4 March 2023
Three young talents to defend the Castrol colours in 2023
Three Clio Rally4s will be officially entered in the French and Belgian Rally Championships in 2023. Following their outstanding performances last year in Clio Trophy France Asphalte, Clio Trophy France Terre and Clio Trophy Belgium with Clio Rally5, three young promising rally drivers will move up to the next level with the Castrol colors this season.
Alongside the final preparations for Clio Rally3 and the imminent resumption of Clio Rally5 trophies across the globe, Clio Rally4 will also be in action in 2023. Three drivers who have won the Junior titles in their respective competitions will have the opportunity to confirm all their potential by moving up a class and swapping their Clio Rally5 for a Clio Rally4 adorned with a striking livery honoring Castrol, a loyal partner of Renault’s customer racing activities.
Tom Pieri to contest five rounds in the French Rally Championship
A driving force in the Clio Trophy France Asphalte with four wins in the Junior category and four overall podium finishes in five starts, Tom Pieri is now preparing to succeed Anthony Fotia and Romain Di-Fante.
As the best Junior in the final general classification, the 24-year-old from Marseilles won a five-round programme with Clio Rally4, which will be prepared by the title-winning team, 3P Racing by BHR... A squad he knows well, having competed in the 2022 campaign with Bastien Héron’s troops! Supported by his new codriver Alexis Maillefert, Tom Pieri will launch his season at the Rallye Le Touquet Pas de Calais before competing at the Charbonnières, Rouergue, Mont-Blanc and Cœur de France.
Like all Castrol’s Clio Rally4 protégés, the young hopeful will benefit from the support of the Alpine Racing, Castrol, Michelin and Sabelt teams to accelerate his progress on each rally. Third in the French Junior Rally Championship in 2020 and third in the 2022 Clio Trophy France Asphalte season, Tom Pieri now has the opportunity to fast-track his rise with a car that has already proved its worth in the front-wheel drive ranks.
Florian Bouchonneau to take on the French Gravel Rally Championship
Florian Bouchonneau won the Clio Trophy France Terre and the Junior honors after a convincing and consistent season with three podium finishes and two other top-six results in the five events on the calendar.
The 25-year-old has had a meteoric rise since his success in the Rallye Jeunes operation. Having cut his teeth in the French Junior Rally Championship, where he finished runner-up in 2021, Florian Bouchonneau took on the challenge of the Clio Trophy France Terre, where his regularity and his speed, with three Power Stage wins to his credit, surprised the competition. Thanks to his title, he won two rounds in the French Gravel Rally Championship and has chosen to compete in on the Terre des Causses and the Terre d’Aléria, a new edition on the national calendar.
Still navigated by Jeanne Rey, he will also benefit from all the experience of Fun Meca Sport, winners of the Clio Trophy France Terre Teams standings for the past two years and running Quentin Ribaud in his official Clio Rally4 programme in Castrol colours in 2022.
Three rounds for Benoit Verlinde in Belgium
Beyond France, Clio Rally4 will also be in action, most notably in Belgium, with the official Castrol-coloured Clio Rally4 entrusted to Benoit Verlinde.
Since making his debut in Historic rallying at the end of 2017, the Belgian has made steady progress on the French roads and scored a second place in the RC5 class with Clio Rally5 on the 2021 Monte-Carlo Rally. Runner-up in the inaugural Clio Trophy Belgium with two victories and two additional podium results, the young entrepreneur took up the challenge to return in 2022 and succeeded in his mission with three wins in the first four events to secure the title before the season-finale!
Benoit Verlinde now moves up by entering the Belgian Rally Championship. He will be pursue his ascent with his co-driver Anton Dupan and a reference in Belgian rally circles, the Pieter Tsjoen Racing team. On the three rounds of his programme, he will try to emulate his former rivals in the 2021 season, Gilles Pyck and Tom Rensonnet, who both fought for the Junior BRC title last year, both with Clio Rally4!
Tom Pieri – French Rally Championship
16-18 March: Rallye Le Touquet Pas de Calais
21-22 April: Rallye Rhône-Charbonnières
6-8 July: Rallye Aveyron Rouergue Occitanie
31 August-2 September: Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine
29 September -1 October: Rallye Cœur de France
Florian Bouchonneau – French Gravel Rally Championship
31 March -1 April: Rallye Terre des Causses
1-3 June: Rallye Terre d’Aléria
Benoit Verlinde – Belgian Rally Championship
18 March: South Belgian Rally
7-8 April: TAC Rally
9- 10 June: Rally of Bertrix
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