The clash between teams at opposite ends of the table was not quite as one-sided as perhaps expected, although Clermont still recorded a comfortable 37-16 triumph against an opponent yet to register a league win this term.
Peter Betham, Wesley Fofana, Arthur Iturria and Peceli Yato all touched down for the visitors, scrum-half Greig Laidlaw adding all four conversions as well as three penalties.
La Rochelle is now up to second in the standings, moving above Toulouse, which hosts Toulon on Monday (AEDT), thanks to a 53-27 thrashing of Castres.
Pierre Aguillon and Marc Andreu both crossed twice in a resounding victory for the hosts, with five-eighth Ihaia West landing five conversions and a pair of penalties to finish with a personal haul of 16 points.
Alexis Palisson scored two of his side's seven tries as Lyon ripped Agen apart, running out a convincing 52-20 winner at Matmut Stadium.
Jonathan Wisniewski set up Palisson's first early in the second half having already set up hooker Mickael Ivaldi for a try before the break. The five-eighth also booted 13 points before he was taken off just after the hour mark with the bonus point long secured.
Having played a starring role in the 19-6 win over Agen last time out, Argentinean No.10 Nicolas Sanchez was once again pivotal as Stade Francais fought back to record a hard-fought 23-20 triumph over Grenoble.
The home side trailed 17-0 after just 21 minutes but Sanchez helped lead the recovery, Stade scoring 23 unanswered points. Gaetan Germain cut the gap to three with a penalty for Grenoble but was unable to convert a late attempt at the posts that would have drawn his side level.