Several Clio Rally4s will be entered in the FIA European Rally Championship this season, including three for Frenchmen Jean-Baptiste Franceschi and Florian Bernardi and Norwegian Ola Jr Nore. The trio will have one goal: to win the FIA ERC3 and FIA ERC3 Junior titles with Clio Rally4.
In addition to the French Rally Championship programme granted to Anthony Fotia and Europe Location thanks to their Clio Trophy France titles, Clio Rally4 will compete outside of France to demonstrate its potential on the European scene. Three talented drivers are putting their trust in the new car developed by the Viry-Châtillon and Dieppe teams to fulfil their ERC ambitions.
Jean-Baptiste Franceschi will lead the assault of these three musketeers with Toksport WRT, which has won on multiple occasions at the world and European levels. At just 25 years of age, the Frenchman has already built up a solid record, becoming French Junior Rally Champion in 2017 before winning in WRC3 and FIA Junior WRC. The reigning French Gravel Rally Champion will be back on Europe’s most challenging stages with the FIA ERC3 and FIA ERC3 Junior crowns in his sights.
Toksport WRT will enter a second Clio Rally4 for Ola Jr Nore. Building on his two podium finishes in Hungary and the Canary Islands with Clio Rally5 on his FIA ERC3 Junior debut, the 20-year-old Norwegian will be competing in his first full season in the category. Like Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, the member of the Norwegian National Team will be able to count on the expertise of his team to accelerate his learning curve and challenge for both titles.
Winner of the 2018 Clio Trophy France, Florian Bernardi also returns to the ERC after two consecutive wins on Rally Islas Canarias. The runner-up in the 2020 French Gravel Rally Championship with Clio Rally5 was behind the wheel of Clio Rally4 in its first public appearance on the 2021 Monte Carlo Rally. More motivated than ever and backed by Xavier Castex and CHL Sport Auto, his only target is clear: to win the FIA ERC3!
In addition to Clio Rally4, the ERC will also host the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT. The only dedicated Clio Rally5 mixed-surface trophy is a joint effort among Renault Sport Racing, Toksport WRT and Eurosport Events that will see competitors compete in five rounds of the calendar with a range of prizes and awards on offer.
Jean-Baptiste Franceschi: "I am thrilled to be back in the FIA ERC. It is a championship with an extremely high level of competition and I am also proud to be joining a French brand to represent it on the European scene. I am looking forward to discovering Clio Rally4. As we all saw in Le Touquet, the car has tremendous potential. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and see what it can do on gravel and tarmac. We all want to challenging at the front and beat the competition from across Europe and we’re going to do everything we can to achieve that. I can’t wait to be in Poland to start working with Renault and Toksport WRT and I’m convinced we’re all set to have a great season."
Ola Jr Nore: "I am very excited and have high expectations to the freshly developed Clio Rally4 car. It will be interesting to see how fast I can learn the car with one test day before the first rally. As a rookie in the ERC, I am looking very much forward to all of the different rallies and getting back in the car after a long break. Together with my new codriver Jørgen Eriksen and Toksport WRT, I’ll do my very best to challenge the more experienced drivers throughout the season."
Florian Bernardi: "In 2020, we were in Clio Rally5, and for 2021 we will be in Clio Rally4 thanks to the support of our partners and Renault. We plan to enter as many events as possible, starting with Poland, to perform well in every rally and on every surface. I would like to warmly thank my loyal partners who have followed me for several seasons and those who have joined us more recently in this adventure, and I hope to welcome new ones so that I can enter enough rallies to aim for the title.”
Benoît Nogier, Alpine Racing Commercial Racing Director: "We are delighted to have three Clio Rally4s in the FIA ERC in its first year of competition, and even more so with Jean-Baptiste Franceschi, Ola Jr Nore and Florian Bernardi, whose ambitions are in line with ours. Jean-Baptiste and Ola are two extremely promising prospects and we also all know what Florian can do. We are confident they will extract all the potential of Clio Rally4 and compete for the FIA ERC3 and FIA ERC3 Junior titles. Clio Rally4 has been designed to become the new two-wheel-drive benchmark, and we are confident that they will be able to demonstrate this year."
2021 FIA ERC Calendar
18-20 June: 77th Rally Poland (gravel)
1-3 July: Rally Liepaja (gravel)
23-25 July: Rally di Roma Capitale (tarmac)
27-29 August: 50th Barum Czech Rally Zlin (tarmac)
16-18 September: 55th Azores Rallye (gravel)
1-3 October: Rally Serras de Fafe e Felgueiras (gravel)
22-24 October: Rally Hungary (tarmac)
18-20 November: Rally Islas Canarias (tarmac)