The young French chargers are fighting at the front!
Yohan Rossel & Benoît Fulcrand © Agence S Presse

The young French chargers are fighting at the front!

30/09/2016

The French FFSA Rally Team had a hectic first day on the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse. The young chargers met with diverse fortunes in the 157-kilometre first leg.

For some of the four members of the French FFSA Rally Team, the Che Guevara Energy Drink Tour de Corse 2016 was their maiden outing on the Île de Beauté. For them all, it was a testing adventure for men and machines alike. The first leg with its 157,68 timed kilometres, which probably seemed a lot more on the twisty roads, gave an inkling of the three challenging days that await Pierre-Louis Loubet, Sylvain Michel, Laurent Pellier and Yohan Rossel who enjoyed mixed fortunes in the first part of the rally.

Loubet and his co-driver Vincent Landais were stopped in SS2 at the 13th kilometre mark by a leak in the steering system. Michel and Jérôme Degout also suffered a mechanical problem with the fuel pump and they had to stop on the liaison section between SS1 and 2. Rossel and Benoît Fulcrand gave the French colours a great boost as they took the lead in the Junior World Rally Championship, while Pellier and Benoît Neyret-Gigot were only four seconds behind in second place!

“What Yohan and Laurent have done today is unbelievable! They finished ahead of more experienced drivers who have taken part in the whole season in the Junior Championship. They’re both really amazing as they managed to control their speed in the very long stages and they’ve followed the instructions we gave them to the letter. Pierre-Louis and Sylvain only had one stage to show their skills and they set a cautious pace. But I’m happy with what they did.  Pierre-Louis was in front of Gilbert and behind Bonato; and there was more to come from Sylvain. It’s a pity to have to retire because of the failure of tiny parts. The aim is to get them back in the rally tomorrow and set good times in a leg that’s going to be very difficult with even bumpier and dirtier stages,” explained Nicolas Bernardi, French FFSA Rally Team manager.

“Obviously I’m disappointed as if there was one place where we wanted to avoid this kind of setback, it was here. Just one special and then we had to give up. It’s very frustrating. This being said, we’re restarting in Rally 2 and that will help us gain experience on tarmac. I was pretty relaxed when we stopped and I hope to continue in the same frame of mind tomorrow,” explained Pierre-Louis Loubet, member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team.

“It’s a big disappointment as we were here to put on a good show and the first stage went off well. The time we set was good, especially as it was our comeback to the world championship on a stage of around 50 km. But that’s the way it goes in motor sport. We’re champing at the bit to restart tomorrow in Rally 2. We’re in good shape physically speaking. All we’ve got to do is a little more work to improve the car’s handling,” said Sylvain Michel, member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team.

“We were a bit apprehensive about making our debut in the world championship and we set immediately the quickest time! In SS2 it was a bit trickier as the other teams knew it from last year and we didn’t want to make any mistakes. The rest of the rally’s new so it’s going to be a great scrap. I’m very satisfied and we’re going to continue at the same pace as it suits us down to the ground,” smiled Laurent Pellier, member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team.

“It’s fantastic. I’ve got an even better feeling than in the Shakedown. The automatic reactions have come back. In SS2, the longest stage, I didn’t take any risks and in the shorter one I had a really good drive. Frankly, I’m as happy for myself as for Laurent as we’re proving that the level in France is really high,” said Yohan Rossel, a member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team.

Pierre-Louis Loubet: Born 18th February 1997 – Lives in Porto-Vecchio (Corse du Sud) – Champion of the Corsican karting league (Minime 2008 & Cadet 2009) – Debut in WRC3 in 2015 – Entered in the WRC2 in 2016 – Member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team

Sylvain Michel: Born 27th October 1991 – Lives in La Bâthie (Savoie) – Debut in regional rallies in 2011 – Debut in the French Rally Championship in 2013 – French Rally Champion in 2016 – Member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team

Laurint Pellier: Born 17th April 1995 – Lives in Vougy (Haute-Savoie) – Winner of the Défi Kart Jeunes FFSA in 2011 – Took part in the French F4 Championship in 2012 – Debut in the French Rally Championship in 2013 – French Junior Rally Champion in 2015 – Espoir Échappement 2015 – Member of the 2016 FFSA French Rally Team

Yohan Rossel: Born 13th February 1995 – Lives in Saint-Jean-du-Gard (Gard) – Winner of the Rallye Jeunes FFSA 2013/2014 – Member of the Team Rallye Jeunes FFSA 2014 – French Junior Rally Champion in 2014 – Leader of the 2016 Citroën Racing Trophy – Member of the 2015-2016 FFSA French Rally Team

Several great names in national and international motor sport including Sébastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Nicolas Bernardi have been part of the FFSA French Rally Team created in 1998. The FFSA French Rally Team consists of Pierre-Louis Loubet, Sylvain Michel, Laurent Pellier and Yohan Rossel.

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