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15/07/2021 News

Hernandez and Melocco make history in the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy

The Alpine and Elf brands will be forever together associated with world rallying, and especially with the famous era of the “musketeers” winning the inaugural WRC crown in 1973 in the Elf-backed Alpine A110. Almost fifty years later, Alpine and Elf were reunited on the stages of the Rallye du Rouergue for the opening round of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy with the new A110 Rally. Nicolas Hernandez and Candice Melocco made it through the tricky Aveyron stages to become the first winners of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy.

Developed to enable the fastest drivers to fight at the front and help gentlemen drivers enjoy racing in a rear-wheel drive car, the Alpine A110 Rally has wasted no time in winning over drivers looking for unique thrills out on the stages. Five crews lined up at the start of the Rallye du Rouergue for the opening round of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy. The early leaders Nicolas Hernandez and Candice Melocco (Team FJ) were quickly drawn into a fight for first place with Julien Saunie and Frédéric Vauclare (Sébastien Loeb Racing). Both crews exploited the full potential of the Alpine A110 Rally’s 330 hp to trade blows throughout the race. Unfortunately, Saunier and Vauclare had to retire towards the end of the rally, leaving Hernandez and Melocco to claim victory in the first ever round of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy, also finishing an impressive eleventh overall amidst a host of four-wheel drive cars.

Co-driven by Loïc Declerck, Loïc Panagiotis consistently set times in the Top 20 overall to secure his runner-up spot in the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy. The gentlemen drivers were not to be left out at this inaugural meeting either, as Michel Bonfils and René Belleville took the final podium spot in the Trophy after an accomplished performance. Despite having had to rejoin under “new rally” rules after running into difficulties on the opening leg, Jean-Luc Roché and Cédric Mondon (Team FJ) finished the Rallye du Rouergue in fourth place. This first round of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy was highly anticipated by everyone and the Alpine A110 Rally drivers spared no effort in their attempts to master the tricky stages contested around the city of Rodez. Following a short summer break, similarly demanding roads await the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy drivers (2-4 September) on the stages of the Rallye du Mont-Blanc at Morzine.

The latest in the Trophy

Winners of the inaugural round, Nicolas Hernandez and Candice Melocco leave Rodez at the top of the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy standings, but the crew are well aware that they will have a battle on their hands in two months’ time, with their rivals clearly determined to taste the joys of victory.