|. The 2016 Rallye du Var has gathered a star-studded entry which includes the likes of Gilles Panizzi in an Onyx Racing by Enjolras-run 208T16. . As is frequently the case, the Rallye du Var will bring the 208 Rally Cup to an end and has attracted no fewer than 23 208R2s! . Pepe Lopez has already wrapped up the 2016 title, but the year’s other medals have yet to be decided.|
A glittering entry
As the final clash of the French Rally Championship, the Rallye du Var has a tradition of attracting outstanding fields and this year’s event is no exception since several former Peugeot Sport one-make formula contestants are down to compete in the south of France. Their numbers include the 2013 208 Rally Cup winner Kevin Abbring, along with the 2012 Volant 207 victor Jérémi Ancian and the same competition’s 2009 champion Cyril Audirac who has entered a 208T16. The list continues with Stéphane Lefebvre (2012 Volant 207 Junior and 2013 208 Rally Cup winner), while Peugeot Sport WRC stars of the Noughties Gilles Panizzi (208T16, Onyx Racing by Enjolras) and François Delecour are among the weekend’s big attractions. In addition to the cars of Gilles Panizzi and Cyril Audirac, there are 2018T16s, too, for Eric Mauffrey, Dominique Rebout, Quentin Giordano and Florian Bernardi!
Conclusion to a successful fourth season
In 2016, no fewer than 49 drivers will have taken part in the seven rounds of the 208 Rally Cup, including 24 Juniors (less than 23 years old) who have made up half the field to underpin the competition’s appeal to the champions of tomorrow. At the same time, the 208 Rally Cup continues to be an international hit since 24 of this year’s entrants were non-French drivers!
Five drivers hunting for 2016 podium honours
Although Pepe Lopez (Sainteloc Racing) made sure of the 2016 crown thanks to his victory on the recent Rallye des Cardabelles, five drivers are still in contention for the season’s second and third places. William Wagner (PH Sport), who was Lopez’s main challenger this year, has the best chance of securing the silver medal and he will be keen to add a third victory to those already claimed at the Langres and Lozère rounds. Meanwhile, Jérémie Toedtli (CHL Sport Auto) has made evident progress this season and could well end the year on a high note. Andrea Carella is another top-three hopeful and will be hoping to repeat the asphalt form he showed by winning the Rallye d’Antibes. Also still in the frame are local driver Patrick Magnou (Pit Stop) and Quentin Ribaud (CHL Sport Auto) who has scored points on every round during his 208 Rally Cup rookie year. Wagner is the only other driver to have finished every rally in the points to date.
A long list of outsiders for what promise to be a tough event
The Rallye du Var is reputed for its tricky, narrow stages and, at this time of year, bad weather frequently plays a key role. Nothing can therefore be considered as set in concrete and all 23 crews face a challenging three days. In addition to the above drivers, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, Efren Llarena (Raceseven), Joachim Wagemans (Triman) and Aki Sahila (CHL Sport Auto) can also be expected to provide another glimpse of their skills. Four drivers will be getting their first taste of the 208 Rally Cup on the French Riviera, namely Thomas Jaudel (Pit Stop), Sébastien Bédoret (Pit Stop), Nicolas Socquet (Sainteloc Racing) and Mathieu Autiero (FB Rally).