Between an extraordinary race meeting involving three Clio Cup series, several trophies won in the European Rally Championship and new twists and turns in the competitions dedicated to Clio Rally5, Renault won on all surfaces and all fronts over the weekend!
Clio Cup Series
Frenchman David Pouget won both races at round four of the season at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. The GPA Racing driver triumphed on Saturday ahead of Nicolas Milan and Marc Guillot before repeating the feat in the stormy conditions on Sunday in front of Joran Leneutre and Nicolas Milan.
With this brace of victories, David Pouget increases his lead in the Clio Cup France. In the Challengers Cup, Alexandre Albouy and Joran Leneutre are separated by just two points after sharing the spoils while Mathieu Rigoulet still leads in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup despite the wins of Jérémy Bordagaray and Lionel Viguier.
In Clio Cup Spain, Nico Abella won both races of the weekend ahead of double podium-finishers Alex Lahoz and Jordi Palomeras. Alex Royo still leads the general classification, but the top four are covered by just 14 points. Alex Lahoz has a slim one-point advantage over Jordi Palomeras and is four to the good with Nico Abella in the Challengers category. Meanwhile, Fabien Julia (LR Performance) kept his winning streak alive in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
In the first-ever meeting of Clio Cup Eastern Europe, Marc Guillot took two wins ahead of Tomas Pekar and Andreas Stucki. In the Challengers Cup, Lin Chen Han and Juuso Panttila shared the honours, but the consistency of the Taiwanese driver saw him take the lead in the category. Lastly, Stephan Polderman and René Steenmetz left Magny-Cours on level points in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
Misano will host the next stop on the calendar, where Clio Cup Italia will be in action from June 3 to 5. This meeting will be the first of a triple-header as the series will also be in Valencia (10-12 June) for Clio Cup Spain and at Zandvoort (17-19 June) for Clio Cup Europe, Clio Cup France and Clio Cup Eastern Europe.
European Rally Championship
Anthony Fotia & Arnaud Dunand and Andrea Mabellini & Virginia Lenzi gave Clio Rally4 a third double podium in as many starts in the third meeting of their official European Rally Championship programme.
The two crews were immediately on the pace on the atypical roads of Rally Islas Canarias, sharing the best time on the first stage. They had to give up the lead after notional times as the SS3 was stopped, but Anthony Fotia answered quickly and was back in the top-three two timed sectors later. The Frenchman had to settle for second place, nine seconds adrift of the winner, despite five fastest times and twelve top-three finishes in 13 stages. His Toksport WRT teammate finished second in the FIA ERC4 Junior category and third in the FIA ERC4 category.
Andrea Mabellini consolidated his lead in the FIA ERC4 general classification with a 15-point lead over Anthony Fotia. Andrea Mabellini also moved up to second in FIA ERC4 Junior while the Hungarian duo of Martin László and Dávid Berendi scored their first points ahead of the next round on Rally Poland (10-12 June).
Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT
Paulo Soria and Marcelo Der Ohannesian, who won the opening round in the Azores, took their second Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT win of the season on tarmac in the Canaries.
The Argentinian led from the opening stage but had to battle with Italy’s Andrea Mazzocchi after he took the lead on SS6 and Spain’s Sergio Fuentes throughout Friday. His SS7 pass allowed him to start the second leg with a 7.9s advantage. With four best times out of the six timed sectors on Saturday, Paulo Soria extended his lead to take the win as his rival also received a 50-second penalty.
Victorious by 35.1s from Sergio Fuentes & Alain Peña and 58.2s from Giorgio Cogni & Gabriele Zanni, Paulo Soria increases his lead to 17 points in the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. His title rivals will be out for revenge on Rally Liepāja (2-3 July).
Clio Trophy Canarias
Besides being the most represented brand on Rally Islas Canarias, Renault also launched the new Clio Trophy Canarias at round three of the FIA European Rally Championship with 12 crews in action.
Marcos Martín and Armando Rivero set the best time on the first-ever special stage in the trophy’s history and led after the first leg. On Saturday, they lost out to Alejandro Martín and Daniel Rosario. The duo moved into first place in the penultimate stage and went on to win by 11.7s ahead of their rivals. Manuel Hernández and David Bethancourt completed the podium, nearly three minutes further back.
Round two of the Clio Trophy Canarias will be contested on Rally Isla de Gran Canaria (3-4 June).
Italian Junior Rally Championship
The ACI Team Italia’s Clio Rally5s entered in the Campionato Italiano Assoluto Rally Junior were in action on Rally Adriatico for round two of 2022, which was also the first gravel rally of the season.
Davide Nicelli and Tiziano Pieri retired at Sanremo, but they bounced back in style, setting the best time on every single stage, including the Power Stage. At the end of the rally, the duo was 17.4s ahead of Alessandro Casella & Rosario Siragusano, which resisted the attacks of Mattia Zanin and Fabio Pizzol to finish runner-up by 2.3 seconds.
With his second-place result, Alessandro Casella still leads in CIAR Junior and increases his advantage to ten points over Mattia Zanin. With his success, Davide Nicelli moves up to third in the championship, 13 points behind the leader before the next meeting at Rally di San Marino (8-9 July).
Renault also starred in France, notably with the victory of Clio Rally4 on Rallye du Printemps de Bords with Romuald Lézeau & Vincent Reault. Clio Rally5 was also successful on the same event with Romain & Audrey Galin, as was Régis Personne & Sandrine Pernot on the Ajolais Rally, Sylvain Rouquette & Marjorie Mercier on the Monts de Vaucluse Rally and Rémi Jouines & Frédéric Rubio on the Rallye de Printemps - Canet. Staying in France, Corentin Deleval and Clément Folny won took category top honours on Rallye de Dieppe - Normandie, as did Enzo Beschet and Pierrot Rousselet on Rallye International Ain-Jura.
Clio Rally5 was equally successful on the international scene. Ignacio Gardiol and Leonardo Fernández won their category while finishing just nine seconds off the podium on Rally de Minas, which is part of the Uruguayan Rally Championship. In Italy, Marco Zanin & Christian Camazzola and Andrea Salviotti & Susy Ghisoni won Rally Piancavallo and Rally Valli Oltrepò respectively. In Belgium, Xavier Dekeyser & Nele Tassaert and Nikolai Bruyneel & Jasper Maelfait made it a Clio Rally5 a one-two on the Sezoensrally.
This week, Clio Trophy France Asphalte will head to the Rallye d’Antibes Côte d’Azur (21-22 May), where 42 crews will battle in round two of the year. At the same event, Romain Di-Fante will look to extend his lead in the French two-wheel drive Rally Championship in his third outing with his official Clio Rally4.
Photo 1 : DPPI / Alpine Racing
Photo 2 : @World
Photo 3 : Flat-Out Agency
Photo 4 : Clio Trophy Canarias