Renault Clio Press League 2022: our experience in Misano

Renault Clio Press League 2022: our experience in Misano

Renault Clio Press League 2022

The fifth stage of the Clio Cup at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli ended this weekend on the dates of 3-4 and 5 June 2022, valid in this case only for the Italian classification.

The Clio Cup is one of the most hard-fought and spectacular motorsport events ever, where competitors have the opportunity to compete against each other with absolutely identical cars. It is a single-brand trophy “accessible to all” due to the particularly low costs compared to other championships. The car can be purchased ready on the track directly from Renault and is equipped with a 4-cylinder turbo engine of 1,330 cc, 200hp, 300Nm of torque and with a weight of only 1,030 kg; i The gearbox is a sequential Sadev 5-speed frontal engagement, contrary to the previous one with the traditional paddles on the steering wheel. We then have Mc Pherson suspension at the front and 17-inch wheels with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup tires.

Each stage is divided into two races with related free practice and qualifying and we at Motorlabs, invited to the Press League, have had the opportunity to participate in race 1 on Saturday 4 June after the free trial and qualification and we tell you about our incredible experience.

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It was enough to get into the cockpit and with the car off I immediately reset all my beliefs. This is a real racing car at a very affordable price that I remember being around € 44,000 excluding VAT ready on the track. Inside the passenger compartment, the roll bar reigns supreme and the intrusive structure still provides a certain degree of safety in the event of an accident. I find myself sitting really low, the eyes are not that much out of the line of the steering wheel. | this car. | ); } I am beckoned to get ready and in terrifying heat I find myself dressing in a fireproof undergarment that I would perhaps use only to go skiing, plus a whole overalls, gloves and helmet. In the summer this is the only really negative note but the emotion immediately swept away this feeling of heat.

I lift the battery disconnect button, turn the key and the car starts with a dark and deep sound. I am firmly anchored to the seat with 4-point belts that prevent movements that go outside of the guide. With the clutch pressed, I push the gear lever down hard to engage first gear and, like on a production car, I gently release the clutch by pressing the accelerator a little and the car jolts almost going to stop. I suppose the clutch is copper and I immediately understand that I have to keep it very high to make it move or I would immediately find myself making a fool of myself.

Raising the pace a little, the tires warm up immediately and the car begins to have crazy stability even at the rear.

The car is rigid and very communicative, I quickly get to grips with it. I immediately get used to the gear lever so high that it touches the back of my right hand on the steering wheel, I find it fantastic and very fast in the changes that do not require the use of the clutch even to downshift, personally I also prefer it to the classic paddles, but you have to insert the gears in a decisive manner.

Convinced that I have already understood almost everything about the car, I begin to give it my all but I still don't know the track well and I struggle to understand in which gear to tackle some corners.

I do some experiments and I immediately realize that the decisive braking is not very good because the car has the brake servo but rightly does not have ABS, so I find myself with smoking wheels and in stretches and unwanted understeer. The thing that surprises me most, however, is that by letting go of the brake and pressing the accelerator it seems that the car pulls out its claws and immediately regains grip.

I do not deny that I would like to have a few more horsepower but I realize that this car is the best thing ever to learn to ride on the track. I usually drive a 275hp Megane RS and the impression is that from the point of view of thrust they are not very different. Maybe a little bit of extension is missing, but the lightness and grip of this clio make it seem dancing between the curbs compared to my Megane.

With each lap I notice that my previous time is improving a little and I start to gas myself but fatigue and dehydration are starting to be felt. In one of the last laps for the only test at my disposal I face the last curve of the straight by tightening the curb too much and so I take the 7cm yellow one with the front left wheel, the car lifts a lot, the rear begins to turn inexorably and I find myself pointing the wall of the straight with my nose. After a series of spectacular counter-steers and pendulums, I end up in the lead, but managing to finish with the car straight on the track, earning the nickname of Tokyo Drift for the whole weekend. All good luckily and with the car without a scratch.

After the 30-minute practice session I had a hard time getting out of the car, I was dehydrated, my head was spinning. I immediately understood why professionals train a lot, it is really essential as well as drinking a lot before entering the track. This is how I conclude my first ever test on a racing car with my best time of 1.58.7 at 4.8 seconds from the best time of the first, the very good Felice Jelmini.

Before the afternoon qualifiers they suggest a less dirty pace. I get into the car a little tried by the morning experience but with a great desire to experience another type of cleaner driving. I try with this approach but at the end of qualifying I find myself with a 1.59.1 at a distance of 5.8 seconds from the first but without any particular incident.

The Saturday of the race arrives, needless to say that I had hardly slept at all and the emotion was very strong, I had a mix of conflicting emotions as if I were about to make a dream come true but at the same time I was wondering who I was had made do. I have probably bored and overwhelmed with questions those of Team Oregon who have been very patient with me, things that I have always seen on TV and to which I have never paid particular attention seemed fundamental to me at that time.

After drinking liters of water I find myself on the track warming up the tires and preparing to position myself on the grid. I gave birth last but it was as if I was on board a Formula 1, I saw a large audience in the stands, the concentration was very high. Needless to say, having never tried a start, I found myself doing the most wrong thing of all, that is to pull off the clutch suddenly and go full throttle, then trying to recover the inexorable skidding of the front wheels.

This is how my first race begins where for the first few laps I was behind the group, then out of desire to overdo it I began to lengthen the braking points and I found myself in very serious mistakes that made me lose precious seconds. In the end I finished the race twenty-second out of 25 and although I would have hoped to do better and I am happy to have brought the whole car back to the Oregon Team and to have finished my race.

What I can say to conclude sharing this incredible experience of mine is that the Clio Cup is certainly one of the best ways to enter this world, which unlike karts really puts you in a racing car without the prohibitive costs of other competitions of this type.

It is really a car to start with because it is sincere, "easy" and communicative and can give you the right preparation to access the most important championships without missing any component. Once on board, he does not regret anything and will make you get off with a big smile. I can't wait to be able to ride it again and maybe even go a little better with a little more experience.

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