Le Rallye du Touquet was held from March 15-17, as part of the first round of Championnat de France des Rallyes 2018 (French Rally Championship)
Established in 1959 and making its debut in the French championship in 1993, this round is considered difficult and complete by its special stages diversity, poor grip conditions with lots of gravel and mud brought on the asphalt after the passage of the cars and its changeable weather conditions.
Big names of the sport won there, among others, the Panizzi brothers (Peugeot 306 Maxi) in 1996. Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia won the Coupe Peugeot 206 at le Touquet, also taking the round victory at the same time in 2007.
Le Rallye du Touquet 2018 was composed of sixteen special stages, more precisely, 4 special stages completed two times on a same day (Friday and Saturday), the usual shakedown took place on Thursday. The weekend weather has been very changeable, Friday sky has been mixed but left enough room for some bright intervals while the freezing cold has fallen upon Saturday.
This weekend welcomed the Championnat de France des Rallyes but also the Championnat de France des Rallyes Junior (French Juniour Rally Championship), along with the Clio R3T Trophy France. There were also the Championnat de France VHC (historic rally car championship), and the Trophée Michelin, component of the French championship. Let’s just say that the show was not lacking !
Through the whole weekend, at the top of the time sheet, the battle was raging between the R5s (WRC 2 cars) just behind Stéphane Lefebvre in his Citroën DS3 WRC, one of the two WRC cars present in this round (Éric Brunson with his Ford Fiesta RS WRC gave up because of a big loss of time due to a puncture). The official Citroën driver Lefebvre and his co-driver Gabin Moreau, inviting themselves to the party as a warm-up before Le Tour de Corse that takes place in April, have won this rally (first victory in the Championnat de France des Rallyes) ahead of Bryan Bouffier (Hyundai i20 R5) (who now leads the Championship), Yoann Bonato (Citroën DS3 R5) and Thibault Habouzit (Škoda Fabia R5).
Behind, Pierre Roché won the Trophée Michelin in the R5 category and Patrick Rouillard and his Porsche 997 GT3 CUP arrived at the top of the GT+ classification. Finally, Florian Bernardi was victorious in the Clio R3T Trophy France and Adrien Fourmaux in the junior championship. Olivier Ducrocq is the first of the regional drivers and Laurent Bayard (Porsche 911) wins in the historic cars class.