. One victory (Terre des Causses) and one second place (Antibes) have earned Pepe Lopez a19-point advantage ahead of the trip to Langres.
. Two newcomers to the series are poised to make their 208 #rally Cup debut at the thirdround of the 2016 series, namely South Africa's Ashley Haigh-Smith and Spaniard JoëlGuerrero Seuma.
. The organisers of the Rallye Terre de Langres Haute-Marne have introduced a highnumber of changes this year and 70 percent of the route is new compared with 2015.
IDEAL RALLYING TERRITORY...
Most of the 208 #rally Cup crews are familiar with the Rallye Terre de Langres Haute-Marnebut a big chunk of its route has changed this year. Although the stages will still be typical ofthe region, with a hard-packed base and fast, twisty roads, two-thirds of the competitivedistance will be new, and that will make it more of a level playing field for those who havelittle or no prior experience of the French #event.
PEPE LOPEZ: THE MAN TO BEAT!
After the single gravel round and single asphalt clash contested to date, Pepe Lopez (SaintelocJunior Team) has got off to a strong start thanks to a victory and a second place, plus thehighest number of stage wins on the two events. The Spaniard is keen to defend his lead in hisbid to succeed from compatriot Jose Antonio Suarez - the 208 #rally Cup's 2015 victor - whohas a programme in the 2016 FIA World #rally Championship with the #peugeot RallyAcademy. Second in the provisional standings is another Spaniard, namely Nil Solans (MavisaSport), who is another big favourite this weekend. Third overall at the moment is thecompetitive and consistent William Wagner (PH Sport) who is one place clear of Antibeswinner Andrea Carella (Power Car Team).
The top five is rounded out by Jean-Baptiste Franceschi who will be seeking revenge after hisearly retirement on the second round. Two absentees in Antibes, Jean-Paul Monnin (AFCRacing) and François-Xavier Blanc (who recently secured a brilliant seventh place overall in his208 R2 on the Terre du Diois) are two other likely front-runners in Langres, along withEmmanuel Gascou (AFC Racing).
A LONG LIST OF CHALLENGERS
CHL Sport Auto's Jérémie Toedtli and Quentin Ribaud have scored points on both rounds sofar and will out to build on their momentum.
Meanwhile, drivers like Guillaume du Mevius (PH Sport), Taisko Lario (CHL Sport Auto), Patrick Magnou (Pit Stop) and Joachim Wagemans (Triman) will be eager to provide furtherevidence of their speed with a strong result in Langres.
Last but by no means least, the competition is pleased to welcome newcomers Joël GuerreroSeuma, another Spaniard, and the 208 #rally Cup's first ever South African entry, AshleyHaigh-Smith.
Saturday, June 25
7:19am: Start of stage reconnaissance
10:24am: Regroup (20 minutes)
10:54am: Service, Espace Eponine, Langres (40 minutes)
12:22pm: SS1 - Choilley (13.690km)
1:00pm: SS2 - Vaux sous Aubigny (11.780km)
1:48pm: SS3 - Baissey (9.630km)
2:28pm: Regroup (30 minutes)
3:08pm: Service - Espace Eponine, Langres (50 minutes)
4:46pm: SS4 - Choilley (13.690km)
5:24pm: SS5 - Vaux sous Aubigny (11.780km)
6:12pm: SS6 - Baissey (9.630km)
6:52pm: Service - Espace Eponine, Langres (50 minutes)
7:52pm: Finish Leg 1 - Langres
Sunday, June 26
7:10am: Start of stage reconnaissance
9:20am: Regroup (20 minutes)
9:50am: Service - Espace Eponine, Langres (40 minutes)
10:48am: SS7 - Saint Geosmes (16.580km)
11:51am: SS8 - Thivet (12.540km)
12:36pm: Regroup - Villeneuve (30 minutes)
1:16pm: Service - Espace Eponine, Langres (50 minutes)
2:24pm: SS9 - Saint Geosmes (16.580km)
3:27pm: SS10 - Thivet (12.540km)
4:12pm: Finish - Langres
Pepe Lopez - Borja Rozada (SAINTELOC JUNIOR TEAM) – Junior
Nil Solans - Miquel Ibanez (MAVISA SPORT)
William Wagner - Antoine Paque (PH SPORT) – Junior
Andrea Carella - Enrico Bracchi (POWER CAR TEAM)
Jean-Baptiste Franceschi - Valentin Salmon – Junior
Emmanuel Gascou / Céline Chapus (AFC RACING)
Jérémie Toedtli - Alexandre Chioso (CHL SPORT AUTO) – Junior
Quentin Ribaud - Benoît Balme (CHL SPORT AUTO) – Junior
Llarena Efren - Sara Fernandez (RACESEVEN) – Junior
Jean-Paul Monnin - Franck Gilliot (AFC RACING)
Patrick Magnou - Benoît Manzo (PIT STOP)
François-Xavier Blanc / Gilles De Turckheim (AFC RACING)
Guillaume de Mevius - Lois Louka (PH SPORT) – Junior
Joachim Wagemans - Andy De Baeremaeker (TRIMAN) – Junior
Taisko Lario - Sami Ryynanen (CHL SPORT AUTO) – Junior
Aki Sahila - Rami Suorsa (CHL SPORT AUTO) – Junior
Jose Luis Pelaez Olivares - Enrique Velasco Alonso (RACESEVEN)
Olivier Ramiandrisoa - Thomas Santiago (SAINTELOC JUNIOR TEAM)
Guillaume De Ridder - François Geerlandt (PIT STOP) – Junior
Thomas Baudoin - Arnaud Cubizolles (CHAZEL TECHNOLOGIE COURSE) – Junior
Alexandre Mollard - Nicolas Eymin (PH Sport)
Antoine Rocard - Romain Garel (PH SPORT) – Junior
Brandon Maïsano - Pierre Pebeyre (FB RALLY) – Junior
Ashley Haigh-Smith - Niall Burns
Joël Guerrero Seuma / Xevi Moreno Balzquez
PROVISIONAL 208 #rally CUP STANDINGS PRIOR TO THE RALLYE TERRE DE LANGRESHAUTE-MARNE (Round 3 of 7):
1, Pepe Lopez, 41 points. 2, Nil Solans, 22. 3, William Wagner and Andrea Carella, 20. 5, Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, 15. 6, Emmanuel Gascou - 14. 7, Jérémie Toedtli, 12. 8, BrunoRiberi and Quentin Ribaud, 7. 10, Stéphane Consani, 6. 11, Efren Llarena, 2. 12, Jean-PaulMonnin and Patrick Magnou, 1.