Thu 10 Mar 2022

Fotia tops ERC4 entry at round one

Flying Frenchman Anthony Fotia leads away a seven-car ERC4 field at Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas this week (11 - 13 March).

Fotia, who won his category on his second ever FIA ERC outing at Rally Islas Canarias last year, will drive a Renault Clio Rally4 car prepared by German squad Toksport. 

Fafe marks the 28-year-old’s first ever start on Portuguese gravel, but he is more than up for the challenge. 

“I’m really excited to drive the Clio Rally4 in the FIA European Rally Championship,” said Fotia. 

“The goal will be to perform well, of course. It’s going to be a big challenge, but we like to take on challenges like this,” he added. 

Fotia will face stiff competition from several drivers including Óscar Palomo in a Peugeot 208 Rally4. The Spaniard has started this rally multiple times, but crashed at the opening stage in 2021. 

Reigning TokSport Clio Trophy champion Andrea Mabellini fields another Renault machine. He tested in dry conditions earlier this week, meaning recent rainfall on the stages could pose a challenge for the Italian. 

“The test was okay,” explained Mabellini. “I have no experience of this kind of [gravel] surface, so it was like a first time for me. I learned a lot, but I am sure that I have plenty to work on.” 

Argentine star Paulo Soria fields a similar car after finishing runner-up to Mabellini in last year’s Toksport Clio Trophy, and teenager Joosep Ralf Nõgene has also entered in a Ford Fiesta Rally4. 

Home hero Ernesto Cunha will be hoping to capitalise on local knowledge in his Peugeot, whilst championship debutant Roberto Daprà rounds out the entry in another Fiesta. 

• Full coverage from Rally Serras de Fafe - Felgueiras - Cabreira e Boticas will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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