Already a two-time winner before the summer break, Pierre Roché scores his third consecutive victory in as many starts this year.
Victorious in his breathtaking duel with Ludovic Godard on Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, the Team FJ driver also won among the Challengers to extend his lead in the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy.
The Alpine A110 Rally also monopolised the French Two-Wheel Drive Rally Championship podium in an intense battle between Quentin Gilbert, Raphaël Astier and Cédric Robert.
The Alpine Elf Rally Trophy opened the second half of its season in Morzine with 12 crews entered, six of whom could leave the Alps with the lead in the general classification.
As in Antibes and Rouergue, Ludovic Godard jumped into the lead, but Pierre Roché put the hammer down to reclaim first place on the next stage. Despite a 4.4s advantage, Pierre Roché suffered from his rival's attack after the first service park stop, as Ludovic Godard scored four consecutive best times to retake the lead by 4.9s.
The first real difference between the two drivers came in the longest timed sector of the day and one of the deciding stages of the rally. In the 22.08 km night section between Morzine and Montriond Le Lac, Pierre Roché drove superbly on the Joux Verte roads to relegate his rival to 14.7s. Behind him, Vincent Leduc waited until the end of the day to get the better of Grégory Fontalba under the watchful eye of Jean-François Mourgues.
While Pierre Roché started the final leg in command, the leader saw Ludovic Godard repeat his grand slam on the four-stage loop as on Friday afternoon. Monopolising the stage wins from SS8 to SS11, the PH Sport driver came within 5.6s of his rival before the two final timed sectors, totalling almost 50 kilometres of action.
Despite the pressure from his rival, Pierre Roché kept his cool and claimed two more fastest times in Praz de Lys Sommand and Samoëns - Morzine to seal his third consecutive win by a margin of 20.5s over Ludovic Godard. Grégory Fontalba completed a podium made up entirely of competitors from the Challengers category after Vincent Leduc retired on SS11.
Fourth-placed finisher Jean-François Mourgues won the Gentlemen category ahead of Jérémy Crétien and Loïc Panagiotis. Trophy newcomer Cyrille Traglia was seventh, followed by Éric Royère and Éric Giannini. Fabrice Bect restarted on Saturday after a mechanical issue cut short his Friday on the opening special stage to claim the last point on offer after Alain Marechau retired on the final timed sector.
With three wins in as many starts, Pierre Roché has extended his lead in the general classification to 13 points over the chasing pack led by Jean-François Mourgues. The Team FJ leader could seal the title at the next round in Rallye Cœur de France (September 29-October 1).
Meanwhile, the Alpine A110 Rallys driven by Quentin Gilbert, Raphaël Astier and Cédric Robert put on an exceptional show, in their three-way battle for victory in the French Two-Wheel Drive Rally Championship. Quentin Gilbert set an impressive second fastest overall time in Praz de Lys and went on to finish sixth overall, among some of the best Rally2 competitors in France.
1. Pierre Roché – Martine Roché 1h49:51.0s
2. Ludovic Godard – Matthieu Bole-Richard +20.5s
3. Grégory Fontalba – Stéphan Hermet +2:24.0s
4. Jean-François Mourgues – Michel Roissard +2:45.0s
5. Jérémy Crétien – Xavier Rouchouze +3:13.8s
6. Loïc Panagiotis – Caroline Goddi +3:27.9s
7. Cyrille Traglia – Jean-Pierre Traglia +5:11.1s
8. Éric Royère – Gilbert Dini +6:08.4s
9. Éric Giannini – Alexandre Denuzière +7:21.6s
10. Fabrice Bect – Arnaud Michal +1h09:41.5s
Ret. Alain Marechau – Robin Marechau
Ret. Vincent Leduc – Caroline Puel
1. Pierre Roché 60 points
2. Jean-François Mourgues 47 points
3. Ludovic Godard 42 points
4. Vincent Leduc 35 points
5. Jérémy Crétien 30 points
6. Fabrice Bect 29 points
7. Grégory Fontalba 20 points
8. Éric Royère 19 points
9. Bertrand Fassio 8 points
10. Loïc Panagiotis 8 points
11. Éric Giannini 8 points
12. David Ferraro 6 points
13. Romain Haut-Labourdette 4 points
14. Cyrille Traglia 4 points
15. Philippe Baffoun 3 points
16. Élodie Gines 1 point
17. Romuald Lamboley & Alain Marechau 0 point