Sainteloc Racing - why to race in one discipline if you can choose three
Sainteloc Racing is a French racing team, based in Saint-Etienne and founded in 2004 by Sebastien Chetail, which currently competes in several circuit racing competitions (Blancpain GT Series, Porsche Carrera Cup and Peugeot RCZ Cup), in the European Rally Championship and some other minor rally competitions, and in the Trophee Andros ice racing series. A part of the team’s activity is also the Ice Driving Academy at Circuit Alain Prost in Val Thorens.
Triple program since the beginning
Since the very beginning, Sainteloc Racing had a triple program, participating in the circuit racing, rallies and ice racing. During the 2000s, Sainteloc team has driven at numerous French national rally events and in the Trophee Andros ice racing championship. In the circuit racing, the main competition until 2010 was the French Renault Clio Cup.
Focusing on GT3 racing since 2011
And then, in 2011, the team switched its focus on GT racing, entering the FIA GT3 European Championship and the French GT Championship as Audi customer team with Audi R8 LMS cars. Dino Lunardi and Jerome Demay were full-time drivers of the #15 car in the European championship. Pierre Hirschi was the only driver to run #16 Audi in all six rounds, sharing a car with five different co-drivers.
Demay and Lunardi finished in the 16th place of drivers’ standings, scoring one podium during a season, at Circuit Paul Ricard. In the Teams’ championship, Sainteloc Racing ended a season in the 10th place among fourteen teams.
In the French GT Championship, Sainteloc’s duo Gregory Guilvert and Nicolas Tardif finished in the eighth place.
Maiden GT3 European victory at Nogaro
Marc Sourd and Gregory Guilvert scored a maiden GT3 win for the team in the season-opening round at Nogaro. The team didn’t participate in all events and the best-placed driver at the end of the season was Marc Sourd in 7th place. Among the teams, Sainteloc Racing was fifth.
In the French GT Championship, Gregory Guilvert was in the 8th place again, after scoring two wins together with co-driver Paul Lamic.
Gentleman Trophy title in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series
In 2012, Sainteloc Racing also debuted in the Blancpain Endurance Series, participating in all six rounds with two Audi R8 LMS and adding one more car in the last round. The team took the championship title in the Gentleman class, with Pierre Hirschi and Robert Hissom as full-time drivers in the #41 Audi.
At 24 hours of Spa, the greatest race of the season, Sainteloc Racing’s gentleman drivers finished third in class while the Pro crew in another car didn’t finish the race.
Third place in the French GT and Blancpain Endurance Series
After a demise of the GT3 European Championship, Blancpain GT Series became the main competition for Sainteloc Racing. In 2013, the team participated in the first three rounds with three cars, skipping the Spa 24 Hours. In the 2013 French GT Championship, Gregory Guilvert was still the main driver, finishing in the 11th place together with David Smet.
The team gained more success in 2014. Gregory Guilvert and David Hallyday were third in the final standings of the French GT Championship. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, the team finished in the fifth place while the drivers captured third place in the Pro class. Their best result was the second place at Monza. At Spa 24h, the #41 Audi finished fourth, driven by Gregory Guilvert, Stephane Ortelli and Edward Sandstrom.
Porsche Carrera France debut in 2015
The 2015 season was less successful. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, the best-placed driver was Gregory Guilvert in the 14th place. The team was 8th in the Pro class. In the French GT Championship, Sainteloc Racing’s Valentin Simont finished in 17th place.
In 2015, Sainteloc Racing expanded its commitments to the Porsche Carrera Cup France. Vincent Beltoise scored four podiums in twelve races, finishing fourth in the points. A year later, he was fourth again, reaching three podiums. Beltoise is again Sainteloc Racing’s driver in the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup France.
Participating in the Endurance and Sprint cup since 2016
In the 2016 Blancpain GT Series season, Sainteloc Racing participated for the first time both in the Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup, fielding three Audis throughout a season. In total, twelve drivers participated in the Endurance races. Gregory Guilvert, Christopher Haase and Mike Parisy were the best-placed crew, in the 14th place of the Pro class. In the Sprint Cup races, Mike Parisy participated in all races with #26 car, finishing in the 15th place at the end of the season.
In 2017, Sainteloc Racing continues with a double program in the Blancpain GT Series.
From national rally events to international titles
Sainteloc Racing’s rally department deserves a special chapter. Since the early days of the French national events, Sainteloc Racing grew up into one of the most successful European rally teams, with many championship titles on its account.
The team specializes in preparing rally cars, exclusively from the French manufacturers Citroen and Peugeot, in different classes, starting from R2 and R3 to near-to-WRC R5 cars. Today, Sainteloc Racing is the official partner of Peugeot in the European Rally Championship and it runs cars for the Peugeot Rally Academy.
Winning rally titles in France and UK
In the French rally championship, Sainteloc won two consecutive titles for teams in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Cedric Robert also won the Citroen Trophy with Sainteloc Racing’s Citroen DS3 R3T.
The first international success came in 2011 when Sainteloc Racing was preparing a Citroen DS3 R3T for Martin McCormack, who finished fourth overall in the British Rally Championship and takes a title for 2WD cars.
Sainteloc runs Peugeot Rally Academy since 2013
In 2012, Sainteloc became the main Peugeot’s team in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge. Irish driver Craig Breen participated in four IRC events with Peugeot 207 S2000, scoring points three times and finishing 14th in the final standings.
In 2013, Peugeot Rally Academy was formed and Sainteloc Racing became an official technical and logistical partner, preparing Peugeot 207 S2000 and 208 VTi R2 cars for selected drivers in the European Rally Championship.
Leading Stephane Lefebvre to ERC Junior championship title
Craig Breen was one of the main championship contenders in the 2013 ERC season. He scored five podiums and finished third in the final ERC standings. Another future WRC driver, Stephane Lefebvre, debuted with Peugeot Rally Academy in the R2 class, driving Peugeot 208 in four events.
In 2014, Breen was again third in the ERC standings, scoring one victory and two podiums driving Peugeot 207 S2000 and Peugeot 208 T16 R5. He was the winner of Acropolis Rally. Another full-time driver was Kevin Abbring, who scored one podium to finish sixth in the points. Stephane Lefebvre continued to drive Peugeot 208 R2, winning the ERC Junior championship title.
Breen missed a title for the third year in a row
In 2015, Craig Breen was the main Peugeot Rally Academy driver for the third year in a row. He improved his results, winning three events driving Peugeot 208 T16 R5, but it was not enough to be a champion. He lost a title to Kajetan Kajetanowicz.
Parallel to ERC campaign, Breen was also driving Peugeot for Sainteloc Junior Team in the WRC-2 class of the World Rally Championship. With two podiums, at Rallye Monte-Carlo and Wales Rally GB, he finished 8th in the WRC-2 standings.
A season in the World Rally Championship
In 2016, Sainteloc Junior Team was running just one Peugeot 208 R2 in selected events of the European Rally Championship for Catie Munnings, who won the ERC Ladies Trophy that season. Instead of ERC, Sainteloc and Peugeot Rally Academy focused on the World Rally Championship.
Jose Antonio Suarez was driving Peugeot 208 T16 R5 in WRC-2 class, finishing 21st in the points. In the WRC-3 class, Jordan Berfa was driving Peugeot 208 R2 for Peugeot Rally Academy while Michel Fabre and Yohan Rossel were driving Citroen DS3 R3T for Sainteloc Junior Team. With four wins, Fabre finished second in the WRC-3 points and the team took the championship title in a category.
Return to European Rally Championship
In 2017, Peugeot Rally Academy, operated by Sainteloc Racing experts, returned to the European Rally Championship. The team fields two top-class Peugeot 208 T16 R5s for Jose Antonio Suarez and Pepe Lopez. Catie Munnings remains with the team, driving Peugeot 208 R2.