Renault Sport and Clio R3T join the WRC3 in Portugal

Renault Sport Technologies opens its WRC3 World Rally Championship campaign at Rally de Portugal. Andrea Crugnola and Michele Ferrara will compete in a Clio R3T, prepared by ASM H. Motorsport. The ambitious goal of winning the title by the end of the season means the Italian crew will be aiming to score heavily in the Iberian Peninsula.

After making a successful start to its competitive career at a number of high-profile events throughout Europe at the end of 2014, Renault Clio R3T now enters the World Rally Championship! Competing on behalf of Renault Sport Technologies, Andrea Crugnola and Michele Ferrara will drive a car prepared by ASM H. Motorsport. One of the leading models in the two-wheel drive category, Clio R3T is now aiming to win in the WRC 3.

The Vodafone Rally de Portugal (21-24 May) is the first event on Renault Sport’s WRC3 programme. A WRC event since the inaugural championship in 1973, the Portuguese round had moved to the south of the country in recent years, to the Algarve region. This year sees the rally return to the north of Portugal, close to Porto and the Douro valley. The ceremonial start will be held in Guimarães, before three days of intense competition on an abrasive surface and in front what are expected to be large crowds, before the rally concludes with the legendary and immensely popular Fafe stage.

To prepare as effectively as possible, the Clio R3T Renault Sport crew took part in two pre-event test days last week in Spain. Andrea Crugnola and Michele Ferrara, who were already familiar with the car after competing in it towards the end of 2014, were therefore able to fine-tune the set-up of the Clio R3T to suit the demands of the Vodafone Rally de Portugal stages. Despite the high-quality, competitive line-up, the duo are aiming to top the timesheets in the WRC3. The demanding nature of this rally nonetheless calls for a degree of modesty.

“We would like to start our programme by putting down some solid foundations,” commented Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Technologies’ Director of Motorsport. “We want to produce the best possible performance but we also want to bed in our package, with the crew, the car, the preparation outfit and Renault Sport Technologies. We have potential on all these levels, so it’s up to us to get the most of that. Everything is in place for us to have a strong rally, but first and foremost, the goal is to make a good start to our campaign. Clio R3T has racked up some strong performances on gravel and tarmac, so we hope to do well on both surfaces this season.”

Programme (UTC+1):
Thursday, 21 May
7.01pm: SS1 – Lousada (3.36km)

Friday, 22 May
9.40am: SS2 – Ponte de Lima (27.53km)
10.25am: SS3 – Caminha (18.05km)
11.15am: SS4 – Viana do Costelo (18.76km)
2.50pm: SS5 – Ponte de Lima (27.53km)
3.35pm: SS6 – Caminha (18.05km)
4.25pm: SS7 – Viana do Costelo (18.76km)

Saturday, 23 May
8.54am: SS8 – Baião (18.57km)
9.35am: SS9 – Marão (26.46km)
11.02am: SS10 – Fridão (37.67km)
2.39pm: SS11 – Baião (18.57km)
3.20pm: SS12 – Marão (26.46km)
4.47pm: SS13 – Fridão (37.67km)

Sunday, 24 May
8.05am: SS14 – Fafe (11.15km)
8.50am: SS15 – Vieira do Minho (32.35km)
11.08am: SS16 – Fafe – Power Stage (11.15km)
2.30pm: Prize-giving ceremony (podium)

source: Renault Sport