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Reigning champion Conde kickstarts title defence with victory in FIA ecoRally Cup curtain-raiser

  • gb

Eneko Conde got the defence of his FIA ecoRally Cup crown off to the best possible start in last weekend’s Eco Rallye Renomar de la Communitat Valenciana (4-6 March), as he and co-driver Lukas Sergnese proved to be the class of the 25-strong field in Castellón.

The ninth edition of the Spanish event marked the 2022 FIA ecoRally Cup curtain-raiser, with competitors tackling a route of almost 440km from Friday to Sunday.

Participants are strictly amateur drivers in unmodified electric cars (EVs). The final FIA ecoRally Cup result is determined by combining crews’ regularity - staying as close as possible to the average speed through the stages - with their efficiency, which means consuming as little energy as possible along the way.

The cosmopolitan start list featured crews from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and Spain. It was headlined by Conde in his Kia Soul and his 2021 title-winning co-driver Loren Serrano, entered this time as a driver behind the wheel of a Jaguar i-Pace.

All bar one of the 25 entrants were classified at the end of the rally, with Conde and Sergnese leading home Czech duo Michal Žďárský and Jakub Nabelek (Hyundai Kona EV), who placed third in the overall standings last season. In a similar car, Asturian pairing Carla Álvarez and Daniel Remón completed the international podium – their first in the discipline.

Similarly of note was the participation of former Spanish Rally Champion Luis Climent, the Lexus UX 250h driver contesting the Energias Alternativas category in the domestic series.

For the second year in a row, one of the recharging stations was set up in one the biggest wind turbine areas in the region, while competitors were able to get a taste for the local gastronomy courtesy of a cookery demonstration from Miguel Barrera, chef in Michelin-starred restaurant, Cal Paradis.

Round two of the 2022 FIA ecoRally Cup campaign will be the Czech New Energies Rallye.