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PH Sport and Thibault Durbec, a winning combination!

PH Sport and Thibault Durbec, a winning combination!

Triumphant in the opening round of the French Asphalt Rally Championship with Stéphane Lefebvre and Gabin Moreau, PH Sport repeats in the Gravel Championship with the victory for the DS3 WRC of Thibault Durbec and Jacques-Julien Renucci on the Terre de Causses Rally, rewarding years of loyalty and shared work.

Having been around rally since he was a child, Thibault Durbec has steadily moved his way up the racing ladder between his debut in the French Championship in 2013 and his maiden win on the national scene.

“I am as passionate as ever, but I wanted to establish a stable professional situation before getting involved’’, said the 24-year old during his first start. “This has allowed me to get the right people around me and build my programme with Éric Fabre, who has been by my side since the beginning.“

“The Touquet Rally reserved a cold greeting for his debut. “France was hit by a snow storm”, he recalls. “My plane was cancelled, so I drove across country only to be welcomed by snowdrifts. Up until then, I thought that all rallies were like the ones I had been to. Antibes, Sainte-Baume and the Durance…So it was quite epic to come across black ice on the asphalt and intersections.”

Following his learning year on asphalt, Thibault Durbec moved to gravel and had a decisive meeting. “PH Sport was set up next to us on the rally. Éric Fabre drove for them and he introduced me to Bernard Piallat to talk about the Citroën Racing Trophy. Bernard perfectly embodies his company. He told us that there were not many spots, but he wanted to work with us. At the end of the year, we got a R3 DS3 for the Vaucluse Rally and we won the two-wheel drive category, which was the perfect result to celebrate the debut of this alliance!”

In 2018, the collaboration begins its fourth campaign and both parties are still on the same page. “I run car dealerships, which is a rather straightforward industry”, explains Thibault Durbec. “I like the discipline and employees who know what they are doing. And this is how they do things at PH Sport.”

Everything is done on time, no detail is overlooked and the personnel are highly-competent. There is the team leader, Bernard, but everyone has their role: Kevin, Corentin, and so many others! In all respects, that’s the best thing. My co-driver, Jacques-Julien is a stabilizing factor. This is a great environment for improving, to become more consistent, and make few errors. While I am not the most talented driver, I have gradually improved to the point of this win in my third Terre de Causses Rally.”

“We were very well prepared with a warm-up rally and a good test session with Christophe, our engineer”, continues Thibault. “I felt good behind the wheel and just had to apply myself. We were first car in the stages from the start to the finish against some serious competitors who attacked hard. Just until the final special stage, we hadn’t thought about the win, but this victory was not by accident. It was built entirely between PH Sport, Jacques-Julien, Eric and I. It was also the perfect occasion to join the list of drivers that have won with Yacco –my title sponsor- on board and a lot of exposure for my new Roure Compétition livery, which is the racing parts store that I will open in September!”

Now that Thibault Durbec is a winner in the French Gravel Rally Championship, will he be raising his objectives? “The season is very long”, cautions the Frenchman. “This win is gratifying after all the work that has already been done, but it is always harder to back it up. We will continue to work so that or future success will be even greater…If there will be others, because nothing is ever guaranteed in this sport!”



A rapid adaption to off-road rallies

A rapid adaption to off-road rallies

PH Sport has already taken part in three Off-Road rallies in 2018 – the Dakar, the Dubai Baja and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge – with Khalid Al-Qassimi (3008 DKR) and Harry Hunt (2008 DKR). A look back at how the team has adapted to this branch of motor sport.

Since PH Sport made its debut in this branch of motor sport in 2016, the team has already made a place for itself in the bivouacs. Its second outing in the Dakar resulted in sixth place for Khalid Al-Qassimi and Xavier Panseri. The crew in the Abu Dhabi Racing Peugeot 3008 DKR MAXI put on one of the stand-out performances in the event.

“We received a lot of messages of congratulations after the finish,” said a delighted Bernard Piallat, the PH Sport manager. “The results of these two weeks are very positive. Like all the entrants we ran into a few problems, but they were not down to the quality of our work. I’m also very satisfied with the ambience that reigned within the team. The solidarity of the little group of engineers and technicians we created meant that we were able to string together the stages one after another in a calm, relaxed state of mind. Even the stressful moments ended up being transformed into good memories as we’re proud of what we achieved to overcome the challenges we had to cope with.”

Ph Sport is a team specialising in rallies and it has acquired new specific knowhow in this branch of the sport. “Certain aspects are easier than in the WRC. For example, we have a lot more time to work,” Piallat continued. “On the other hand, you have to be even more vigilant than in traditional rallies as the slightest weakness can have disastrous consequences in a 1000-km stage. In addition we raced in harsh territories. You have to foresee everything beforehand. The preparatory work really is the key to success in off-road rallies.”

Seats still available

At present, the next stage in PH Sport’s programme is the Rally Kazakhstan (27 May – 2 June) in which Harry Hunt will drive a Peugeot 3008 DKR. The Briton will also race in the Silk Way (15-29 June) and the 2019 Dakar in a 3008 DKR MAXI.

PH Sport has other seats available for one or more races: “Over the last two years we’ve invested a lot of time and energy in developing our knowhow in rally-raids. The 2008 and 3008 DKRs are extraordinary cars and we have the necessary experience to make the most of their potential. In testing or in races we’ve run numerous drivers with varied profiles and we’ve done a huge amount of work to make the cars good all-rounders and easy to get to grips with. At the same time we make a point of providing top-quality services so we’re not going to enter more than three cars in the 2019 Dakar.”

The Citroën C3 R5 to make its debut in the Tour de Corse!

The Citroën C3 R5 to make its debut in the Tour de Corse!

Just a few days before its homologation and its competition debut, the Citroën C3 R5 is the focus of attention as it is the main novelty of the 2018 season. From the Tour de Corse onwards, PH Sport will run Stéphane Lefebvre’s car as part of the Citroën Racing works programme in WRC2. Other C3 R5s will then be available for rent to privateer drivers who want to race in the latest car from the French make.

PH Sport is very proud of the fact that Citroën Racing has put their trust in it to run their works programme in WRC2. In 2013, the Langres-based team helped Robert Kubica to win the title and it will try to achieve the same result with Stéphane Lefebvre. The season will kick off at the Tour de Corse (5-8 April). Simone Tempestini will also have a C3 R5 for three rallies in WRC2 as a reward for his results in a DS 3 R5 in 2017.

In parallel to running the Citroën Racing programme PH Sport is also renting out three more C3 R5s. This quick, versatile car that’s as much at home on tarmac as it is on gravel is eligible for a raft of national and international championships (WRC2, ERC, MERC etc.).

Bernard Piallat, PH Sport manager: “We’re delighted to have been chosen to run the Citroën Racing works programme. It’s the continuation of a long on-going collaboration and we hope that this season will be crowned with new victories. It’s also a great pleasure to work with Stéphane Lefebvre again with whom we won the Junior WRC and the WRC3 in 2014. The potential of the C3 R5 looks very promising and we’ll do our utmost to contribute to its success. Several clients have already shown interest in renting our cars. The first is Benoit Vaillant who will race in the French Championship’s second division.”

317: the winning number!

317: the winning number!

If you visit us, you will be able to admire in our showroom a DS 3 WRC with a very special layout, created for Sébastien Loeb and Daniel Elena on the occasion of the Rallye de France – Alsace 2013. This car, whose chassis carries serial number 317 is nothing less than the most successful in the history of the World Rally Championship!

This chassis was built for the start of the 2012 season. Devoted to Sébastien Loeb, it won all the races of this inaugural season: Monte-Carlo, Mexico, Acropolis, Germany, Alsace and Spain.

In 2013, Sébastien Loeb also took the wheel of the DS 3 WRC # 317, winning his last two WRC events in Monte Carlo and Argentina. Then Dani Sordo took over, winning his only success so far in Germany!

At the Rallye de France, Sébastien Loeb was back at the wheel of this iconic car, but his race stopped on Sunday morning, when he went off.

The 317 chassis made its comeback at Monte 2014, allowing Kris Meeke to get on the podium. In 2015, it is also with this car that the Brit won his first WRC victory, Rally Argentina!

The #317 DS 3 WRC was still in the game in 2016, with an eleventh victory won by Meeke in Portugal. It came out the little door in Britain, with Craig Breen rolling…

Since then, the car has been rebuilt in PH Sport’s workshops and has now joined some other collection models.

In total, the #317 DS 3 WRC participated in 32 World Championship rallies. Its eleven wins (34.4%) make him the most victorious car in the history of the WRC! It has retired only four times and has five more podiums and eighty SS wins.

A Citroën C3 WRC for hire from PH Sport

A Citroën C3 WRC for hire from PH Sport

PH Sport expands its range of rally cars for hire for the 2018 World Rally Championship with the addition of a Citroën C3 WRC.

The latest generation World Rally Cars introduced at the start of the 2017 season have resulted in the production of the quickest rally cars ever seen. Among the four models homologated, the Citroën C3 WRC demonstrated its performance and its polyvalence on all types of terrain with two victories in Mexico and Spain and second place in Germany.

PH Sport has been a privileged partner of Citroën Racing for many years and it is offering a Citroën C3 WRC for hire for the rounds of the WRC in 2018. This offer is, however, reserved for seasoned drivers who have the sporting and technical expertise necessary to exploit the potential and performance level of the car.

Bernard Piallat, PH Sport director: “We’re very proud to have been chosen by Citroën Racing to offer a C3 WRC for hire. It’s not just any old car and it’s logical that the Citroën C3 WRC on offer is reserved for drivers with enough experience to get the best out of it. We’re delighted to invest ourselves in an ambitious sporting project as we did in the past with Sebastien Loeb, Sébastien Ogier and Stéphane Lefebvre.”

With the DS 3 R3-MAX, la DS 3 R5, la DS 3 WRC and now the Citroën C3 WRC, PH Sport offers the whole Citroën Racing range for hire. From regional rallies to the world championship, the tuning company based in Langres (Haute-Marne) provides a turnkey service for its clients as well as a bespoke range of services for cost-capped budgets.