Rallye de France-Alsace : First top 10 WRC finish for Romain Dumas !
For the second time, Romain Dumas participated in a round of th World Rally Championship, the Rallye de France-Alsace. Behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC prepared by M-Sport and entered by his own team – the Romain Dumas Rallye Team – the Alès, France native became the first 24 Hours of Le Mans to score a point in WRC ! With Denis Giraudet (his usual co-driver Matthieu Baumel previously detained), Romain finished the rally in 10th position to score one point at the end of an event marked by particularly trying weather conditions. A never before seen performance from an endurance racing driver.
A few days after winning the Rallye des Camisards in his Porsche 996 GT3 RS, the same car with which he made his debut in the discipline in 2007, Romain Dumas discovered the Ford Fiesta RS WRC. This just a year after making his start on the World Rally Championship scene with a Mini John Cooper Works WRC. The goal was clear: finish better than before. After the shakedown and « Power Stage » on Thursday, the official Porsche driver then set off to take on the special stages. « I immediately had a good feeling with the car, but I still needed to get comfortable and take it step by step » he admits. « I started off delicately because the first objective was to finish the rally. Sometimes you have to be patient and not try too hard. As the rally progressed, my confidence got better and I attacked more and more, especially starting on Saturday when I started catching competitors whom I had fixed as targets for myself. »
As conditions got worse, with the rain’s arrival, Romain Dumas finished the third day on a high note, reducing his overall gap to the top WRC drivers. On Sunday morning, he had a convincing ninth best time on the first special stage of the day, one of the most difficult. During this last day, Romain reached the top 10 in the general classification – his eventual finishing position for the 2013 Rallye de France-Alsace. « To finish in the top 10 was my realistic goal, so you can say it was mission accomplished for us » said Romain. « As always, I would have liked to have done better, but looking back, it was an enriching experience for me. The weather made the rally very difficult but that made it even more interesting for me. I faced conditions that I wasn’t used to seeing. It was not easy at times, and I had a couple of scary moments, but it was all good ! And I must say that ahead of me there was a fantastic battle for the win, with drivers at an incredible level. It was a great moment in sport. Bravo to Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia on their victory and championship title after a superb season. »
Before heading back to circuits, notably with a participation in the Petit Le Mans later this month, Romain Dumas is equally satisfied with his own team’s performance, based at the Pôle Mécanique in Alès. « It was Romain Dumas Rallye Team’s first time in World Rally and the guys did a perfect job, including my parents helping out. To score my first point in WRC is a great reward for everyone who has supported me, including my partners. I had a great time and I reached my goals. »