56. Azores Rallye was a special one. Not just only because of the results, but with the competition and the spirit. Toksport WRT raced in two categories with eleven Renault Clio’s. Acompanying our 16 pilots racing in Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, there were also additional three Clio Rally4’s prepared and serviced by us raced in RC4 category.
In Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT, stakes were high. Paulo Soria and Ghjuvanni Rossi returned back to their seats in Clio Rally5’s to fight for the title won by Andrea Mabellini last season. Co-piloting them, there will be Marcelo D. Ohannesian alongside Soria and Maxime Martin alongside Rossi. Soria finished second in 2021, while Rossi was also in title contention starting the final round eventually becoming third in the immense battle.
Also, we had six newcomers to Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT line-up for 2022. Giorgio Cogni, the reigning Italian Junior champion joined by Gabriele Zanni, and compatriot Andrea Mazzocchi – Silvia Galotti, will race through the season with young Turkish driver Emre Hasbay co-piloted by Kutay Ertugrul and Hungarian duo Patrik Herczig – Viktor Bán. Sergio Fuentes – Alain Peña also competes in Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT and last but not least, German Reiner Kuhn and Tim Rauber rounds up the list.
With the start of the rally, Soria led from start to finish. Aside from a small incident on Saturday afternoon when his car suffered a broken left-rear damper, he maintained his strong pace. Cogni also backed off during the closing stages to not to risk a safe finish in second place.
After struggling with a damaged tyre on leg one, Sergio Fuentes experienced no further issues to finish third and express his potential for a home victory when the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT resumes on Rally Islas Canairas between 12-14th of May.
Emre Hasbay and Kutay Ertuğrul restarted on leg two after going into a ditch on SS4 to finish fourth. He commented: “We went into a tight corner full of mud quite fast and jumped into a ditch. We could not take the car out, there were no spectators around. It’s a shame because after we put the car on the road we had no mechanical damage so we drove to the finish.”
Andrea Mazzocchi and Silvia Galotti was also back in action after crashing out on Saturday morning. Italian crew won two stages as he fought back to finish fifth. Hungarian teenager Patrik Herczig and Viktor Bán were in fourth place when they rolled into retirement on the penultimate stage.
Furthermore, our Clio Rally4 crews dominated the RC4 category. Starting the rally in third, Anthony Fotia and Arnaud Dunand increased the pace and quickly became second after the third stage. After being disqualified at the season opener, French duo took home maximum points by winning the RC4 category. Last years Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT winners Andrea Mabellini and Virginia Lenzi challenged them, but after puncturing a tyre on stage 12, they did not have much left to do. Also starting his first international event after winning Clio Rally Trophy Turkey last year, Çağlayan Çelik not only gained experience on the Island, but also a podium finish in RC4 category. Racing first time together with highly experienced Sedat Bostancı, they showed promising potential for the future.