Rallye de France : Romain Dumas and first outing for the unique Porsche 911 GT3 RS4,0l « RGT » !
Between two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, where he drives one of the official Porsche 919 Hybrid entries, Romain Dumas will take part in the Rallye de France-Alsace (October 2-5) for the third time. Following two appearances in the WRC, including a top 10 finish, the native of Alès, France will compete in the RGT class with his own team. Along with co-driver Denis Giraudet, Romain will start a new chapter in the RD Limited prepared Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l story. This unique car, developed especially for this event, will be making its debut in competition !
Romain Dumas : « The Rallye de France with the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l ? A huge moment! »
Since his beginnings in rally in 2007, Romain Dumas has developed his own squad, RD Rallye Team, over the course of several seasons. Following success in regional and national level rallies, with podiums and scratch times in the French Rally Championship, and a double victory in this year’s edition of Pikes Peak, Romain’s team is ready to take another step. Based at the Pôle Mécanique d’Alès, the team will be in charge of running a new car in the World Rally Championship : the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l.
« Taking on the Rallye de France with the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l ? It’s simply a huge moment ! » admits Romain. « The first talks of this idea go back to 2010 so it’s been a long time coming, but I wanted everything to be right. And I feel that’s the case today. The first shakedown of the car was realised a few days ago after three months of intensive and impressive work from the team. It’s a different type of preparation and different approach needed with the FIA homologation process. It’s also a different philosophy : we will have less power and more weight than usual. But it’s an incredibly exciting project ! We have been working on the Porsche 911 type 997 for four years now, and this one is clearly the most advanced. »
Until now, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4,0l – of which only 600 road-going versions were built – had never races, either on circuit or in rallying. The Rallye de France will therefore be the grand debut. The car is the fruit of hard workd and development led by RD Limited, the label created by Romain Dumas for Porsches prepared for rallying. The car was the focus of specific studies at every level : Matter brought a new roll cage, PKM Consulting provided unique shock absorbers for better handling, while Endless and Recaro also brought their experience to the table, with brakes and seats, respectively. Meanwhile, the bodywork has been reworked with new pieces developed in-house.
In addition, Porsche France was intent on bringing logistical support to help in Romain Dumas’ challenge. Marc Ouayoun, general director of Porsche France, is excited : « When Romain Dumas told me about his plans to take part in the Alsace Rallye with a Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 type 997, I didn’t hesitate for a second to offer him Porsche France’s support. Romain is one of the greatest French drivers, and the only one of his compatriots to be part of the official Porsche 919 Hybrid LM P1 team. His enthusiasm is only equaled by his passion for the Porsche brand and I’m sure he will perform well and be up to the challenge of this Rallye de France-Alsace. »
The Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 « RGT » will be outfitted with Michelin tyres. « Michelin, longtime partner with Romain Dumas, both on circuits and rallies, is proud to outfit his Porsche during this French round of the WRC. » declared Jacques Morelli, Rally Manager at Michelin Motorsport. « Michelin already has the capacity to equip « RGT » class cars with tyres that are specifically developed for that class. »
« Proud to be racing in this unique car ! »
With this new weapon, the RD Rallye Team is getting ready to take on a new challenge. For Romain Dumas, humility is still key. « Although the project is nice, we want to stay realistic and the goal is clear : we have to be there at the finish. » he confirmed. « I’m proud to be racing in this unique car! But the challenge is not easy : it’s the car’s first outing so we don’t know where we stand compared to competitors and we have a lot to learn. Everything is new. We’re also taking the step from French Rally Championship to World Rally Championship, and in this situation our experience at Pikes Peak was important even if the conditions are totally different. We owe it to ourselves to be up to the task and do well in this debut. Regardless of the driver behind the wheel, the team is showing its potential more and more : in GT, GT+, VHC and hill climbing. The RGT class follows this same vein and the Rallye de France is an important next step. And finally, it’s a special event for me on a personal level as well : I’ve waited a long time to drive a Porsche in the WRC and now I get to do so against François Delecour, who was my idol when I was a younger spectator on the stages. It will be a nice moment. »
Having already completed an initial roll out and test session at the rally circuit at the Pôle Mécanique d’Alès, Romain Dumas begins the Rallye de France starting Thursday, October 2nd, with the traditional shakedown. Eighteen timed specials will follow, running through Sunday, October 5th.