A great success archived for the King of France 2022

For the second time, , from 10 to 12 June, the Center Tout Terrain in Montalieu Vercieu (F) hosted the King of France, race of the Ultra4 Europe championship. The event was organized by Nicolas Montador, a famous French driver and 4x4 vehicles builder, who was able to garner the applause of all the drivers of this off-road discipline. It was an exciting and adrenaline-pumping weekend that offered a great show. Frenchman Nicolas Pareau won on his debut in the premier class 4400 Unlimited. The other winners are: Aymeric Syre (F) in the Legend, Tom Sharp (UK) in the WCC Winch, Ralf Keuller (D) in the Modified class, Matthias Armand (F) in the Stock class and Damien Mauro (F) in the UTV 4900 class. 

Photography and story by Paolo Baraldi

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu

The all-Star and Stripe style of the Ultra4 discipline was born in 2007 in California, at Chili's Bar in San Bernardino, from a formidable idea of Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll to organize a race that combined the discipline of Rock Crawling with that of the Desert Race. The first edition took place with 12 crews, called the OG13. The success and interest was so great that King of the Hammers has grown exponentially every year to the incredible show it is now.


From California to Europe the leap was short; in 2012 the first Ultra4 race in Wales and then the birth of Ultra4 Europe.

King of France 2022, organized by a driver for the drivers

The King of France 2022, which took place in France in Montalieu Vercieu from 10 to 12 June, was organized and managed by Nicolas Montator. Montator is well known throughout Europe and not only for being one of the top level Ultra4 Europe drivers who also raced in America at King of the Hammers and being an excellent builder of 4x4 vehicles and prototypes with his company WSR Offroad.


His great passion for this sport and this discipline and his desire not to let France miss a race of the Ultra4 Europe championship, led him for the first time to cross the border that divides drivers and organizers to set up the King of France.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Nicolas Montador

English Chris Bowler, Ultra4 Europe Race Director for years, has collaborated with Montador creating a race course approximately 5 km long with almost all the essential ingredients of the Ultra4 discipline. The enormous racing experience of the two, Montador and Bowler, the great work of the guys from Pirate 4x4 working on the field as Marshals under the supervision of the U4E Core Team, inspired by David, Little Dave, Robson and Drew Wright, guaranteed the success of the event.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu

At the call of Nicolas Montador, 34 teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, France, Malta, Poland and Switzerland responded. Among them some veterans of Ultra4 Europe (who also raced in California at the KOH) such as the German Bernd Schäfer, the Maltese Neville Ciantar, the Belgian Axel Burmann (on his return to the wheel after a few years of break due to physical problems) and Ralf Keuller who in 2010 was the first European to finish the King of the Hammers and, in the same year, to win the Baja 1000 in his category.


On the starting grid of King of France 2022 also many Ultra4 Europe rookies who approached this race with a lot of enthusiasm and determination. One of all, and we will see him later, was able to amaze and enthuse those present.

After the prologue on Friday evening, won by Nicolas Pareau, 6 heats were run on Saturday (3 for Unlimited, Legend and WCC Winch and 3 for Modified, Stock and UTV) and on Sunday 4 heats (2 for Unlimited, Legend and WCC Winch and 2 for Modified, Stock and UTV).

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Nicolas Pareau

Nicolas Pareau won the King of France in the 4400 Unlimited class

Nicolas Pareau, the guy who thought he could fly really took off!

On his debut in the Ultra4 Europe races he immediately imposed himself first by winning the prologue on Friday night with a spectacular jump that thrilled the public and then, despite some rollover, winning the King of France in the 4400 Unlimited category.


The Frenchman Pareau comes from extreme competitions, he made his bones and the experience of him there. He showed up at the King of France as a rockie and with his brand new vehicle that he built up, came out on Sunday evening as the winner.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Nicolas Pareau / Damien Bazire

The Belgian brothers Reul finished second and the Danish Kristien Jensen third.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Antoine Reul / Benoit Reul
ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Kristien Jensen / Martin Grere

4400 Unlimited Overall


1 - Nicolas Pareau / Damien Bazire – 34 laps in 07:00:52,52        

2 - Antoine Reul / Benoit Reul – 33 laps in 07:12:17,84

3 - Kristien Jensen / Martin Grere – 25 laps in 06:52:48,92

4 - Axel Burmann / Tom Olieslagwers – 23 laps in  05:31:56,52

5 - Neville Ciantar / Lee Ciantar – 23 laps in 06:25:31,27

6 - Bernd Schäfer / Alexander Schönbrunn – 19 laps in 04:34:35,39

7 - Edward Ruszczyc / Barteomies Soborak - 12 laps in 03:36:25,27

8 - Rainer Lohr /Marit Wegner – 12 laps in 05:17:41,30

9 - Marc Govaerts / Glenn Govaerts - 4 laps in 01:49:27,59

10 - Timothy Brigadoi / Manfred Brigadoi – 1 laps in 00:23:44,29           

11 - Thomas Leimgruber / Manuel Stockl – 0 laps in 00:00:00,00

Aymeric Syre won the King of France in the 4800 Legend class

Aymeric Syre, French driver well known in the world of Ultra4 Europe, won in the Legend class with the fellow countryman Frederic Lievin in second position and in third the Polish Alex Adamczyk.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Aymeric Syre / J Charles & Charlotte Syre

4800 Legend Overall


1 - Aymeric Syre / J Charles & Charlotte Syre - 24 laps in 06:51:58,24

2 - Frederic Lievin / Stephane Oleksy – 9 laps in 04:15:00,14

3 -Alex Adamczyk / Kuba Majewski - 6 laps in 02:20:33,68

Tom Sharp won the King of France in the WCC Winch class

A few years ago the WCC Winch class was included among the Ultra4 Europe classes. This class allows drivers and cars coming from winching competitions to face the world of Ultra4.


The Englishman Tom Sharp won in this class with Danien Bonneau from France in second and Nicolas Kaiser from Switzerland in third.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Tom Sharp / Tom Joliff

WCC Winch Overall


1 - Tom Sharp / Tom Joliff – 12 laps in 04:40:42,38

2 - Danien Bonneau / Alexandre Venge - 5  laps in 02:47:39,12

3 - Nicolas Kaiser / Cindy Geismann – 3 laps in 02:17:17,40

Ralf Keuller won the King of France in the 4500 Modified class

German Ralf Keuller, a true veteran of Ultra4 (in 2010 he was the first European to finish the King of the Hammers and, in the same year, to win the Baja 1000 in his category), won in the Modified class with in second position Paul Molinero and in third Marcel Mora, both French.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Ralf Keuller / Dominic Vorhofer

4500 Modified Overall


1 - Ralf Keuller / Dominic Vorhofer - 26 laps in 07:04:17,29

2 - Paul Molinero / Tom Lebaucher – 24 laps in 06:55:03,10

3 - Marcel Mora / Julien Mora – 20 laps in 06:03:57,48

4 - Piotr Florczak / Andrej Sotgata – 14 laps in 03:48:22,05

Matthias Armnd won the King of France in the 4600 Stock class

Matthias Armand, the French guy who makes the Patrol GR drift, has fulfilled his dream of winning an Ultra4 Europe race. Vincent Bigorne, France, is second and Szymon Salamon from Poland third.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Matthias Armand / Gregory Gaillard

4600 Stock Overall


1 - Matthias Armand / Gregory Gaillard – 31 laps in 06:54:05,99

2 - Vincent Bigorne / Jeremy Gauche – 25 laps in 06:10:28,38

3 - Szymon Salamon / Mariusz Kiszko – 23 laps in 05:51:21,74

4 - Raphael Maxcence – 4 laps in 01:28:05,10

Damien Mauro won the King of France in the 4900 UTV class

The UTV class is increasingly establishing itself in the world of Ultra4 and Europe is no exception. At King of France the UTVs proved to be very fast and versatile and like in America, they proved to be perfect for this type of racing as well as being very fun to drive.


The French Damien Mauro won in this class with the Belgian Laurent Mottet in second place and the Polish Lukasz Gembala in third place.

ultra4 europe king of france 2022 vallee bleue montalieu vercieu
Damien Mauro / Loic Mauro

4900 UTV Overall


1 - Damien Mauro / Loic Mauro – 44 laps in 07:08:46,32

2 - Laurent Mottet / Laurent Schwanen - 41 laps in 07:07:00,75

3 - Lukasz Gembala / Piotr Troszok – 38 laps in 07:08:58,12

4 - Nicolas Truchi / Pascal Vichard – 37 laps in 06:16:31,51

5 - Julien Guerton / Thodore Guerton – 35 laps in 06:54:26,27

6 - Piotr Badlak / Oskar Sitarz – 6 laps in 01:09:06,54

7 - Stijn Vekeman /Wouter Vekeman – 4 - 02:09:32,36

King of France 2022 race pictures

About Montalieu Vercieu

Halfway between Bourg-En-Bresse and Grenoble, between Lyon and Chambéry, Montalieu Vercieu is located in the heart of the Rhône-Alpes region. Montalieu-Vercieu, on the left bank of the Rhone, is a French village of approximately 3,107 inhabitants located in the Isère department of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. This municipality enjoys a green and relaxing landscape consisting of the hills of the Crémieu plateau on one side and the Bugey cliffs overlooking the Rhone on the other side.


Montalieu-Vercieu is known throughout the world thanks to its stone. In fact, the city is located in the heart of a quarry basin where stone has been exploited since Roman times. Great monuments, such as the Empire State Building in New York, were built with Montalieu’s Villebois stone, as well as the traditional houses of the city and surrounding villages.


The other great natural wealth of Montalieu Vercieu is the Rhone. The river, still wild in this place, offers numerous recreational activities all included in the context of the Vallée Bleue.

The Center Tout Terrain Vallèe Bleue hosted an Ultra4 Europe race for the second time

In the heart of the Vallèe Bleue is the area of about 30 hectares of the Center Tout Terrain; one of the most famous and largest in France that hosts an off-road driving school in addition to numerous national and international events directed by Joel Marque owner of Objectif Terre.


The soil of the Center Tout Terrain is made up of a part of old abandoned stone quarries and where nature has returned to become mistress and of numerous paths in the undergrowth that create a real labyrinth.

2022 Ultra4 Europe Championship

ULTRA4 will be hosting the 2022 season with 6 events across Europe.


- The Ultra4 Essential - 6-8 May 2022 at Kirton, UK. – DONE -


- King of France - 10-12 Jun 2022 at Montalieu, France. – DONE -


- King of Briton – 29-31 Jul 2022 at Walters Arena, Neath, UK.


- King of Poland – 9-11 Sep 2022 at Olzyna Motorpark, Poland.


- King of Portugal – 7-9 Oct 2022 at Vimioso, Portugal.


- Ultra4 Battle of Bovington –28-30 Oct 2022 at Bovington Camp, UK.


These events will feature in two Championships: Ultra4 European Championship any 3 events from the season counts. Ultra4 British Championship any 2 events of the UK events count.


More info at the official Ultra4 Europe web site.

ultra4 europe 2022

Not just Unlimited can participate in Ultra4 Europe races

The 4400 class is the original class that started the King of Hammers race. Year after year these rigs have evolved to become increasingly powerful and performing. For their important technological development, the 4400 are considered by many people as the  “Formula 1” of 4x4. Said this, it is important to know that it is possible to participate in Ultra4 Europe competitions also with other types of vehicles: 4900 UTV, 4500 Modified, 4600 Stock, 4800 Legends and WCC Winch.

Short Ultra4 history

In 2007 Dave Cole and Jeff Knoll had the idea of organizing a new competition style, totally different from those existing in the States. The King of the Hammers was born in the Johnson Valley (CA) combining the desert races and rock crawling competitions.


After the first King of the Hammers, the success and interest was so great that the Hammerking Productions were created, the public was invited to watch the race, the first sponsors appeared, the Ultra4 category was defined and the Ultra4 Racing championship started.


Ultra4 Europe, in 2012, brought this style of racing to Europe gaining great appreciation from the Ultra4 teams and fans. In just a few years, from a race they moved on to a real championship that today brings together the best European drivers.