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Tue 05 Apr 2022

Mature approach rewards Soria

After checking Paulo Soria’s stage times for the Azores Rallye, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was driving on the ragged edge. But that wasn’t the case.

The Argentine made everything look easy as he set the pace on 10 of the 13 special stages, taking victory by over three minutes at round one of the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. 

After scoring an ERC4 podium with a Clio Rally4 in Fafe, Soria jumped back aboard the lesser-powered Rally5 machine to tackle the one-make series' opener last month.

Despite winning by a hefty margin, the 27-year-old had to err on the side of caution on the tricky gravel roads. 

“From inside the car, the weekend was really, really, really difficult,” he told FIA ERC.com. “I think that it was one of the most difficult rallies I have ever done, but also one of the most enjoyable too.

“I enjoyed Azores because the stages were awesome, but the weather was very tricky and always changing.”

As well as being less powerful than the Rally4 variant, the Clio Rally5 also uses non-adjustable shock absorbers. Soria explained how the two vehicles demand a slightly different driving approach. 

“After Fafe with the Rally4 car, we had in our head and in our pace notes a sensation of speed,” he continued.

Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT: Azores Rallye highlights

“When we sat back in the Rally5, we had to be a bit more careful. It was so hard to step back a bit, but we tried to keep the speed and it worked out good.”

The Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT resumes at Rally Islas Canarias next month (12 - 14 May) where Soria hopes to build asphalt experience as well as his championship lead.  

“Last year we finished runner-up [in the championship] by two points. For this year the target is to win it and also to keep improving on gravel, but mainly on Tarmac surfaces which I have less experience on.”