G-FORS successfully debuts in 2018 French Rallycross Championship
G-FORS enjoyed a successful debut in the 2018 French Rallycross Championship, finishing first on the podium at the first round at Abbeville Baie de Somme this weekend.
The G-FORS drivers Guerlain Chicherit and Philippe Maloigne had to adapt quickly to the newly designed circuit of Abbeville Baie de Somme whilst taming the new Clio R.S. RX.
Guerlain found his rhythm very quickly, showing increasingly competitive pace as he pushed the Clio R.S. RX against strong competitors, won Q1, Q2 and, despite a late start, managed to get ahead of Julien Febreau to take the chequered flag in Q3, showing his ability to push the limit. Throughout the weekend, Guerlain won 3 of 4 qualifiers as well as his semi-final, allowing him to start on pole in the final and push to cross the finishing line in first position, leading the pack by over 12seconds.
Philippe showed continuously improving pace as his confidence in the car and of the track increased. Despite some difficulties qualifying, Philippe held on and managed to secure a spot in the semi-finals. In his semi-final, through changing conditions due to the track having been heavily watered just prior to his race, Philippe pushed even harder and finished 2nd, which allowed him to start second in the final and finish 6th of the 8 finalists.
Guerlain Chicherit commented: « What a weekend! Our strategy from the start was to really push and show what the Clio R.S. can do. My World RX spotter David Mansfield was with me here in Abbeville and we built a great strategy, to fight and to build my confidence in the car, and from the start, were able to show great pace, which was awesome. Q1 and Q2 were really strong and despite me missing my start in Q3, I managed to recover and win the race. I started the semi-finals on pole and finished with 12 seconds ahead. The first lap of the final was about checking the track as it was wet but then the following laps, we pushed to finish with 12seconds ahead again, which really shows the Clio has great, competitive pace. I’m really happy with this French Rallycross season starter and look forward to the next World RX race in the Mégane in Mettet, Belgium, next week. »
Philippe Maloigne added: « The car is extremely powerful and it requires particular handling l that I took a little time to learn, but thanks to Guerlain I learned a lot. The circuit is not very typical to French circuits with a big dirt section and 3 turns that need to be negotiated with the handbrake – that was very new to me. So I listened carefully to the advice of Guerlain and Stéphane and analysed my performance to progress.
The weekend is a little frustrating for me in terms of results because I stalled in Q1 and I spun in Q4 in the corner that had to be caught with the handbrake. I managed to survive in the semi-finals on a very slippery track, but then I stalled at the start of the final. Still, I have some good times, and it was a very formative weekend. I know the car better now and I’m feeling good because finishing 6th in the final being 12th in qualifying is a result to be savoured. »
Team Manager Atte Varsta said: « The first French Rallycross Championship race at Abbeville was one Guerlain purely dominated. He drove fantastic races, winning almost everything over the weekend and his dominant victory in the final proves not only his talent and speed but also how good a car G-Fors has built for this year. For Philippe, the weekend was a bit more challenging but he showed increasingly competitive pace throughout. The more time Philippe spent in the car, the better he understood it and his second place in the semi-final was great proof of his potential in the Renault Clio R.S. Supercar. Philippe finished sixth in the final, so it was solid start for him and I look forward to seeing him build on this as we head to Round 2.
We are all looking forward to the next round as we know now that we have winning car on our hands. »