The Renault Clio Rally3 Is Almost Ready To Rally

If you’re a true petrolhead and a fan of rally racing, then buckle up and read on as Renault has unveiled the Clio Rally3, their latest and most advanced rally car yet!

Developing The Renault Clio Rally3

After extensive research and dedication, Renault has completed the final stage of development on the Clio Rally3 which represents the latest in motorsport engineering. Its robust, yet agile build quality is specially designed to tackle some of the toughest terrains and could rival the best of the best.

Unbeknownst to many, the Clio Rally3 is, in fact, the automaker’s first-ever four-wheel-drive rally car. The new Renault Clio Rally3 will be a welcomed addition to the world of rallying, bringing with it a combination of performance and agility that will make it a formidable competitor on any rally stage. Its powertrain is designed for maximum acceleration, while its lightweight chassis ensures superior handling capabilities.

Yann Paranthoën, the chief engineer of Renault Customer Racing, revealed that the design of the Clio Rally3 began in September 2021 but it wasn’t smooth sailing. They experienced some challenges in sourcing certain materials, such as aluminium and steel. Once they resolved the supply chain issues, testing began to measure reliability on rough surfaces which allowed Renault engineers to accurately assess the vehicle’s durability.

Testing The Renault Clio Rally3

Testing was conducted over 4500km on asphalt and gravel surfaces in France and Spain, with driving duties split between several drivers including this year’s Italian Rally champion Andrea Crugnola and Jean-Baptiste Franceschi. The official unveiling of the car will take place on January 15 at the Pas de la Casa Circuit in Andorra, and it will become available for competition shortly thereafter.

Paranthoën noted that the stress on the Clio Rally3 during its first test revealed several problems and cracks, but these were minor. They also worked on the dampers and different setups to improve the reliability and performance of the car despite already being in good shape before testing began.

The car was further improved with a sump guard and better gravel protection to accommodate for the differences between four-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive. Subsequent to the modifications, the upgraded version showed a marked improvement compared to the initial test vehicle earlier this year.

One of the main focal points in developing the Clio Rally3 was the rear wing, which was the brainchild of the Alpine Formula 1 team in Enstone. Since they had the new rear wing during the last three test sessions, the engine changed a few times in-between tests which required additional mapping.

“We tested at least 250 different maps between the first test and the last test so there’s a big difference in terms of mapping and therefore in terms of engine performance,” said Paranthoën.

Two Tough Contenders In Rally3

While M-Sport Poland’s Ford Fiesta has a proven track record in rallying and is the likely benchmark for any development, Paranthoën confirmed that Renault did not simply use the Fiesta as the base for creating the Clio and that they did their own development work.

It is difficult to compare the Clio and the Fiesta during the development process because there isn’t enough time to do a thorough comparison. It’s near-impossible to do several runs with both vehicles while focusing on developing the Clio Rally3.

Although details are limited, they did reveal that the Clio Rally3 has four cylinders as opposed to three which results in a glorious rumble from underneath the bonnet. There are also some tweaks to the chassis and bodywork which could make a difference in performance as well.

In closing, Paranthoën said: “I think, for me, for example on a Tarmac rally like Roma in ERC or something like this I think the Clio will be stronger. But on the rallies on gravel like Poland or Latvia, I think the fight will be nice to see because the Fiesta is really fast already on this kind of road and the Renault has to prove what she’s able to do.”

Final Thoughts

Rallying is one of the most exhilarating motorsport events in the world and with its combination of high speeds and technical driving, it’s no wonder millions of fans tune into races every year.

From the available information, 31 drivers tested the Clio Rally3 with 16 of those expressing an intention to buy the car while a further 14 were very interested. If all goes to plan, the Clio Rally3 will be homologated by the FIA in April 2023.

Yann Paranthoën expressed his confidence that the Clio Rally3 will be a best seller due to its good performance, reliability, and low running costs. The car has already been ordered by French teams Chazel and Fun Meca Sport, and Renault hopes to manufacture more than 30 cars in the coming year.

The Clio Rally3 won’t be eligible for Junior WRC but can compete in the WRC3 class, as well as Rally4 and Rally5 versions of the Clio already on offer.

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