Christopher Touvron, Michelin Rallye Tour 2023 2-Wheel Drive winner: “Have 300% fun”

The Vendéen will benefit from his endowment, namely a rally of the French Championship at the wheel of a Clio Rally4, during the Vosges Grand Est, on June 14-16.

Published on 21/05/2024 à 12:26

Anne Tscheiller

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Christopher Touvron, Michelin Rallye Tour 2023 2-Wheel Drive winner: “Have 300% fun”

© Grégory Lenormand / DPPI

Christopher, can you introduce yourself in a few words?

I am a landscaper, I am 32 years old and live in Les Sables-d'Olonne (Vendée). I am licensed at the ASA Circuit de Mérignac.

Does your passion for motorsport go back to childhood?

Yes, it comes from my father who was never able to ride when he was young. He took us to see rallies, we followed drivers like Thierry Landais for example. After seeing him, we hit it off and became friends.

It was alongside him that you started as a co-pilot…

Yes, at the age of 16-17, I had the opportunity to ride with him. I was able to serve 5-6 years as a co-pilot (2e place at rally regional of Olonnes in 2012. Editor’s note). Then I decided to get a Twingo R2 and get behind the wheel. In my eyes, the Twingo was the evolution of the Clio Ragnotti that I knew well as a co-driver.

A car that you built yourself! However, we are far from your profession.

Yes, but when you surround yourself well, with mechanic friends, everything goes well.

From your first rally, in 2015, you climbed onto the podium in your class!

It was at the Coteaux du Layon, we finished 2e of the class, but above all 25e scratching. Finishing in the Top 30 was exceptional for us. We had a great weekend, in the same category as our friend Sylvain Alanore who won the class.

You are also participating in the Coupe de France Final, in Samer, for your first year of competition…

I qualified for my first final as the best young person in the committee. It was an experience, in the North, I wondered what I was doing there. (Laughs) But that’s part of the discovery, of the learning. I accumulated in this final, all the stupid things I didn't do during the year (puncture, straight on), stayed stuck in a field, the spectators helped us get out of this mess.

Short season in 2016, but you achieve your first class victory.

Yes, in Val de Sèvre, but there was no more competition than that…

The following year, you won six times in your class, including on a national rally!

We bought a new Twingo R2 with all the upgrades, which allowed us to obtain these results.

A car with which you participated in the 2018 final in Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire).

We had a good season. But in the Prologue of the Final, we hit a stone and broke a transmission. We went back to service to repair, but we found ourselves at the bottom of the rankings. We were therefore not able to show what we had managed to do during the season (6e of class. Editor’s note).

In 2020, you opt for a Clio R3T. For what ?

At the end of 2019, we came out quite strong, but before that we had already decided to change cars. In 2020 and 2021, with the Covid period, we weren't able to drive too much, even though it was a fairly complicated car to adjust. We had to do everything on it, we took everything from A to Z.

In 2021, you are participating in your first round of the French Rally Championship. At the Heart of France, is this the closest event for you?

Yes, but we went out on the second day. We tried our luck again in 2022, but we also left on the second day…

In 2022, you also decide to take the direction of national rallies.

We changed car preparers and gained experience. Which allowed us to engage in such a program of national rallies. I love discovering new events, both to see new stages, new terrain, and to face new competitors. I love riding somewhere other than home.

In 2023, you are embarking on the Michelin Rallye Tour. For what ?

At the end of the 2022 season, Sylvain Mahier spoke to me about this challenge. He told me " Get involved, you will see, there are great prizes to be won ».

How did your season go?

Alright. The year was very busy, since we participated in fourteen rallies from March until November. Basically, we aimed to qualify for the Final (Ambert. Editor's note), unfortunately it didn't happen, because we missed a start in the regional committee to validate the qualification.

So you set out with the aim of aiming for victory at the Michelin Rallye Tour in the 2-Wheel Drive category?

Yes, we looked at the rankings and there were 3 of use. It was playable, the main competitors were Sylvain Mahier and Frédéric Roussel. We went to the Autumn Rally, in La Rochelle, to increase our chances of winning. But we burn an entry joker. We then took part in the Indre rally where we won the class and took 2e group place. We pocketed the maximum number of points. As we were both entered in the same rally, with Frédéric Roussel, we had a direct confrontation. But he landed and lost 4 or 5 minutes. We passed him in terms of points. There were three rounds remaining in the Michelin Rallye Tour in Corsica, in Reunion and near Perpignan. These events were too far away for us to consider participating. Sylvain (Mahier) stopped after the Cœur de France because he had a major service to do on his car. But we didn't know if Frédéric Roussel was going to do one last.

In the end, he didn't do it and you are the big winner of this match. What did you feel ?

It's great to have won, we didn't expect it. It is the accomplishment of a very good season, of a whole year of work. It is also a thank you for my partners and my family who follow us, my companion and co-pilot (Ophelia Chaigne. Editor’s note) who follows me 300% in all my projects. We are very happy with the prize offered to the winner, a round of the French Championship at the wheel of a Rally4.

Your choice fell on the Vosges Grand Est, why?

We inquired and this is the rally that we were recommended. I trusted the pilots in my region who have already done it. I didn't want to be lost on roads that were too different from home on a French Championship rally to discover. The goal is to be able to take full advantage of this reward. I don't set a goal for myself other than to enjoy 300%. But I would still like to have a minimum of performance and do some nice times... It's a hell of a gift, one that you don't receive every day. You have to take full advantage of it.

Why not choose the Cœur de France (September 27-29) which you already know?

Because I want to do it with my car. We did it in 2023 too and this time we finished it! We won the class there and finished in the Top 30. We therefore want to do it again in 2024, as well as the Rouergue rally (July 4-6). In 2024, we had a not too busy start to the season (at Jean-Pierre Champeau and class victory at Cieux Monts de Blond. Editor’s note) and at Saint-Émilion organized by our ASA (3e of class. Editor's note) in mid-May, to then focus on these great events.

How are you preparing for the Vosges Grand Est meeting?

We rented the Clio Rally4 which we will have to participate in the Vins Mâcon (June 7-9) with the aim of discovering the car. I think we won't be too lost, it shouldn't revolutionize the Clio to go from the R3T to the Rally4. I see it more as an evolution of our current Clio. I don't expect a disproportionate change like, for example, Michel Bourgeois (winner of the Michelin Rallye Tour in 4WD, see AH n°2454) who went from his Mitsubishi Lancer to the C3 Rally2.

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