While its sister car, Twingo Renaultsport 133, continues to delight drivers on both road and track, the new R2 rally version got off to an equally auspicious start recently, taking its first international victory at the Pirelli International Rally, based in Carlisle.
In the impressive hands of rising Finnish star Jarkko Nikara, the 160hp Twingo Renaultsport R2 blasted to class victory in Cumbria, over five minutes ahead of his nearest class rival, and an impressive 7th place overall.
What made the win even more impressive was the less than perfect event build-up. In fact, the weekend started a lot earlier than planned for the committed partnerships of Jarkko Nikara/ Jarno Ottman and Matti Rantanen/ Mikko Lukka, who, as a result of the volcanic ash conditions, had to drive 2,500km from Finland to just get to the event.
Weary from the journey, Jarkko Nikara and team mate Matti Rantanen, in the pair of Autosport Technology Twingo R2s managed to still set a blistering pace through the Kielder complex, trading fastest BRC R2 times.
However, Matti’s event was curtailed on SS5 when he suffered a puncture causing him to slide into a ditch.
Jarkko’s event was not without problems, his car developing a hydraulic problem which meant the 23-year-old had to drive eighty per cent of the event without a clutch.
Team engineer, Richard Asquith, was delighted with the performance of both cars and drivers, “The stages were challenging, typical of Kielder Forest, but the Twingo R2 stood up extremely well. Obviously, we had the clutch problem and Matti’s puncture was disappointing but the overall competitiveness of our team was outstanding and Jarkko’s result was a just reward for a superb mature drive. To achieve the Twingo R2’s first International victory for Renault Sport is very special for us all.”
Jarkko was equally pleased with his event, “This is my first time in Kielder and it has been great experience to drive these stages. I’m delighted to achieve such a fantastic result for the Team and Renault Sport.”
The team are now preparing for a tarmac test prior to the Jim Clark Rally in Scotland on 28th/ 29th May.
More information on the complete range of Renault Sport road, track and rally cars, is available at www.renault-sport.com.