Pierre Ragues has been crowned FIA R-GT Coupe du Monde Champion after a mature and sensible performance in the season finale, Rally de España, in which he finished with a safe drive to second place – picking up his fourth podium finish of the year.
The points earned for second place were enough to see Pierre cement his place on top of the final classification of the season, almost one year on from his first-ever victory in the Alpine A110 Rally car at Rally Monza. In total, Pierre secured four podiums out of five events in the 2021 World Cup, with two wins, two second places and a fourth position.
The Frenchman, alongside his trusted co-driver Julien Pesenti, took a deliberately cautious approach to the final round of the season, knowing that he did not need to push for stage wins or victory to secure the title. Even so, the event marked his first-ever participation in Rally de España, so Pierre couldn’t take anything too easy.
The 17-stage rally and its challenging asphalt stages demanded full focus and utmost concentration, but Pierre was fixed on his objective all weekend, sacrificing outright performance for care and caution. There were no fresh tyre pushes or reckless manoeuvres, just getting the car safely to the end of the event.
The Alpine A110 Rally crew, with support from Racing Services, had an early scare with a puncture on Friday’s second stage – La Granadella – losing them significant time. Despite picking up a one-minute penalty, the Frenchmen regrouped quickly and pushed on through the remaining stages of the day.
They settled into a comfortable rhythm, consistently setting stage times that solidified their second place in the R-GT classification. At the end of Friday’s 112km of stages, which covered a repeat loop of Vilaplana, La Granadella and Riba-roja, the crew were able to reflect on their day.
Starting Saturday’s seven-stage itinerary, the mission was clear: stay out of trouble and get safely to the end. It was a strategy that paid dividends, as they completed Savallà, Querol-les Pobles and El Montmell without any trouble. A final evening run through the Salou super special allowed Pierre and Julien to show off the Alpine A110 Rally in front a sea of Spanish spectators.
Sunday’s final four stages ran without trouble, despite the onset of a rain shower just in time for the Power Stage which left the final 3kms of the rally in damp conditions. Pierre made it through to confirm the title – the first for Alpine in rallying since 1973.
As an ambassador not only for Alpine, but also for tyre supplier Michelin, Pierre’s performances this season have allowed him to add another manufacturer-backed title to his impressive CV, having also claimed a title for Alpine in the European Le Mans Series in 2013.
Throughout the 2021 R-GT Coupe du Monde season, Pierre has been supported by a dedicated team of partners including Racing Services, Michelin, YACCO, First, Alpine MSA Deauville and Sparco. Together, they have celebrated victories in Rally di Roma Capitale and Ypres Rally Belgium, while showcasing Pierre’s rally credentials in several high-profile WRC events.
Pierre said: “Words cannot express what a special feeling this is to win the R-GT Coupe du Monde title during a WRC weekend. I am incredibly proud to be representing Alpine and Michelin in rallying, and to be an ambassador for two such iconic brands. This is a super important and valuable title for all of us, and one that I proudly add to the ELMS title I won with Alpine in 2013. It was a stressful rally because we knew we just had to just keep the car on the road, but this was my first time at Rally de España, so it was also a learning curve. We didn’t want to take any risks but that’s easier said than done at such a high level of competition. The car, of course, was perfect – it gives me the confidence I need to deliver. I had wonderful support again from Julien, who I can share this result with, and excellent colleagues at Racing Services. From my first victory with the Alpine A110 Rally in Monza late last year, and now a complete season in R-GT, it has been a dream come true. We have competed in some legendary events, as part of the WRC, and taken away two victories this year at Ypres and Rome. I share this result also with my incredible partners Racing Services, Michelin, YACCO, First, Alpine MSA Deauville and Sparco. This is a day I will treasure.”
R-GT Coupe du Monde – Final classification after five rounds
- P. Ragues, 98 points
- M. Guigou, 93 points
- P. Baffoun 64 points