With its new lap record, the Clio RS Trophy is a little faster than a lot of old cars, such as the Evo 6, B6 Audi RS4, Aston Martin DB7 GT and the BMW X6 M. We don't consider the fact that the SLK 55 AMG is a second slower all that important either.
But, crucially, this achievement proves that Renault makes the most track-focused B-segment (sub-compact) production car.
The fast lap was set by a man going by the name of Christian Gebhardt, who is an editor for Sport Auto. He believes the limited slip diff (e-diff) and special sports suspension made all the difference in the world.
Additionally, the same magazine also tested all the major players in the hot supermini segment. Without that happening, we wouldn't be able to call the Clio No.1. MINI's John Cooper Works came second after the Renault, despite having a bigger engine with more power. It achieved a lap time of 8:35 minutes.
The brand new Opel Corsa OPC was third with a time of 8:40. The Opel is equipped with a sporty exhaust and a mechanical limited slip differential, but maybe the tuning wasn't perfect for this track. Last came Audi's S1, with a time of 8:41. This quattro car is the pig of this competition, so we're not surprised that it's slower on the track, just like the Golf R.
Neither the Ibiza Cupra nor the Polo GTI was benchmarked, but they lack the power and technology to set a benchmark time. Renault has a long history of making fast cars, especially in the small segment.
Many believed the old spirit was killed when engineers installed a twin-clutch gearbox, but the flame has been rekindled by this latest achievement.