Antonio Otero wins the 2024 Clio Ice Trophy

 Antonio Otero wins the 2024 Clio Ice Trophy

Baptiste Panissié (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) posted a perfect score in the Clio Ice Trophy season finale, but Antonio Otero (Puzzle Motorsport) did what it took to win the title. In doing so, the Spanish rally driver celebrated his 42nd birthday in style with his first motorsport title with Renault Clio Rally5.

On the Pas de la Casa Circuit, located at an altitude of 2,400 metres, all eyes were on the four competitors in a position to add their names to the Clio Ice Trophy honours list. Antonio Otero and Yannick Francisci (Casanova Sport Auto) were level on points going into the final round, four points ahead of Charlie Freard (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) with Christophe Casanova (Casanova Sport Auto) still in the hunt.

 

As in the previous week, the format was the same as the first two Clio Ice Trophy seasons so the Andbank GSeries organisers could offer the best possible snow on the 570-metre layout. In free practice, Charlie Freard was quickest in 45.717s ahead of Antonio Otero and Christophe Casanova, while Baptiste Panissié, Yannick Francisci and Guillermo Millan (Driveland) dominated their respective heats.

 

Qualifying marked the first turning point. Antonio Otero set the reference time for Q1 in 44.862s and completed his five laps in 3:48.468s. Only Baptiste Panissié managed to beat the Spaniard's mark by completing qualifying in 3:47.582s to score maximum intermediate points. Antonio Otero, who finished second in Q2, was nevertheless satisfied with his performance giving him a two-point lead over Yannick Francisci and enabled him to distance his other rivals while securing pole position in the A final.

 

The A final featured a duel for the crown between front row starters Antonio Otero and Yannick Francisci. Both contenders knew that victory would be synonymous with the title. Pole winner Antonio Otero got off to a good start unlike his rival. The Spanish driver gradually extended his lead over the five laps to take victory and mathematically seal the title as Gautier Sarhy (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) resisted the attacks of Yannick Francisci. Alain Cusimano (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) finished fourth after Alex Queralto (Brunet Competition) struggled to get away while François Marie Gaffayoli (Casanova Sport Auto) finished sixth after Markel De Zabaleta (Driveland) made a mistake on the final lap.

 

Shortly afterwards, the B Final saw Baptiste Panissié and Charlie Freard battle at the front before the former pulled away to beat his teammate. Christophe Casanova, who was eliminated from the title race after Q2, completed the podium comfortably ahead of Jordi Queralto (Brunet Competition), followed closely by Guillermo Millan (Driveland) and Joaquin Rodrigo (Puzzle Motorsport). Caught out at the start, Pierre Vivier (Casanova Sport Auto) was the final finisher.

 

Baptiste Panissié thus became the third different winner in four rounds this season, with his best time in Q2 and his victory in the B Final. However, the celebrations were even more intense for Antonio Otero, who won the title with a perfect balance between performance and consistency. Second on three round and fifth once in the four meetings on the calendar, the Spaniard also won three finals, more than anyone else this year. He was joined on the season podium by Yannick Francisci and Charlie Freard.

 

In succeeding Romain Di-Fante and Dylan Dufas as Clio Ice Trophy winners, Antonio Otero will receive a full-season entry in one of the Clio Trophies and a prize from Michelin tyres. After a thrilling season marked by the Clio Rally5's exceptional reliability in winter conditions thanks to Castrol's high-performance products, the model is now preparing to take part in the many national and regional trophies dedicated to it across Europe.

 

Antonio Otero: "I'm immensely pleased to have won the third Clio Ice Trophy. It's my first overall title in my motorsport career, so I'm particularly proud of it. I want to thank my Puzzle Motorsport team for all their hard work over the four rounds in Andorra, the sportsmanship displayed by all the competitors and Alpine Racing for organising this trophy. See you in 2025 to defend this crown!”

 

2024 Clio Ice Trophy final standings

1. Antonio Otero 132 points

2. Yannick Francisci 122 points

3. Charlie Freard 120 points

4. Christophe Casanova 80 points

5. Volkan Isik 76 points

6. Alex Queralto 63 points

7. Baptiste Panissié 58 points

8. Alain Cusimano 53 points

9. Guillermo Millan 43 points

10. Jordi Queralto 33 points

11. Sito Español 32 points

12. Pierre Vivier 32 points

13. Daniel Del Villar 30 points

14. Gautier Sarhy 26 points

15. Çaglayan Çelik 26 points

16. Quentin Ribaud 25 points

17. François Marie Gaffayoli 22 points

18. Grégory Fosse 21 points

19. Ercan Kazaz 20 points

20. Markel De Zabaleta 15 points

21. Alex Villacreces 15 points

22. Gustavo Castro 14 points

23. Zosimo Hernandez 13 points

24. Joaquin Rodrigo 8 points

25. Déborrah Marie 5 points

26. Jordi Trilla 5 points

27. Helena Ferrer 5 points

28. Paul Trojani 3 points

29. Sébastien Guigues 3 points

30. Simon Dezoteux 0 point


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