Following victories on the rounds in Monte Carlo and Germany, and second places in Portugal and Finland, Chardonnet’s total of 104 points cannot be caught, handing him the title with two rallies to go.
At the wheel of a Citroen DS3 R3T, Chardonnet was the early leader in France, but lost the position on Friday to his compatriot Quentin Gilbert in a similar car.
The pair were locked in a thrilling duel for most of the weekend, until Chardonnet backed off on Sunday to preserve his championship winning position.
“I’m delighted, it’s been a great weekend,” said Chardonnet. “We’ve learned a lot this year in what has been a very competitive championship. At the moment it hasn’t really sunk in but, but it’s a fantastic feeling.
“Quentin made this a very difficult rally for us," he added. "He was really fast and although we were quicker in the first few stages we were not able to win. We knew second place was enough to win, and it’s kept us in the fight for the Citroen Top Driver trophy too, so it’s been a good operation. Okay, we were thinking a lot about winning the rally but we have to be happy with what we achieved.”
Gilbert took the rally victory by 41.3 seconds. It was his first WRC 3 win of the year, and only his second rally alongside new co-driver Renaud Jamoul.
“It feels very good to win on home ground in France and it’s good for my championship position,” he said. “All the stages were perfect, the feeling was good and the car was faultless. A big thanks to everyone who has helped me.”
Ireland’s Keith Cronin brought his Citroen to the finish in third, 1min 38.7sec off the lead, while Christian Riedmann was the fourth and final finisher.