Forty-three years after Jean-Pierre Manzagol's victory with the A110 on the 1978 Ronde de la Giraglia, Alpine returns to the top step of the podium in a French Rally Championship round.
With his stellar performance, Nicolas Ciamin drove his Alpine A110 Rally to the overall victory on the Rallye d’Antibes Côte d'Azur, besting the top four-wheel-drive cars on the national scene.
Alpine made its mark in round six of the season, with eight stage wins, a hat-trick on SS14 and four A110 Rallys in the top seven at the finish.
Third in the 2020 Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine with Manu Guigou, third in the 2021 Rallye Cœur de France with Cédric Robert, the Alpine A110 Rally continues its unstoppable ascent with its first overall victory in the FFSA French Tarmac Rally Championship in the Rallye d’Antibes Côte d'Azur!
After winning overall on the international stage last month on Rally Nova Gorica (Slovenia), the car designed jointly by Alpine and partner Signatech took another step forward by getting the better of the top four-wheel-drive French competitors.
This weekend, seven Alpine A110 Rallies took part in the Rallye d'Antibes Côte d'Azur, and its iconic Col de Bleine and La Couillole stages. Right from the outset, the cars badged with the A arrow excelled with Nicolas Ciamin setting the second-fastest time and Julien Saunier the third fastest. On SS2, Nicolas Ciamin got down to business posting the best time while Cédric Robert finished third ahead of several of the leading national drivers.
With three consecutive stage wins, Nicolas Ciamin moved to the sharp end of the order of the rally on SS4 before extending his lead with three more scratch times on the four afternoon timed sectors to finish the first loop with a 28.6s advantage.
Nicolas Ciamin set off with the same pace on Saturday, adding another timed sector to his tally at La Couillole to increase his lead to 40.0s before the last service. Nicolas Ciamin led a resounding Alpine hat-trick in the repeat run of La Couillole, ahead Raphaël Astier and Cédric Robert, while Julien Saunier made it four Alpine A110 Rallys in the top five.
Nicolas Ciamin and the Code Racing Development team's Alpine A110 Rally then went on for a 38.2s victory ahead of Eric Camilli's Citroën C3 Rally2 and more than a minute ahead of three-time French champion Yoann Bonato in another Citroën C3 Rally2. The second best Alpine completed the top five with Cédric Robert, followed by the A110 Rally of Raphaël Astier and Julien Saunier in the Alpine Elf Rally Trophy.
Thanks to these results, which echo those of Guy Fréquelin in the A310 V6 and Jean-Pierre Manzagol in the A110 in the late 1970s, the competitors who chose Alpine are ideally positioned in the battle for the French two-wheel-drive Rally Championship title heading to the Critérium des Cévennes (29-30 October) and the Rallye du Var (26-28 November).
Nicolas Ciamin: "I'm quite surprised to have won the overall and I didn't expect to be able to fight against the four-wheel-drive cars with the Alpine. My goal was a top-five finish, and some stage wins on Gréolières and La Couillole, whose profile truly suit the A110. This victory is a fantastic result, well beyond my expectations. I had a lot to learn, starting with the car as I had only done one day of development two years ago with Signatech. I already had a great feeling at that time, but I was also getting to know my co-driver and the Michelin tyres. There were a lot of new parameters that we had to adapt to very quickly, but we soon got into the pace and we were able to gradually build up a gap that allowed us to limit our risk-taking and manage the last loop. We had to stay focused, but the car was outstanding, and we hardly touched the setup throughout the rally. It paid off, and it's great for me as a guy from Nice to win the Antibes Rally, even more so with Alpine!"
1. Nicolas Ciamin-Maxime Martini (Alpine A110 Rally) 2h13:33.4s
2. Éric Camilli-Christopher Guieu (Citroën C3 Rally2) +38.2s
3. Yoann Bonato-Benjamin Boulloud (Citroën C3 Rally2) +1:05.5s
4. Quentin Giordano-Kévin Parent (Volkswagen Polo GTI R5) +1:19.2s
5. Cédric Robert-Matthieu Duval (Alpine A110 Rally) +2:18.5s