Andreucci “impressed” as ERC-bound Renault Clio Rally4 shows potential on debut
Paolo Andreucci was left “impressed” after he gave Renault’s Clio Rally4 its competition debut on last weekend’s Targa Florio – Rally Internazionale di Sicilia.
According to Renault Sport Racing, the multiple Italian champion, who was being run by HK Racing, was able to demonstrate the “efficiency of [the Clio Rally4’s] chassis and 4-cylinder 1330cc TCe 16-valve engine” as he and co-driver Francesco Pinell took a trio of class wins, before minor contact on SS4 led to a 30-second delay.
With the class win a tall order as a result of the time loss, Andreucci switched his focus to set-up development, although he continued to set rapid stage times until a “mounting error” caused a power loss and retirement on stage eight.
Despite the slightly premature exit, Andreucci said the “potential of Clio Rally4 is clearly evident”.
He added: “The Targa Florio is an atypical rally with very different characteristics from most other events. This choice for the debut of Clio Rally4 clearly showed the desire to come out swinging from the start with a ’hard’ development.
“I was impressed with Clio Rally4. You can feel every change or adjustment to the set-up through new feelings, which highlights the excellent work done on the chassis. The two days of testing allowed us to explore several options, including on wet roads.
“Although the debut of a car can come with some unpleasant surprises, the potential of Clio Rally4 is clearly evident and we have shown that the performance is there.”
Benoît Nogier, Renault Sport Racing Customer Racing Director, said: “From the outset, Clio Rally4 confirmed the great potential we had seen during its design and development phase. On its first rally, Clio Rally4 took the lead in its category and then briefly led the two-wheel-drive class before Paolo’s minor error. That contact and the issue in the final loop prevented us to score a good result, but the journey is just beginning. We are already looking forward to fulfilling all its potential in its upcoming appearances.”
Ola Jr Nore is planning to contest the FIA ERC3 Junior Championship in a Clio Rally4 run by top team Toksport WRT.