How Pellier kick-started his Covid-hit career

Like many up-and-coming rally stars, Pellier aimed for one-make cups from the start. At the age of 18 he competed in the Twingo R1 Trophy before moving on to the Citroën Racing Junior Trophy – for DS3 R1 cars – which he won in 2015.

Everything seemed to be going well for the Frenchman. Spirited performances in the DS3 R3T series earned him a one-off appearance in the 2016 Tour de Corse, where he shocked by winning the Junior WRC category, while glory in the Volant Peugeot Cup led to a works-supported four-wheel drive ride in the Peugeot 208 R5 in ERC 2018.

But when the pandemic hit, Pellier, like many other drivers, was left without a drive. He had to think fast—even if that meant starting from scratch again.


Pellier went from driving this Peugeot 208 T16 R5…


“I drove for Peugeot Sport four years ago and then stopped rallying because of Covid 2020,” Pellier told FIAERC.com.

“After 2020 I had nothing left to compete in the big categories or the big championships, so I restarted my career in the Opel e-Rally Cup – the first electric rally car – with Saintéloc Racing.”

The Opel e-Rally Cup is a one-make cup for identical electric Corsas. Each car produces around 100 kW (130 hp), with the power going to the front wheels. After testing the heights of R5 machines – the next step below a World Rally Car – it was something of a step backwards for Pellier.

Nonetheless, he dominated – winning all six rounds against tough competition to secure a seat with Opel Motorsport in a Rally4-spec Corsa for this year’s ERC.

…to this Corsa-e Rally


“It was a big step backwards,” Pellier admits. “Although it was a very good car, it was an entry-level car. It was almost like starting rallying again in my freshman year!

“But in the end it was a very good move because we won the e-Rally Cup and were able to return to the ERC with Opel Motorsport.”

Pellier, along with co-driver Marine Pelamourgues, has continued that dominance into 2022, winning five out of six rallies to clinch the Junior ERC title with one lap to go. It could would have been a clean win had it not been for a role in the Tet Rally Liepāja.

Arguably the highlight was the finale at the RallyRACC Catalunya – Costa Daurada, where Pellier and Pelamourgues finished fifth in the ERC contingent, beating a number of Rally2 cars. Their achievements, he says, were helped in part by an opportunity to participate in the development of Stellantis Group’s Ross.

Latvia was an outlier in an otherwise flawless 2022 season


“This year has been absolutely incredible for us but we certainly finished very well in Spain and our performance there was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Finishing with a top 5 overall makes it even crazier.

“I drove a bit for Stellantis. I’m not an official driver but I’ve been driving their cars for a number of years. Before the start of [Peugeot] 208 Rally4 I did a few days of development in 2020 so I discovered the car two years ago now.

“As you know, the 208 and the Corsa are exactly the same – mechanically it’s the same, just the bodywork and looks are different.

“In fact, this year I took some time to attend more days of development. Okay, you drive kilometers these days, but you also drive a different car than the one you drive in competitions. It’s a lot of fun to take part in days like this.”

P5 in the general classification in Spain was a highlight


Next up for Pellier is the 2023 Junior WRC, which will use Ford Fiesta Rally3 cars supplied by M-Sport Poland. He owes his participation in the championship to his prize for winning this year’s Junior ERC

“It’s a bit of a dream for me to go into Junior WRC,” he added. “I tried to compete there with my sponsors a few years ago, but it was impossible because it was just too expensive. Now I’m finally able to race for the championship and I’m working hard to prepare with my co-driver.

“We are also working on something to maybe have a presence in both the ERC and WRC next year but nothing is confirmed. We will see.”


About Veronica Richards

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