According to some sources, Renault has no idea what to do with their Formula 1 programme. We know very well what we would do in their place – sell everything and switch over to rallying, but apparently things are not that simple in real world. In the end, Renault is probably going to buy one of the smaller F1 teams and try their luck as a full manufacturer team once again. Do we wish them luck or a quick demise, hoping that they may eventually turn to special stages and gravel and dust instead of being involved in never ending political mess that if Formula 1. Ideally, companies would be able to run few programmes simultaneously, but in reality that is not often the case anymore. Renault currently seems to be very focused on Nissan’s WEC entry and this Formula 1 thing could see them run a factory team in not too distant future, but is there a room for rallying as well? Not for now, but things could change. Actually, they might be changing already, even though this is baby steps we’re talking about here.
Renault Clio R3T, based on current generation road car and determined to continue in the footsteps of its successful predecessor, debuted last year and in 2015 it will be a star of a new trophy. The concept is quite interesting and inovative.
“Clio R3T European Trophy will allow competitors to put together bespoke programmes. Participants can choose to compete in one of several geographical areas evenly distributed across Europe. Each area will have its own schedule of five local events and an international leg. In addition to the six rallies in each area, drivers can also add the result of an international event held in a different location.
“Come the end of the 2015 campaign, the drivers who have amassed most points in each area and in the international category will face off in a final round held as part of the prestigious 2016 Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo.
“The points scored during the 2015 season and in Monte Carlo will be added together to give the final Clio R3T European Trophy overall standings, with the winner then taking part in six 2016 WRC3 events at the wheel of a Clio R3T decked out in the Renault Sport colours.”
First event of this exciting new series is right around the corner, Rally Il Ciocco e Valle del Serchio (21-22 March). Five crews will take part in this event. Three-time European Champion, Luca Rossetti will compete against a formidable line-up of rivals. Giacomo Scattolon – Italian Junior Champion; Ivan Ferrarotti – winner of the Italian Clio R3 Trophy; Fabrizio Andolfi Jr is the runner-up in the same Italian series and finally Aleks Humar (Slovenia) is, and I can confirm that as I’ve seen this man drive, one of the most talented and fastest European rally drivers in this class.
Let’s return once again to one of the most interesting bits of this news: The overall winner will be rewarded with a works programme in the WRC3 in a Clio R3T. To me that means Renault colors will return to WRC scene, even if “only” in WRC3 capacity for now. Great news!
Forthcoming Clio R3T European Trophy rallies:
27-29 March: Epernay – Vins de Champagne (France)
8-11 April: Sanremo (Italy)
17-18 April: Critérium Jurassien (ALPS)
25 April: Rallye Sierra Castelo Branco (Portugal)
25-27 April: Rallye de Wallonie (Belgium)