Rally ace Pierre Ragues has claimed a podium finish in this weekend’s Rally Nova Gorica, the fourth and penultimate round of the 2021 R-GT Coupe du Monde, to keep hold of the lead in the title chase with one rally remaining.
The Frenchman, alongside co-driver Julien Pesenti, was the second highest-placed R-GT car in the 13-stage rally, continuing his impressive run of results in the category.
The opening day of the rally saw a repeat of three stages – Kromberk (4.65km), Lig (22.83km) and Morsko (10.30km) – followed by the short 3.02km Nova Gorica test. Pierre enioyed a trouble-free Friday in his Michelin-equipped Alpine A110 Rally to end the day in fourth overall.
65km of special stages followed on Saturday, the rally’s final day, with three stages – Banišice (10.62km), Ravnica (4.80km) and Renče (17.15km) – each run twice.
Despite dropping a position on the opening stage of the day, Pierre rebounded to claim a trio of second-fastest times that saw him gradually make his way up the order. He initially moved back up to fourth and then – with a spirited run on SS12 – advanced to third place to secure his third consecutive podium of the season, following consecutive R-GT wins in Rome and Ypres.
The results see Pierre hold a reduced lead in the R-GT classification. The final round of the season will take place in Spain next month as part of the FIA World Rally Championship event in Catalunya, with all still the play for.
Pierre said: “We had a solid start to the event as we found our rhythm inside the Alpine A110 Rally car, with the Michelin tyres, and tried our best to stay focused. We were able to perform within our limits, without running any risks and with a deliberately steady approach. Today, we could find more speed and set times that allowed us to move up a few positions into the podium spots and to finish as the second R-GT car behind Guigou. Congratulations to him on a great performance. My thanks, as always to Julien in the co-driver seat and to my partners Racing Services, Michelin, YACCO, First, Alpine MSA Deauville and Sparco. We now look ahead to Spain, the final round of the 2021 Coupe du Monde and part of the WRC weekend. It’s set to be another exciting rally, as we seek to defend our current lead for the title.”
- Guigou/Dunand (R-GT) 1:28:40.3
- Turk/Ošlai (R5) +55.6
- Ragues/Pesenti (R-GT) +1:32.1
- Gvarmati/Kocsis (N4) +3:46.4
- Baffoun/Blanc (R-GT) +4:21.2
- Grossi/Berlot (D2) +4:34.5
- Kiss/Kiss (R5) +4:40.3
- Matics/Maricsek (R4) +5:00.9
- Medved/Šaveli (D2) +5:14.5
- Kössler/Kalinke (R4) +5:17.1
Coupe du Monde – Classification after four rounds
1. P. Ragues, 80 points
2. M. Guigou, 68 points
3. P. Baffoun 49 points