Fast, reliable, victorious: Renault Clio Rally4 has ticked all the boxes in scoring its first win on Rallye Vosges Grand Est. Entrusted to Anthony Fotia and Europe Location for the first time, the latest car from the teams at Viry-Châtillon and Dieppe dominated the RC4 class and won the two-wheel-drive category while battling for a top ten overall!
In keeping with the brand’s commitment to detecting and promoting young motorsport talent, the best Junior in the 2020 Clio Trophy France was rewarded with a programme in the FFSA French Rally Championship with Clio Rally4 for this season.
Just two weeks after his title in Touquet, Anthony Fotia began his campaign on the Rallye Vosges Grand Est with co-driver Didier Sirugue. Despite limited preparation with the Europe Location squad, which is in charge of operations thanks to its team title, the Frenchman was immediately up to speed. Second at less than one second to the leader on SS1, he picked up the pace to set the equal best time on the next timed sector before taking the lead ahead of service.
The crew demonstrated its progress on the second loop by winning all three repeat runs to take a 27.2-second lead at the end of day one. Even better, Anthony Fotia highlighted the incredible potential of Clio Rally4 by slotting in between the R5/Rally2 and RGT cars in the overall top ten.
On very different roads, Anthony Fotia won two more stages on Saturday morning to extend his advantage to 41.6s. While managing his lead, the native of Nice continued to be at ease and proved it with a final victory on the fearsome Pays d’Ormont stage. With nine best times in fourteen special stages without taking any risk in the second leg, Anthony Fotia won with a 34.7s margin of victory from Stéphane Lefebvre.
"I am extremely happy to score Clio Rally4’s maiden win," said Anthony Fotia at the finish. "It’s incredible to win against great competition led by Stéphane Lefebvre, a true reference in the French rally scene as he competed at the highest level. Even though I felt confident right from my first test session on Monday, we started cautiously to get our bearings before pushing a bit more in the afternoon, leaving ourselves a bit of margin as we are still in the learning process. We ran well this morning and then chose to manage our rally by not taking any chances as we had a comfortable lead. I have to thank Europe Location as well as Renault who have done a great job on this car. I can’t wait for the next round, especially as I think I still have some room for improvement with Clio Rally4 with a bit more time to prepare!"
Anthony Fotia, Didier Sirugue and Europe Location will continue their programme next month on the Rallye Aveyron Rouergue Occitanie (8-10 July).
Benoît Nogier, Alpine Racing Customer Racing Director: "Clio Rally4 had already demonstrated its reliability and performance, and this first win confirms its status as the new benchmark in the Rally4 category. This success would not be possible without the hard work of everyone involved in the project at Viry, Dieppe and with our partners, suppliers and contractors. After just a few kilometres of testing, Anthony Fotia and Europe Location adapted perfectly to Clio Rally4 to highlight the close ties between Clio Rally5, intended to detect the best talents in the dedicated trophies, and Clio Rally4, designed to win in the two-wheel-drive category. This double victory in their first rally together leaves everyone very optimistic for the rest of the season."