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Francois Delecour

Join Tuthill’s Porsche 997 R-GT onboard at the Rallye du Valais

François Delecour and the Tuthill Porsche team had already wrapped up the 2015 FIA RGT title before the Rallye du Valais. However, that didn’t stop them from bringing their popular 997 R-GT (based on the 997 GT3 RS 3.8) to Switzerland.

As you can see in this onboard video (from the official ERC feed) Delecour wasn’t hanging about, barely dropping below 100kph on the final section of stage six, despite being faced with log piles, sheer rock faces and (in the latter half) wet tarmac.

The Frenchman’s speed saw the Porsche 911 rally car fighting amongst the four-wheel drive machines in the overall top six until a suspected water leak on day two forced the Tuthill-run car out.

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Delecour takes Tuthill 997 to Monte Carlo Rally glory

François Delecour has written himself and Tuthill Porsche into the rallying record books by winning the first ever round of the FIA R-GT Cup: the 2015 Monte Carlo Rally.

Co-driven by Dominique Savignoni, Delecour headed the R-GT classification from the very first special stage, beating his closest rival, Porsche factory driver, Romain Dumas, by 1m23.4s on Thursday’s opening 21.31-kilometre stage from Entrevaux to Rouaine.

Newly liveried in ‘Visit Romania’ colours (Delecours personal sponsor), the Frenchman built up a sizable lead over the first two days in Tuthill’s 3.8-litre Porsche 997 GT3-based R-GT car.

Photo by McKlein Photography

Heading into Friday evening, Delecour had survived incredibly icy conditions to lead Dumas’ 4.0-litre Porsche 911 GT3 by 2m30.2s, with the third R-GT Porsche 911 of Marc Duez a further seven minutes in arrears.

Thrilling the fans lining the alpine passes just north of Monaco, Delecour continued to set a searing pace through the twisting, snow-ridden stages, giving himself a comfortable cushion as the action headed to the final stage: SS15 around the infamous Col de Turini.

Delecour (a previous overall winner in the Monte Carlo Rally) ceded over 20 seconds to Dumas through the stage as Tuthill’s star ensured victory for the British firm’s R-GT car.

Photo by McKlein Photography

“This rally has been a huge challenge,” explained Delecour at the finish. “Snow and ice on the twisty mountain roads makes a great test for the driver! The final day of managing the gap to Dumas while keeping concentration was not easy.”

Victory was the first for Porsche at ‘the Monte’ since 1978, giving Delecour the R-GT championship lead ahead of the next round: the Ypres Rally in June, an event that Tuthill has tasted success in with their historic 911 rally cars.

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François Delecour gives the Tuthill 997 an icy Monte Carlo shakedown

The Porsche 911’s return to the Monte Carlo Rally is not long away with competitive action at the world’s most famous stage event getting underway this Thursday.

Among the trio of Porsche 911 GT3 RSs entered in the FIA R-GT class, Tuthill Porsche will have WRC legend, François Delecour at the helm of their 997 R-GT challenger.

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The French tarmac specialist is well aware of Porsche’s heritage on the world’s rally stages and will no doubt be taking the challenge to factory LMP1 driver, Romain Dumas (the latter in a privately entered GT3 RS 4.0).

Against the four-wheel drive bespoke WRC cars, the Porsches won’t be challenging for overall victory but, with a smattering of ice thrown into the mix, Delecour, Dumas and Marc Duez will certainly be spectacular, as the former shows in this video.

Keep abreast of all the latest Porsche race and rally news and results in our dedicated motorsport section.

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WRC: Rallye de France-Alsace report

Unlike the car’s debut at Rallye Deutschland in August, there was no fairytale finish for Tuthill’s Porsche 997 GT3 RS-based RGT car on its latest WRC outing. However, with François Delecour at the helm, there was still much to smile about at Rally de France-Alsace.

Day one started in promising fashion, with Delecour setting the 18th fastest time on stage one, just one second down on fellow RGT class rival, Romain Dumas, with the Porsche factory driver enjoying the benefits of a 997 GT3 RS 4.0 compared to Tuthill’s 3.8-litre 911.

After dropping away from Dumas during the rest of day one’s opening loop, Delecour made some minor suspension adjustments that improved the Frenchman’s pace as the Tuthill 997 RGT rounded off the day 31.8 seconds behind Dumas.

The wider, flowing stages of Rallye de France suited Tuthill's 997 RGT well.

The second day of Rallye de France opened with Dumas once again besting Delecour in the Tuthill entry, however the brace of 20th places on SS8 and SS9 were still impressive improvements over the 997’s debut performance across the border in Germany.

With SS10 bringing about another 20th place, this time Delecour beating Dumas by 2.2 seconds on the 21.5-kilometre test from Pays Welche to Riquewihr, hopes were high in the Tuthill camp as the event entered its second half.

Unfortunately, for the UK-based team, Delecour narrowly clipped a chicane marker on the 11th stage. Contact was minor but it was enough to damage the front-mounted radiator on the 997 RGT, forcing the car into retirement.

François Delecour enjoyed his time at the wheel of Tuthill's Porsche, prompting him to look at opportunities in next year's new RGT Cup.

Under Rally2 regulations, Tuthill decided to re-enter Delecour on day three – a decision the Frenchman was overawed at: “Any time driving this car is a good time. I have enjoyed so much driving the Porsche,” the WRC legend explained. “This was my dream to bring this car to a World Rally Championship.”

Due to missing four stages, a 20-minutes time penalty (five minutes for every non-completed test) was added to Delecour’s time, dropping the Tuthill Porsche from 20th overall to 46th.

Delecour drove immaculately on Sunday’s stages though, besting Dumas across all four tests, eventually finishing 37th overall. What’s more, removing the 20-minute penalty, moved Delecour just 2.7 seconds behind Dumas, proof that the Tuthill car is continually improving in the face of more powerful opposition.

The aim of a top-20 finish definitely looks achievable for the Tuthill-built Porsche 911 RGT car.


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Tuthill 997 RGT to return on Rallye de France with WRC star

Tuthill Porsche are to return for their second successive WRC tarmac rally with their Porsche 997 RGT car after confirming their entry into this week’s Rallye de France Alsace.

If it wasn’t enough for French rally fans to see the crowd-pleasing 997 GT3-based car on the Alsace stages, it will be piloted by four-time WRC rally winner (and local hero) François Delecour, with the competitive action getting underway on Friday.

“I am so excited,” enthused the 52-year-old French rally legend. “I have so much enthusiasm to drive this car. This is my dream, my dream to drive a Porsche in the World Rally Championship. It is more than fantastic.”

Richard Tuthill took the reins of the 997 RGT in Germany but France will see François Delecour take the helm.

Delecour’s last WRC outing took place on this year’s Monte Carlo Rally (20 years after he secured his final WRC victory on the same event) but the Frenchman has been keeping sharp in the Romanian Rally Championship this year, securing the title this weekend.

Having travelled straight from the latest RRC round, Delecour is testing Tuthill’s 997 RGT – which finished Rallye Deutschland in 27th overall on its debut – today, before Rallye de France kicks off with the shakedown stages this Thursday.

With the FIA providing the Porsche 911 with an extra 25bhp thanks to a larger air restrictor, both Delecour and team boss, Richard Tuthill are confident of bettering the Rallye Deutschland result (as long as conditions stay dry).

The 997 RGT has quickly become a firm fan favourite, something the ever-popular Delecour will no doubt aid.

“François is the perfect driver for this car – he’s so full of character and enthusiasm,” Tuthill explained. “Let’s not forget, he’s one of the finest drivers ever to come out of France.

“The driver is certainly a lot better [compared to Germany] and I think the car will suit the roads a bit more as well. I’d like to see us looking for the minimum of a top 20 and hopefully top 15.”

“What I want is the top 15 and to be at the same level as the R5 cars,” confirmed Delecour, who will also be up a similar Porsche 997 GT3 RS driven by Porsche factory driver, Romain Dumas.

Keep up to date with all of Tuthill’s rallying exploits at Total911.com. With a few days to go until the start of Rallye de France Alsace, check out this video of the 997 RGT in action at the last WRC round in Germany.

Shakedown for Rallye de France takes place this Thursday. Total 911 will keep you up to date with all the WRC Porsche news.


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