Croatia, Spain, Italy and Turkey... Clio Rally5 won on every type of surface this past weekend while extending its incredible winning streak in the FIA World Rally Championship!
Two privateer Renault Clio Rally5s were entered in round three of the FIA World Rally Championship held near Zagreb.
The Rally Team Kramer-run Clio Rally5 of Austrian driver Alfred Kramer and Danish co-driver Jeannette Anderson Kvick dominated the RC5 category early on. They won the first eight special stages contested before losing more than 20 minutes on SS10.
The Clio Rally5 of the French duo of Pascal Pauget and Mélodie Bellavarde inherited a comfortable lead. Alfred Kramer and Jeannette Anderson Kvick bounced back, posting the best time on every timed sector from SS11 to SS20 to take eight top tens in the two-wheel drive category despite several Rally4 entries in the Junior WRC category and quite a few R-GT competitors.
The crew of Pascal Pauget and Mélodie Bellavarde were consistent just until the end to claim the win and offer the Clio Rally5 its fifth triumph in the RC5 category in as many appearances in the WRC (Mexico, Sardinia and Monza 2020, Monte Carlo and Croatia 2021).
Clio Rally Trophy Turkey
The Evofone ESOK Rally hosted the Turkish Rally Championship and the Balkan Rally Trophy season-opener, with eight crews at the start for the inaugural round of the Clio Rally Trophy Turkey.
Nebil Erbil dominated the first stage on Saturday, which was marked by the roll of 2005 Turkish Rally Champion Mehmet Mesler. The hierarchy changed quickly in SS2, where Çelik Çağlayan took the lead before distancing his rivals in the afternoon.
While Mehmet Mesler won SS5 to score an overall top ten time on Sunday morning, Çelik Çağlayan was soon back on track to seal the victory at the end of the ten tarmac stages around Eskişehir.
Fourteenth in the general classification, the duo of Çelik Çağlayan & Ufuk Uluocak won with a 2:00.5s margin of victory over Nebil Erbil & Onur Ahiskali. The crew of Menderes Okur & Tarik Aksoy completed the podium ahead of Tuncer Sancakli & Asena Sancakli and Can Altinok & Ugurtan Ünal.
Four Clio Rally5s were present for the opening round of the Spanish Gravel Rally Cup on Rallye Tierras Altas de Lorca.
Spain’s Marcel Abad and Andorra’s Alex Español immediately slotted into the two-wheel-drive top ten among several R2 and Rally4 competitors. After the cancellation of SS2, they respectively did it again on SS3 and SS4, then both on SS5.
In the final timed sector, Alex Español and co-driver Claudio Ribeiro did even better, scoring a top-five result, allowing them to finish in the top five of the two-wheel drive category; 9.4s ahead of Marcel Abad and Carles Cortés.
A bit further down the order, the French tandems of Serge Chapus & Mathieu Favreau and Alexandre Vidal & Aurélien Benzal made it to the finish, demonstrating once again the excellent reliability of the Clio Rally5.
Eight Clio Rally5s were in action in three different events this past weekend in Italy.
Clio Rally5 swept the R1 category podium in round one of the Italian Gravel Rally Championship on Rally Adriatico. The 2019 two-wheel drive champions, Davide Cagni & Stefano Palù put in an error-free weekend to win ahead of Pier Giorgio Barsanti & Cristian Pollini and Gianni Bardin & Luca Pascale.
On the tarmac roads of Rally Valli Ossolane, Clio Rally5 scored another one-two-three result in the R1 category as the Swiss crew of Guillaume Girolamo & Benjamin Betrisey beat the Italian duos of Luciano Calini & Francesco Cuaz and Jacopo Puricelli & Thomas Tamburrano in the Piedmont region.
Lastly, the Clio Rally5 of Alessandro Muzio & Bruno Rotondaro also took top honours in the R1 category on Rally Prealpi Orobiche after an intense duel with Clio Rally5 of Roberto Vanini & Susy Muzio on the Lombardy tarmac.
Round two of the Clio Cup Europe will take place at the Autodromo Internazionale Monza (30 April-2 May).
Already on top form at Nogaro, Nicolas Milan, Marc Guillot, Anthony Jurado and Mickaël Carrée will try to score as many points as possible against more than 20 Italian drivers who are all eager to launch their campaign ideally on home soil.
The full entry list will be published on Wednesday on www.cliocup.fr.
Photos 1 & 2: DPPI
Photo 3: Toksport WRT
Photo 4: FotoEsport