Local hero Lefebvre wins at home

Stéphane Lefebvre gave his home fans plenty to celebrate at the weekend when he scored an emphatic victory at the Rallye Le Béthunois in northern France.

Fresh from testing Citroën's C3 R5 last week, Lefebvre made a special guest appearance at the 40th edition of the national-level rally, which is based in Bethune, ten kilometres from his hometown of Nœux-les-Mines.

At the wheel of a PH Sport DS 3 WRC, and with girlfriend Coralie de Carli calling notes, Lefebvre dominated the event, winning all 12 stages across Saturday and Sunday to beat a field that included 11 World Rally Cars - including a C4 WRC driven by his father, Philippe.

Stéphane finished 3m26.5s ahead of his best friend Mickaël Reydellet in Skoda Fabia WRC, while Ford Fiesta WRC driver Peter Taylor completed the podium.

"I did not take this rally lightly, because there was a real opposition with a dozen World Rally Cars at the start. I also wanted to take advantage of this moment to store kilometres at high speed, in race conditions," explained Lefebvre, who will return to Citroën's WRC squad at RallyRACC Catalunya - Rally de España [5 - 8 October].

"So I rode on a high pace. With sudden downpours, the first and last stages were the most complicated. I only relaxed when I made a 360° spin [watch it here] to meet the challenge set by [WRC co-driver] Gabin Moreau on Facebook!"

"It was great to be with Mickaël on the podium, and to be with Coralie who did an amazing job in the right-hand seat. It was our first rally together, but also her debut aboard a World Rally Car."

Huge crowds turned out to watch Lefebvre on the stages, and he acknowledged that the number of requests for autographs and selfies had taken him aback.

He said: "In the North, motorsport is popular, and that's how my passion was born when I was accompanying my parents on rallies. This weekend, I was surprised by the number of spectators and to see that so many have been closely following my career. This contact with the public is really heartwarming. I am glad to have made them happy."

Photo credit: Nicolas Pillisser

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