Four young talents are all set to battle for the inaugural Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT on the title-deciding Rally Hungary from today with an exciting prize-drive opportunity also up for grabs.
After four rounds of the arrive-and-drive series for the Clio Rally5 run by Toksport WRT on MICHELIN tyres, three-time winner Andrea Mabellini from Italy leads the provisional standings by 22 points ahead of Argentina’s Paulo Soria, who won the season opener. Ghjuvanni Rossi is two points behind in third, while his fellow Frenchman Bastien Bergounhe is fourth, six points adrift of Rossi.
But with double points on offer for the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT contenders on Rally Hungary, all of the leading quartet can take the title and the prize drive on three rounds of the 2022 ERC season in a Clio Rally4 run by Toksport WRT.
Andrea Mabellini (22, Italy), Co-driver: Virginia Lenzi (Italy)
Position: First Points: 87
The circuit racer turned rally driver won the Abarth Rally Cup within the FIA European Rally Championship at his first attempt in 2020 also placed runner-up in ERC2. Starting out racing online, Mabellini’s determination to continue competing and gaining experience in the ERC brought the qualified plumber to the inaugural Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT.
Andrea Mabellini: “We are here to win and we have to finish third, that’s it. It’s not easy but we try to manage it and finish in this place, it’s our goal for the weekend. I already tried the new Clio Rally4, I like the car and I will be happy if we win this title because we have three races in the ERC next year with that car so it could be a road for our career.”
Paulo Soria (27, Argentina), Co-driver: Marcelo Der Ohannesian (Argentina)
Position: Second Points: 65
Soria travelled from South America to contest the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT this season, such is the international appeal of the series and the ERC. A class champion back on home soil, Soria spent three seasons competing with Renault power in Argentina.
Paulo Soria: “For sure we can win, we did a very good recce and the plan is to fight for the title. It would be a dream come true and three races in a Clio Rally4 next season if I won.”
Ghjuvanni Rossi (21, France), Co-driver: Baptiste Volpei (France)
Position: Third Points: 63
Rossi’s Renault affiliation began on last season’s Rallye Mont-Blanc Morzine, which marked the competition debut of the Clio Rally5. He’s been a regular in one of the French machines ever since and was Clio Rally5-powered when he contested Rallye Monte-Carlo in January. Like compatriot Bergounhe, Rossi was new to the ERC for 2021.
Ghjuvanni Rossi: “I don’t say if I can win but we do the best to win, to do a good result and we see at the final of the rally. It would be very beautiful to win the title but it’s not done.”
Bastien Bergounhe (20, France), Co-driver: Mathieu Descharne (France)
Position; Fourth Points: 57
Based in Aveyron in the south of France, the student has been competing for two seasons but had never previously competed outside his homeland before. He has ambitions to become a world champion once he’s built up more experience. Co-driver Descharne is a teacher when he’s not rallying.
Bastien Bergounhe: “We have the possibility to win but we have to see how the rally goes for us and what we can do. If we win we are here again in the ERC next year and that would be a great opportunity but a big challenge as well. I would also discover a new car in a new category.”
Despite showing plenty of pace during the season, several incidents of bad luck means Yigit Timur is out of contention for the title although the Turkish driver will still be one to watch this weekend. However, along with Bergounhe, Rossi and Soria, Timur has no knowledge of the challenging Rally Hungary stages so will face a mission of discovery this weekend.
Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT explained
Accessible arrive-and-drive rallying has come to the FIA European Rally Championship for the first time this year with the creation of the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT.
A joint initiative from Renault Sport Racing, FIA European and world title-winning team Toksport WRT and ERC promoter Eurosport Events, the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT uses a format new to the ERC.
On all events, Toksport WRT brings a fleet of identical, MICHELIN-equipped, competition-ready Renault Clio Rally5 cars. Each car is housed within a dedicated service park structure where they are prepared and maintained by an expert team of technicians from Toksport WRT to ensure complete equality.
Each driver gets their fuel allowance and 12 MICHELIN tyres for use on each event with Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT drivers also eligible for FIA ERC3 points.
A lucrative prize money pool is up for grabs on all rounds for the top four classified finishers (€4000, €2000, €1000, €500). Meanwhile, there is no maximum age limit to encourage a wide spectrum of participants. A prize drive on three rounds of the 2022 ERC season in a Clio Rally4 run by Toksport WRT goes to the eventual winner.