Tue 10 May 2022

Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT leader Soria braced for tough Tarmac task

Paulo Soria isn’t taking his Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT points lead for granted when the FIA European Rally Championship’s one-make, entry-level series resumes at Rally Islas Canarias from 12-14 May.

Soria heads the title table following his victory at the Azores Rallye in March, the first of five rallies on the calendar for the arrive-and-drive category, which uses Michelin-equipped Renault Clio Rally5s as standard. 

As well as giving him the series lead, it was a result that underlined the Argentine’s status as the pre-season favourite after he finished runner-up in the inaugural Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT to champion Andrea Mabellini last year.

With the series switching to Tarmac following the gravel-based opener, Soria will also be able to take advantage of the fact that, apart from Sergio Fuentes, he is the only Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT driver with previous experience of the event following his debut appearance last November, albeit in a high-specification Clio Rally4.

 

Nevertheless, the Argentine isn’t resting on his laurels, despite a successful test on Gran Canaria yesterday (Monday).

“We are very happy because we had a very good test, getting back into driving on asphalt after two gravel rallies,” said Soria. “The feeling is very good and we are happy with how everything went. We tried a lot of things and we did more than 80 kilometres in the test. The information we had from the engineers was very good, so we're very happy for that.

“We’re now thinking about what's ahead of us. It will be a very long and difficult rally, so we need to rest well and prepare well.”

 As well as Tenerife-based Fuentes, Soria faces opposition from five other young hopefuls as he bids to take top Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT honours at Rally Islas Canarias, plus the €4000 cash prize on offer to the winner.

Italian Giorgio Cogni is second in the standings following a fine showing at the Azores Rallye with Turkey’s Emre Hasbay fourth behind Fuentes. Andrea Mazzocchi is fifth following an eventful Azores debut when, after crashing on the first leg, the Italian returned and set two fastest stage times.

Corsica’s Ghjuvanni Rossi and Hungarian Patrik Herczig – the son of ERC outright podium finisher Norbert – complete the Clio entry and with scores to settle after frustration on the Azores.  

Rossi, who will be partnered by new co-driver Dominique Corvi at Rally Islas Canarias, crashed on both legs of the island event, while Herczig was on course to finish fourth when he rolled on the penultimate stage.

 

Rally Islas Canarias Trailer
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