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28/11/2023 News

Godard ends Roché’s run of wins

Var, France, November 28th 2023 - This weekend’s Rallye du Var hosted not only the final round of this year’s French rally championship but also the last round of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy.

Against the superb backdrop of the Massif des Maures, competitors battled it out on the stages, reputed to be equally demanding and beautiful, especially at this time of year. Having already sealed the title last time out at the Rallye Cœur de France when claiming the fourth of a series of four consecutive wins, Pierre Roché made the perfect start here in the south of France, his Alpine A110 topping the timesheets on the opening Môle stage. He clearly intended to sign off the season in style! However, Ludovic Godard bounced back on the famous Col du Babaou test, thus initiating a fine head-to-head battle between the top two drivers in this year’s Alpine Elf Rally Trophy. Godard was leading by only 1.6s when Roché suffered an issue with his gearbox on SS5, which led to his retirement on the following stage.

Despite his most serious rival dropping out of contention, Godard continued his impressive performance, winning eight of the fifteen stages to claim his first win of the season. He ended the event more than 1m 20s ahead of Grégory Fontalba, winner of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy in 2022. He also grabbed a fine sixth place overall. Fontalba continued to push, however, managing to secure two stage wins. Meanwhile, Loic Panagiotis collected three stage wins and looked set to claim the third podium spot when lost time with an issue on the final stage, Notre Dame des Anges (35.44km), thus handing third place to Vincent Leduc. It is also worth noting the superb performance of Cédric Robert who, whilst not competing in the Trophy, managed to beat several four-wheel drive cars to secure another podium finish for the Alpine A110 (3rd).