R3): « We’re happy to finish this season on a high note as we’ve scored three victories in the DS3 R3 in the French Tarmac Rally Championship. Despite a small mechanical problem mid-race the weekend went off pretty well, and we were able to control our lead till the end.”
Cédric Robert / Matthieu Duval (DS3 R3): “Overall, it’s all been very positive. We haven’t retired in any of our eight outings and we’ve scored some good results. For us, it’s proof that the DS3 R3 has been quick and reliable and we’ve also enjoyed driving it throughout the whole season.”
Sébastien Condroyer / Céline Cavallaro (C2-R2 MAX): “This victory comes as a big surprise to us! We didn’t think we’d score such a good result in our first race in the C2-R2 MAX. I felt at home in the car and I got to grips with it straight away. We really enjoyed ourselves from start to finish and I hope we’ll have the opportunity to repeat this experience in the very near future.”
Ludovic Bogey / Geoffrey Combe (C2-R2 MAX): “The battle for victory never let up from start to finish. Sébastien Condroyer came out on top and I’d like to congratulate him. Overall, we’re very satisfied with our second place. The car was great and we didn’t have to make any additional setup changes as the ones we had suited us down to the ground. All in all, it’s been a very positive experience for us.