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Renault Returns to Rallying in Australia with the Renault Sport Clio R3

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VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA – Feb 15,2013: More than 40 years ago, Renault was the brand to beat in rallying in Australia.

In 1970, the plucky rear-engined Renault R8 Gordini swept all before it in the hands of a talented team of experts who were crowned Australian Rally Champions at the end of the season.

Success in the mud and gravel as well as on tarmac was echoed on the road, as the showroom showdown of the year saw the new, locally assembled, Renault 12 crowned ‘Wheels Magazine Car of the Year 1970’.

Now Renault Sport is on track to show what it can do to set the 2013 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship alight, with a pair of 2WD Renault Sport Clio R3 factory-built rally cars turning out for the new season in the experienced hands of Scott Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt, and privateer Tom Wilde with co-driver Bill Hayes. Both co-drivers have tasted success at the very highest levels of international rallying in 2011 and 2012, and bring a significant advantage to both Renault teams for 2013.

The cars will be campaigned throughout the season and will be supported by Renault Australia.

“Renault is delighted to be able to return to rallying in Australia in a meaningful way,” says Justin Hocevar, Managing Director of Renault Australia.

“Renault Sport is an icon and hero of motor sport the world over, and we eagerly seized the opportunity to demonstrate the expertise of Renault Sport in competition in Australia. Also it was very timely that a talented and successful driver such as Scott Pedder was available to build a Renault Sport team for us,” he says.

“Motorsport is undoubtedly very close to the heart of all of us at Renault, through our Renault Sport brand, and from the designers at the factory to the technicians at our dealer network around Australia, we all enjoy seeing Renault-powered vehicles take on the competition and win.

“Renault is a dominant force in Formula 1. We notched up our third consecutive World Drivers’ and World Constructors’ Championships at the end of last season, thanks to the efforts of the Renault Sport F1-powered Red Bull Racing team, while in Europe there are Renault Trophy and Renault Clio Cup race series on track, and a full card of rally efforts for our R3 (Renault Sport Clio) and N4 (Renault Sport Mégane based) cars.

“The two 2WD R3 vehicles we have brought to Australia present a feisty, competitive and proven package that will delight ARC fans, with their performance, traction and speed.

“The Renault Sport Clio R3 has been a winner over several seasons in Europe and we are confident that in the talented hands of Scott Pedder and his team, the new front-wheel drive bias to the ARC will see Renault once again out in front,” Hocevar says.

“While of course I am too young to remember Renault celebrating its dramatic and overwhelming successes in the 1970 championship, and its commitment to rallying in that era, I am sure that there are many die-hard rally fans who recall quite clearly the French blue R8 Gordini campaigned by Bob Watson and his crew to outright success.

“We’re here to win, that’s for sure, but also to show off what Renault can do in rallying to a whole new generation of fans.

“The Renault Sport brand has attracted a huge following in recent times, and we’re now the second biggest market in the world for the Mégane Renault Sport 265. That is why the Renault Sport factory has been so keen to help us return to rallying with the R3 cars,” he says.

“You can be sure that Renault is taking motor sport in Australia very seriously and we will roll out even more exciting new vehicles with motorsport intent or motor sport flavour throughout 2013.

“The first act in this play is the National Capital Rally in Canberra (March 1-3), but it will be followed very quickly by the Formula 1 Grand Prix at Albert Park (March 15-17), with more rally-oriented excitement to come soon after that,” Hocevar says.

“I am very excited by the prospect of this ARC season, and I expect the team to be highly competitive. The first round can’t come soon enough.”

Product details and technical Specification 2013 Australia
Year after year, the Clio keeps its wheels firmly gripped to the special stages. After its famous kit-cars and the Super 1600, Renault Sport Technologies launched the Renault Sport Clio R3 in 2007.

Intended for both amateurs and more experienced rally drivers alike, the Renault Sport Clio R3 was exceptionally successful.

The Renault Sport Clio R3 takes its name from the technical regulations defined by the FIA with the aim of encouraging the launch of new, reliable, high-performance models, which are available at a reasonable price.

The objective of the Renault Sport Clio R3 is to offer performance levels close to the Super 1600 for the price of a Group N car. In order to make this brand accessible to as wide a range of drivers as possible, Renault Sport Technologies has designed a very versatile product, capable of performing just as well off-road as on-road without any major modifications.

The Renault Sport Clio R3 mirrors the powerful, thoroughbred design of the road-going Renault Sport Clio, with the main distinctive difference of the competition version being the roof-mounted air intake.

A welded roll cage made from more than 40 metres of steel tube has strengthened the chassis, which is based on a Renault Sport Clio body shell.

The suspension system has a tried and tested setup as standard, but it also allows plenty of scope for fine-tuning, thus making it easier to adapt the vehicle’s performance to all types of terrain.

Under the bonnet, the 2.0-litre, 16V normally aspirated engine has been modified both internally and externally to boost power output to 250bhp (184kW) at 8,400rpm. The four-cylinder engine is connected to a six-speed sequential transmission. A single Electronic Control Unit manages the engine, transmission and data acquisition system.

The driver/passenger compartment has been designed with driving comfort and safety in mind.

The Renault Sport Clio R3 comes equipped with all mandatory safety equipment: bucket seats, six-point harnesses, extinguishers, circuit breakers, etc. The ergonomics of the driving position have been carefully designed, from the gearstick to the hydraulic hand brake lever positioned close to the steering wheel.