Romain Di-Fante wins the close-fought Clio Ice Trophy

Romain Di-Fante wins the close-fought Clio Ice Trophy

While his rivals shared the spoils in the season-finale, Romain Di-Fante did what it took to keep the lead in the general classification and become the first-ever Clio Ice Trophy title-winner. 

 

Having won the Clio Trophy France Asphalte and French two-wheel-drive Rally Championship with Clio Rally5 in 2021, Romain Di-Fante and Naudon Rallye Services win their third crown with Renault in the space of just a few months.


Among the contenders for the last round of the Clio Ice Trophy and the Crèdit Andorrà GSeries, all eyes were on the title protagonists: Romain Di-Fante (Naudon Rallye Services), Pierre Paul Baltolu (Andorra Location) and Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Brunet Competition). With two victories from the first three rounds of the season, Romain Di-Fante came to the decisive meeting eight points ahead of Pierre Paul Baltolu and eleven ahead of Mathieu Lannepoudenx.


Di-Fante first to strike
After setting the pace in free practice, Romain Di-Fante confirmed his speed on the 689-meters long technical track with the fastest time in qualifying, both for one-lap and the cumulated best five times used to establish the intermediate classification. This performance relegated his rivals Pierre Paul Baltolu to ten points behind and Mathieu Lannepoudenx to fifteen, but everything was still to be played for with twenty-five points up for grabs in each of the two finals held at an altitude of 2,400 meters above sea level.


Baltolu pressures the leader
Second in qualifying, Pierre Paul Baltolu started from pole position in the B Final. The driver from Corsica made a perfect start and immediately pulled away from Benoît Verlinde (Q-Grafix Racing) to claim the win with a near ten-second margin of victory. They were joined on the podium by Markel De Zabaleta (Driveland), who along with Arthur Bourion (Brunet Compétition) got past Eric Sauteur (Andorra Location) at the start. Sauteur regained fourth place ahead of Koen Verlinde (Q-Grafix Racing) when Arthur Bourion made a mistake on lap four.


The final race for Lannepoudenx, the title for Di-Fante
With Pierre Paul Baltolu's success, Romain Di-Fante had to finish in the top two of his final to win the crown. Despite his pole position, the driver from Nice was surprised by Mathieu Lannepoudenx at the start of the race. However, the new leader's mirrors were full of his rival as the Clio Trophy France Asphalte reigning champion cut the lead to less than a second before opting to secure second place and the title. Clio Ice Trophy newcomer Jérémy Prat (Andorra Location) completed the podium, two seconds adrift of the leading duo. The Frenchman was followed by Alisson Viano (Q-Grafix Racing) and Bernard Bathedou (Andorra Location), both of whom finished in the same position they started after Guillermo Millan (Driveland) spun late in the race.


Second at the finish, Romain Di-Fante became the first-ever Clio Ice Trophy title winning. Pierre Paul Baltolu ended up runner up three points behind while Mathieu Lannepoudenx was third, five points further back. Romain Di-Fante also secured the two-wheel-drive GSeries Crèdit Andorrà title before tackling his official programme with Clio Rally4 in the French Rally Championship. Pauline Dalmasso finished fifth in the general classification and first among the women to win one entry in one of the trophies dedicated to Clio Rally5 in 2022.


After this first season full of suspense and competitiveness with twenty-five competitors from all walks of motorsport, the Clio Ice Trophy is already looking forward to more spectacular races on ice in 2023!


Romain Di-Fante: "It’s great to start 2022 the way we finished 2021! I hope that this title in a new category will lead to many others with this Clio performing well on all surfaces. We even set faster times than four-wheel-drive buggies on the track this weekend. This fourth configuration of the Pas de la Casa circuit was much different from the others with more high-speed sliding, but I felt comfortable right away. I was able to set the pace in practice and managed to confirm it in qualifying. We knew that the standing start with our front-wheel-drive cars on the ice would be crucial, but Mathieu had a better start. However, we did our maths and I knew that I only had to stay behind him to secure the title. We had to be smart, and we managed to do it despite his ploys to catch the field up to us. Congratulations also to Pierre Paul for his well-deserved victory in this round. We can now focus back on our rally programme and prepare for the upcoming season with Clio Rally4!"

ROUND 4 – GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

PIERRE PAUL BALTOLU - 38 POINTS
MATHIEU LANNEPOUDENX - 36 POINTS
ROMAIN DI-FANTE - 33 POINTS
BENOIT VERLINDE - 27 POINTS
JEREMY PRAT - 22 POINTS
ÉRIC SAUTEUR - 17 POINTS
MARKEL DE ZABALETA - 16 POINTS
ALLISON VIANO - 14 POINTS
BERNARD BATHEDOU - 14 POINTS
GUILLERMO MILLAN - 11 POINTS
KOEN VERLINDE - 10 POINTS
ARTHUR BOURION - 0 POINT
FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION

ROMAIN DI-FANTE - 136 POINTS
PIERRE PAUL BALTOLU - 133 POINTS
MATHIEU LANNEPOUDENX - 128 POINTS
BENOIT VERLINDE - 83 POINTS
PAULINE DALMASSO - 44 POINTS
BRYAN DUFAS - 41 POINTS
KOEN VERLINDE - 40 POINTS
BERNARD BATHEDOU - 37 POINTS
DYLAN DUFAS - 34 POINTS
ARTHUR BOURION - 34 POINTS
NATHAEL NAUDON - 32 POINTS
MARKEL DE ZABALETA - 29 POINTS
GUILLERMO MILLAN - 28 POINTS
ÉRIC SAUTEUR - 25 POINTS
FERNANDO NAVARRETE - 23 POINTS
JEREMY PRAT - 22 POINTS
ALLISON VIANO - 22 POINTS
JORDI PALOMERAS - 15 POINTS
TOMAS MARTINEZ - 15 POINTS
PATRICK CHIAPPE - 13 POINTS
ENRIQUE HERNANDO - 12 POINTS
ALVARO LOBERA - 12 POINTS
JONATHAN ARNOULD - 8 POINTS
THIBAUD RIES - 6 POINTS
JOCHEN CLAERHOUT - 0 POINT


Related Motorsport Articles

83,407 articles