Monday, 21 February 2011

Female Rally Drivers after 1950: France in the 21st century


Charlotte Berton (left) and Charlène Gallier

Currently, France is home to many of Europe's female rally drivers. At any one time, there are multiple female crews on French rallies, seemingly more than in other European nations, and certainly more than in the UK. Charlotte Dalmasso now has her own post, as does Laure Jaussaud.

Below are profiles of some of them. 


Jessy Barrat – active in French rallies since 2009. Between then and 2013, she rallied a Renault Clio, and was a regular in the Rallye des Vins Mâcon, her local rally. In 2014, she acquired a Peugeot 206 RC, and competed a little more widely. Her best overall result that year was 39th, in the Matour Rally. Her 2015 season looked very similar, and the Matour event remained her best. She was 38th, and fifth in the F2 class. In 2016, she scored an F2 class win on the Rallye Internationale de Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise, and was 27th overall. Her car was still the Peugeot.


Karine Bertarini – competes in a Peugeot 207 in the French national rally championship, in the Amateur category. In 2016, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Rallye d’Antibes-Côte d’Azur. She was 66th overall, and seventeenth in the Amateur rankings. This was only her second rally of the year, and her fourth overall. She started in 2015, with a Citroen Saxo and a Renault Clio. Her co-driver is Emmeline Quadriga.

Delphine Brigaudeau (Libessart)  - French driver who has been rallying Peugeots in recent years. She entered many rallies in 2008 and 2009 in a 106, assisted by Caroline Potier. This car was exchanged for a 306 in 2010. Her driving career began in 2007, after starting out as a navigator. For the past three years, her performances in regional rallies have been good enough for her to qualify for the season-ending Finale of the French championship season. In 2011, she spent some time co-driving for Stephane Riehl, but she returned to the driving seat in the 306 in 2012, eager to win the Ladies' crown. However, she only seems to have entered the Le Touquet rally, in which she was 80th. In 2014, she returned to the French regional stages, in a Citroen Saxo. She entered three rallies, finishing two of them, with a best finish of 55th in the Pays de Dieppe National Rally. 

Sylvie Cancellieri - has competed in France in a Peugeot 206 kit car since at least 2007. In 2009 and 2010, her co-driver was Dominique Sereni. They were very active all over the country in the French championship during thosd two years. Sylvie has one WRC start, the 2008 Tour de Corse, but she retired with a mechanical problem. Her co-driver then was Jeanne-Dominique Cancellieri.  

Rosine Chauffour - has been competing in France since 2004, after co-driving for her father for three seasons. In 2004 and 2005, she rallied a Peugeot 106 in her local area of Limousin, and was regional champion in 2005. The 106 was upgraded to a 206 in 2006, which was initially used for circuit racing. She returned to the stages in 2007. After another car upgrade, she was local champion once more in 2009. In 2010, she continued her progress, and qualified for the Finale of the French championship in the Pays-Basque. In 2011, she seems to have switched to co-driving for Pierre Lerosier. She returned to driving in 2012, driving in the Finale des Rallyes in Gap with Pauline Boyer and winning the Ladies' title. Her car was a Peugeot 206 RC. She used the same car in 2013, in regional events again, with Emeline Massie. Her best result was 30th, in the Rallye Regional Vienne et Glane. The same driver pairing was very active again in 2014, and their best rally was the Vienne et Glane event again, in which they were 26th. Rosine featured strongly in the A8 class, with three runner-up spots, and was fifth in the French Ladies' standings. She did not fare as well in a larger Ladies class in 2015, and was tenth, but she finished all eight of her rallies that year, driving a Citroen DS3. Her best result was 23rd in the Pays Gentiane Rally, and she also won her class in the Vienne et Glane Rally, finishing 28th overall. She was seventh in the 2016 French Ladies' championship, after only entering one counting rally, the Rally of Limousin, which she crashed out of. She won her class in the Vienne et Glane event, and was 46th overall. Her best overall result was 21st, in the Cieux-Monts de Blond regional rally. She was driving the DS3.


Aline Chollet – driver and co-driver active since the mid-2000s. She began as a navigator in 2005, before taking the wheel herself in 2006 in French Regional rallies. Between 2006 and 2012, she rallied a Peugeot 106, before switching to a Renault Clio Ragnotti in 2012. Her second year in the Clio was quite successful, with a series of class wins in the France Cup. The best of these was a fifteenth place in the Rallye Régional du Frontonnais. 2015 was not quite as successful, although she still remained competitive in class in the Clio, and also tackled more National-level events. She won her class in the Monts de Blond rally, and had a best overall finish of eighteenth, in the Rallye National de la Fougère. The Mont des Blonds Rally was her best event in 2016, and she was seventeenth overall. This was one of two top-twenty finishes for her that season. For most of the year, she drove the Ragnotti Clio, although she did drive a Renault Twingo in the St Emilion national rally. Among the drivers she has sat alongside is Sophie Micheneau.

Clara Couval – rallies a Renault Clio Ragnotti in France. She normally competes in Regional events, and has been active since 2014, when she scored a class win in the Ajolais Rally. Her 2015 season was a busy one, with twelve rallies. The best of these was probably the Rallye Régional des Vallées, in which she was 18th, and second in class. This was her third top-twenty finish of the year. She also won the Ladies’ class in the Coupe de France finals, finishing 60th overall. In 2016, she was still rallying the Clio. It was another busy season, and her results continued to improve. She finished in the top twenty three times, the best of these being a twelfth place in the Vallée de l'Ognon regional rally. 

Marine Delon – driver and co-driver who competes in French national and international rallies. She has been active as a driver since 2014, usually driving either a Suzuki Swift or a Peugeot 205. Her best overall result has been a 69th place, in the Vaison-la-Romaine Rally. She was driving the 205. As a co-driver, she has been a regular in French rallies since 2010, including navigating on the Monte Carlo Rally twice, in 2015 and 2016, sitting beside Charlotte Dalmasso and Jérémy Fargier respectively. In 2016, she did some more rallies as a driver, in the 205. She finished one of her three events, the Vaison-la-Romaine regional rally.

Edith Deroy – rallies normally in the northern parts of France. In recent years, her car has been a Renault Twingo. In 2015, she competed almost every week during the rally season, with a best finish of 34th, with a class win, in the Ardennes Rally. It was one of twelve class wins she achieved that year. She began rallying seriously in 2008, after several years as an occasional co-driver. Her other cars have included a Peugeot 205 and Citroen Saxo. In 2016, she was still competing in northern France in the Twingo, with a best finish of 35th, in the Dieppe-Normandie Rally. She scored five class wins. 

Coralie Desaint Bouville – has rallied a Citroen AF GTi in France since 2008. She is a Tarmac specialist whose schedule each year takes in the Le Touquet, Marquenterre and de la Lys rallies. In 2016, she won the Coupe des Dames in the Rallye Le Touquet, and was second in class. She was 67th overall. The best result of her career came on a rare trip to the Rallye du Ternois, in 2012. She was 46th. Previously, she was active in hillclimbs, in a Mini.

Monique Ehrensperger – active since at least 2001. She has always driven a Mitsubishi Lancer, starting with a Group N Evo III and moving on to a Group A Evo V in 2006. She favours tarmac rallies. Her best season has probably been 2014, when she won class A8 in the Rallye d’Epine Mont du Chat, finishing 62nd overall. This was backed up by three class seconds. Her best overall finish was 44th, in the Ain-Jura Rally (she was fourth in class). In 2015, she managed another class win in the Mont Blanc-Morzine Rally, and was 117th overall. 2016 was affected by mechanical failures on the Lancer, and Monique also pulled out of two rallies for personal reasons. She won her class in the Bornes National Rally, and was 45th overall. 

Julie Galpin - driver and co-driver in France, in a Citroen C2. As a co-driver, she partners Olivier Bacle in the IRC, and other major events. As a driver, she competes in the French championship, where she has been active since at least 2008, when she drove a Team FJ Mitsubishi. In 2009, she was part of the Citroen Racing Trophy in the C2-R2 category, and she has stayed with the marque ever since. She and Anais Faussabry were the first all-female crew in the Rallye Le Touquet. In 2010, she took part in more French rallies with Amélie Arrivé, including the Le Touquet and St. Emilion events. In 2011, she continued to rally the C2, with a best finish of 33rd, third in class. She switched to a Fiesta for the Rallye du Var, but was only 108th. She also co-drove for Olivier Bacle in some bigger events. Her father is Jean Galpin, a regular on the French scene. In 2013, she co-drove for him after two years out, due to pregnancy. In 2014, she did some rallies in a Citroen DS3, and achieved a third in class in the Vallée du Cher National Rally. She was 41st overall.  

Danielle Gamba - rallied a Citroen Visa GTi in 2010. She came second in her region’s Ladies’ rally championship, after a series of solid, if unspectacular finishes. Among the rallies she entered were the Rallye du Chasselas, Rallye du Quercy and the Rallye des Thermes. Her co-driver was usually Alexandre Gamba, although Marina Perel stood in on occasion. Danielle and Alexandre have returned to the stages in 2011, still in the Visa, and continue to compete in their regional championship. She was still driving the Visa in 2012, as well as a Peugeot 205 GTi, entering mainly regional rallies. She rallied the Visa again in 2013, and entered the Rallye Regional des Thermes, which she did not finish. 


Claire Gotti – rallied Citroens in France between 2009 and 2014, normally in her home state of Alsace-Lorraine. Between 2009 and 2011, she used a Saxo. After a break, she returned in 2014 with a C2. Her best result seems to have been a 37th place in the Lorraine National Rally in 2011. She was second in class. Before switching to the driver’s seat, she navigated for other drivers from 2002.

Camille Henry - drove in French rallies in 2004 and 2005 in a Peugeot 206 XS. Her best result was 12th in the 2004 Rallye Montagne Noire. She was also 17th in the 2005 Rallye des Vins at Macon, driving the same car.


Pascale Jaffrennou (Pottecher) – former judo and jujitsu champion in France who took up rallying and racing in the 2000s. As a rally driver, she mostly competed in the Suzuki Rally Cup in France, driving a Swift. She first entered the series in 2007, but only really did a full calendar in 2009, when she was eleventh in the Cup. Her best event was the Rallye de Touquet – Pas de Calais, in which she was 60th overall and sixth in the Suzuki Rally Cup. Her last event seems to have been the Terres de Catalunya Rally in Spain, in 2012. Between 2014 and 2016, she did some circuit racing in the Twin Cup, an all-female championship for the Renault Twingo in France.  

Sophie Laurent – 2015 French Ladies’ Rally Champion. She always drives Peugeots, having started rallying in 2013 in a 306. Her best finish that year was 27th in the Rallye National de la Pleine, and she also scored a class win in the Rallye Vosgien. In 2014, she competed in an impressive eighteen rallies, in the 306. She achieved two more class wins, in the Pleine event and the Rallye Régional des Vallées. Early in 2015, she upgraded the 306 for a 207, and embarked on a programme of mostly national rallies, plus a run in the Tour de Corse. She won the Tour de Corse Coupe des Dames, finishing 61st overall. Due to the step up in competition, her overall finishes this year were not quite as high. She did manage a 26th place in the Pays de Montbéliard Regional Rally. Still in the 306, she did a mix of national and regional rallies in 2016. Her best finish was 28th, in the Luronne National Rally, and this was combined with a class win. 

Sophie Micheneau - has been rallying in France since 1997, first as a navigator. She began driving seriously in 2007, first in local events in the south of France, then much farther afield. From the start, she won Coupes des Dames, and was a contender in her class. Her overall finishes were midfield, although she was not immune to car trouble. In 2010, her best finish was a 24th place in the Rallye de Bonaguil, with a class win and a Coupe des Dames. Her car since 2007 has been a Citroen Saxo. She is mostly navigated by Marie Noëlle Ratier. In 2011, she drove in six regional and national rallies in France, and won her class in the Rallye National Pays Basque. In 2012, she continued to rally the Saxo, although her activities were limited after she broke her hand on the Rallye des Vins in Macon. She has also driven in the Rally Aïcha des Gazelles twice. In 2013, she did at least some French national or regional rallies in the Saxo, including the Rallye Macon des Vins.    


Tiphaine Parent – rallies a Renault 5 Turbo in Regional and National events in France. Her first rally was the Rallye National du Suran, in 2013. She did not finish. The following season, she finished six of the eight rallies she entered, and had a best finish of 65th, in the Rallye Régional Ruppéen. She continued to compete in 2015, with navigator, Charline Dichamp. Late in the season, she rallied a Renault Clio instead of the 5. Her season in 2016 looked quite similar, although she was much quicker. Her bet finish jumped up to a 38th place, in the Rivière Drugeon Regional rally, driving the Clio. Tiphaine also acts as a co-driver.

Myriam Peretti – active in French rallies since 2013. She is based in Corsica, and her first rally was the Rallye National de Corte, in a Peugeot 106. She continued to rally in Corsica throughout 2014, and was rewarded with four class wins, as well as her first top-ten finish, a third place in the Mare et Machja National Rally. In 2015, she raised her sights even higher, entering her first WRC Rally, the Tour de Corse. She was 80th overall, second in class A6 and third in the Women category. In 2016, she was strong in the National de Corte and the Vallée du Prunelli rallies, in the 106. She was seventeenth and thirteenth respectively. Her usual navigator is Elodie Masson, who has been with her from the start.

Angélique Le Roi - rallies a Peugeot 106 in asphalt rallies, in the French National series. She appears to have begun in 2013, and her first major event was the Rallye Régional de Fourmies et Avesnois, in which she was 50th overall, and fourth in class. In 2014, her best result was 44th, achieved in the Rallye Régional du Boulonnais and the Rallye National du Ternois. At the Boulannais event, she also scored a win in class A6. Despite finishing in a lower position on the Rallye Régional Routes Picardes, she managed another class win. She won Class A6 twice in French rallies in 2015, driving the 106, in the Envermeu and Picardie rallies. Her best overall result was 37th, in the Normandie Rally. The 106 was her car again for 2016, and she entered seven rallies, finishing five of them. Her navigator is Patrice Wisniewski, who is also French.

Charlotte Rongiconi - driver and co-driver, seemingly active since 2008. When driving, her car is usually an F2-spec Peugeot 205. With different co-drivers, she has entered several rallies in France during the 2009 and 2010 seasons, usually based on Corsica. She started off as a navigator to Charles Rongiconi in a Talbot Samba. They occasionally swap seats. In 2010, Charlotte also navigated for Xavier Quilici in a Peugeot 306, an arrangement which continued into 2011. She drove a Peugeot 106 in French regional rallies in 2012.  In 2013, she seems to have gone back to navigation again, with Pierre Antoine Guglielmi.

Laura Salini – Corsican driver who rallies a Peugeot 106 in French rallies. She started in 2013, in Corsican rallies, but did not finish any of her events. She had a better year in 2014, still based in Corsica, the highlight of which was a fifth place in the Rallye National Mare e Machja. She continued to compete in Corsican rallies in 2015, as well as making one journey to the mainland for the Rallye Fleurs et Parfums at Grasse. She drove a Citroen DS3 in preference to her Peugeot, but did not finish. In 2016, Laura and Myriam Peretti co-drove for one another, in the 106. Laura won her class in the Tour de Corse, and was 39th overall, in a Suzuki Swift. In the 106, she won her class in the Paese Aiaccinu, and was 31st in the Ronde Nationale de la Giraglia. 

Sabrina Sanchez - has rallied mainly in the south of France since 2002, when she was 22. Together with navigator Loriane Forgues, she is a regular Coupe des Dames winner in the rallies she enters, as well as often winning class A7. There are usually about five female crews on these events. Up to 2007, she drove a Peugeot 205, but after 2008, this has been replaced by a 206. Her best overall finish seems to be an eleventh place in the 2011 Rallye du Pays Cathare. She also scored two class wins in 2011. In 2012, she took part in five French championship events, one as co-driver to Maude Crepin. She did not have the funds to compete in 2013. 


Stephanie Valcourt – rallies a Peugeot 106 in French regional events. Her first season in major rallies seems to have been 2014. In 2015, she was very active in the France Cup, although her small Class N2 car was nowhere near fast enough to challenge for overall position. Her best result was 67th, achieved at the Côte Roannaise Rally and the Pays d’Olliergues Rally. The Matour Rally gave her her best class finish, a ninth place, although she was 89th overall. 

Lucie Vauthier - had her first season of French rallying in 2012. Her car was a Citroen C2 R2 Max. She entered three French tarmac championship rounds, with a best overall result of 67th, in the Rallye Le Touquet-Pas de Calais. She was 43rd in the French Tarmac standings. Earlier, she was 75th in the Rallye Région Limousin-Lac de Lassivière. Sadly, Lucie died following an accident in the Rally des Vins Maĉon, her third Tarmac Championship event. 

Stephanie Verne - competed in French rallies in 2009 and 2010. Her car was a Peugeot 205 and her co-driver was Audrey Minery. She also drove in regional events around Vosges in 2008 and 2009 in the same car, but with different navigators. She has qualified for the Finale of the French championship three times, in each year of competition. Her best results were Coupes des Dames, as her F2 Peugeot was not powerful enough to challenge for the major honours. She does not appear to have competed much in 2011, but her name was back on the entry lists for 2012, for the Rallye de Meuse at least. She did some regional rallies in 2013, in the 205, with a best finish of 77th in the Rallye National Vosgien. She entered the Vosgien event again in 2014, in the 205, and was 80th overall, in the National section. She also competed extensively in Regional events in France, securing three class wins and a best finish of 44th, in the Lorraine Rally.  In 2015, she won her class in the 14 Juillet Rally, in the 205, and was 74th overall. She scored another class win in the Vosgien event, and was 71st.

Fabienne Vergnes - active in French rallies since 2011, always driving a Peugeot 106. She competes on both tarmac and gravel. 2015 was probably her best year, and she spent it mostly on gravel. Her best result was a 62nd place (out of 87) in the St-Geniez-d’Olt Rally, with a class third. She was second in class in the Terre des Cardabelles Rally, but was 64th overall. In 2016, she mainly rallied on tarmac, but did not finish any of her events, due to mechanical problems.


Vanessa Verry -  has been rallying on and off since 2001. To begin with, she combined navigation in local rallies with slalom events. From 2001 on, she co-drove in local rallies with Laurent Corbineau. In 2011, she started taking stage rallying seriously, and began driving herself, in a Peugeot 106. In 2013, she achieved her first small victory: a class win in N2, and 19th overall, in the Rally National Coeur de France. In 2014, she entered the France Women Cup, driving a Renault Twingo. This class runs in French national rallies. Her best finish is second, in the Rally Le Touquet - Pas-de-Calais, and she was 72nd overall. Her best overall finish was 41st, in the Bretagne National Rally. Despite some retirements this year, she was third in the French Ladies' standings. She drove a Peugeot 208 in 2015, and won her class in the Sud De France Rally. She was 32nd overall. This was her best result. In 2016, her best result by far was a seventeenth place in the Val de Sevre Rally, driving a Renault Clio. She used a Peugeot 206 for the rest of the season. 

Allison Viano – rallied a Citroen Saxo in French regional rallies, in 2015. Her best events were the Roches Brunes and de la Croisette rallies, where she won her class. She was 44th in the Roches Brunes, and 40th in the de la Croisette Rally. Her co-driver was Mylène Icard. Prior to this, she had acted as a navigator to Alain Viano, since 2012. In 2016, she teamed up with Katia Lesser and Cecilia Choi in the Saxo. Her best finish was 24th, in the Pays de Grasse National Rally. 

(Image from http://www.opel-motorsport.com/)

1 comment:

  1. Good to see so many following in the footsteps of Michéle Mouton and many others before her :-)

    ReplyDelete