Clio Rally4 and Clio Rally5 got their 2022 season off to a perfect start by dominating the front-wheel-drive categories on the 90th Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo. Both Anthony Fotia and Ghjuvanni Rossi scored their maiden win on the world championship scene in one of motorsport’s most iconic events.
Thirteen crews, including eleven competing, were at the Monte-Carlo Rally to kick off season 50 of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Already impressive on the international stage by winning on his second FIA ERC start last year, Anthony Fotia took the lead in the RC4 class on his first world championship outing. The 2020 Clio Trophy France winner put in two sensational runs on the Thursday night stages to claim a more than one-minute lead while also getting the better of several Rally2 and R-GT cars on the Turini night stages.
The Frenchman set the same solid pace on Friday with six best times in as many timed sectors. Although his choice of tyres for the snow on Saturday morning was affected by the cancellation of SS11, the CHL Sport Auto driver bounced back at the end of the day with a virtuoso performance on the col de Fontbelle to take on the decisive leg in a strong position.
Behind the wheel of his Michelin-liveried Clio Rally4, Anthony Fotia controlled the proceedings in the final four stages of the rally to take an easy win on his Monte Carlo and World Championship debut. He finished behind only three R-GTs in the two-wheel-drive standings and was 27th overall. The crews of Sacha Althaus & Lisiane Zbinden, Styve Juif & Maxime Biegalke and Pierre Tanci & Sébastien Malet brought the number of Clio Rally4s in the top six in RC4 to four after their impressive weekend in the Alps.
In the RC5 category, Ghjuvanni Rossi also made an early impact to take a half-minute lead over Esteban Vallín. The Corsican driver and regular in the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT repeated the feat the next day, winning five of the six scheduled stages to extend his advantage before the Spaniard and Eric Royere hit back on Saturday and Sunday. With co-driver Maxime Martini by his side, the Chazel Technologie Course driver kept his cool to seal the victory by more than a minute. The win sees Clio Rally5 extend its unbeaten run in the world championship, which began with its debut on Rally Guanajuato México in 2020, while at the same time demonstrating once again its incredible reliability, as the six starting crews all ended up in the RC5 top six.
This week, the Clio Ice Trophy will resume with the third and penultimate round on the calendar. New points leader Pierre Paul Baltolu will defend his lead over Romain Di-Fante and Mathieu Lannepoudenx in an expanded field of 16 competitors.
At the same time, the Clio Cup cars competing in the NGK UAE Procar Championship will be back on track for the third of six events in their season. After a lively first six races with six different winners, many of the contenders will try to reassert their ambitions in Dubai (27-28 January).