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Turkish Rally Champ Volkan Isik Turns Ice into Fire at Clio Trophy Opener

In an electrifying display of skill and strategy, two-time Turkish Rally Champion Volkan Isik (Puzzle Motorsport) blazed through the icy tracks of the 2024 Clio Ice Trophy’s opening round, leading the pack with a blend of performance and consistency. Isik’s expert maneuvers secured him maximum intermediate points in qualifying, positioning him atop the general classification, despite spirited victories by teammates Antonio Otero (Puzzle Motorsport) and Charlie Freard (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) in the finals.

The third season of the Clio Ice Trophy kick-started on Saturday, featuring the first of four adrenaline-pumping events. Sixteen drivers tackled a challenging 754-meter counter-clockwise track at the Pas de la Casa Circuit, with the Andbank GSeries unveiling its first configuration amid perfect snow conditions at an elevation of 2,400 meters. Antonio Otero set an early benchmark with a blistering lap of 56.114s, edging out Daniel Del Villar (Puzzle Motorsport) and Guillermo Millan (Driveland) in the initial group.

The first qualifying session witnessed a thrilling reshuffle at the top, with Christophe Casanova (Casanova Sport Auto) and Daniel Del Villar seizing control. The pole positions for the A and B Finals went to Del Villar and Casanova, respectively, with Otero, Isik, and Yannick Francisci (Casanova Sport Auto) rounding out the top five.

Q2’s six-lap time challenge underscored the importance of both speed and steadiness. Here, Isik’s prowess shone the brightest, leading the pack by a mere 0.331s. His impeccable performance earned him a full 15 points, navigating through a fiercely competitive top five separated by less than four seconds.

The B Final saw a dramatic start with Christophe Casanova losing his lead, allowing Antonio Otero to clinch first place, followed closely by Quentin Ribaud (WRM by Chanoine Motorsport / SRD Racing) and Ercan Kazaz (Puzzle Motorsport). Despite Guillermo Millan’s valiant efforts, the leading trio remained unchallenged till the end.

The A Final was no less dramatic. Daniel Del Villar, starting on pole, quickly lost his lead to Charlie Freard, who surged ahead from fourth to first place using his rallycross experience. Freard managed to fend off his rivals, clinching victory ahead of Isik, who impressively overtook Del Villar on the fourth lap. The race saw intense competition for the fourth position, eventually claimed by Alex Queralto (Brunet Competition) and Yannick Francesci.

Isik’s remarkable performance in Q2 and his second place in the A Final catapulted him to the lead in the Clio Ice Trophy, four points clear of Antonio Otero and six ahead of

Charlie Freard. The circuit will reconvene next Saturday for the second round at the Pas de la Casa Circuit, promising more thrills and potential upsets in the early season rankings.

Reflecting on his fiery debut, Volkan Isik shared, “Today marked my first encounter with both Andorra and the Clio. I absolutely relished the challenge on the Pas de la Casa Circuit. To conclude the first round leading the general classification is like the cherry on top of a very frosty cake. Immense gratitude goes to the Puzzle Motorsport team for their unwavering dedication and to the Clio Ice Trophy organizers for their heartwarming hospitality. A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved!”

General classification – Round 1/4
1. Volkan Isik 36 points
2. Antonio Otero 32 points
3. Charlie Freard 30 points
4. Daniel Del Villar 30 points
5. Quentin Ribaud 25 points
6. Yannick Francisci 22 points
7. Ercan Kazaz 20 points
8. Christophe Casanova 20 points
9. Guillermo Millan 16 points
10. Alex Queralto 14 points
11. Alain Cusimano 8 points
12. Markel De Zabaleta 8 points
13. Pierre Vivier 5 points
14. Jordi Queralto 5 points
15. Gautier Sarhy 4 points
16. Paul Trojani 3 points

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