The Clio Cup France went on holiday at the conclusion of the doorhandle to doorhandle battles at Circuit Dijon Prenois… The return to competition was even more intense with unforgettable clashes at Magny-Cours! While David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Thibaut Bossy (TB2S) shared the spoils, the suspense remains ahead of the Castellet season finale.
On Friday, the field had two 30-minute sessions to find its bearings on the technically challenging Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours. In the morning, Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing) set the pace with a time of 1:56.393s ahead of Thibaut Bossy, who was then the only driver to do better in the afternoon with a lap clocked at 1:56.379s to lead from Dorian Guldenfels (GPA Racing), who was third in session one.
RACE 1: POUGET-CASTAGNÉ-BOSSY, IN THAT ORDER
In this penultimate meeting of the season, qualifying and the two bonus points up for grabs had added importance. Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) thought he had wrapped up the pole, but Benoît Castagné saved his best for his last run!
The pole winner then got a great start, but Milan found an opening at Adélaïde. Despite his counter-attack, Castagné was passed by Thibaut Bossy while David Pouget and Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S) battled it out.
On lap two, Bossy passed Milan on the inside at Lycée to take the lead. The driver-preparer tried to regain the position, but Castagné was right there. The leaders attacked the Nürburgring chicane three abreast ahead of the still tightly bunched field!
Soon after, Milan was given a drive-through penalty for gaining an advantage following contact with Bossy and a run-off. David Pouget went on the offensive even before the driver-preparer served his penalty. As he tucked in right behind, Pouget made the most of a last minute catch of over-steer by his adversary to take the spot. Soon after Castagné did the same.
On lap eight, Pouget made a move on Bossy, who he took the lead from. Bossy answered two laps later, but Pouget remained determined and tried the outside – to no avail - on lap 12. Castagné made the most of the situation to move up to second, but had nothing for the leader, Bossy!
David Pouget got past the leaders as the race entered the final lap. Despite a final try from Bossy, Pouget held on to take the win ahead of Castagné, who once again surprised Bossy. Behind them, Pierre-Étienne Chaumat (TB2S) and Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S) completed the top five. Dorian Guldenfels fought back to finish sixth after stalling on the grid. Junior category winner Anthony Jurado (Setup Racing) finished seventh overall ahead of Jérémy Curty (TB2S), Yoann Baziret (Setup Racing) and first among the Gentleman drivers, Mickaël Carrée (T2CM).
RACE 2 : BOSSY THE BOSS!
Sunday qualifying was more contested than the Saturday session with David Pouget taking the pole ahead of Corentin Tierce (Tierce Racing), Dorian Guldenfels and Benoît Castagné, with less than 0.06s covering the top four. Nicolas Milan had to settle for fifth place on the grid.
When the lights went out, Corentin Tierce jumped into the lead, but the Junior driver slipped behind Pouget, Castagné and Milan at the end of an opening lap that also saw Anthony Jurado, Lionel Viguier (TB2S) and Pierre Tierce (Tierce Racing) all get caught out.
After several laps behind the safety car, the race resumed with 13 minutes left on the clock. Castagné got alongside Pouget, who resisted the attack at Adélaïde. Milan tried to past them both on the inside, but he could only slot in between the two! Behind, the field was battling and the red flag was shown to remove the Clio Cups of Emmanuel Raffin (Autosport GP), Edwin Traynard (Autosport GP) and Vincent Brunerie (Milan Compétition), who were in a chain-reaction accident just before the Nürburgring chicane.
During the second restart, Milan took the lead at Adélaïde while Castagné was hanging off his back bumper. Meanwhile, Thibaut Bossy found a tiny hole and was door banging with Pouget for his second place position. Overly optimistic in the battle, Castagné had to lift and slid in behind Guldenfels, who then overtook Pouget and caught up to the leading duo.
Bossy took the lead heading into the first corner on the final lap of the race! Milan counter-attacked at Adélaïde, but it wasn’t to be, as did Guldenfels metres down the road. The positions remain the same with Thibaut Bossy taking the win ahead of Nicolas Milan and Dorian Guldenfels! Less than four seconds behind the winner it was David Pouget, Benoît Castagné, Junior driver Corentin Tierce, Pierre-Étienne Chaumat and Guillaume Savoldelli. Behind this extremely compact pack, Yoann Baziret and Luis Gonzalez Martinez (Team VRT) completed the top ten ahead of the highest finishing Gentleman competitor, David Pajot.
In the general classification, Benoît Castagné now has a 10 point lead from Nicolas Milan when taking into account the dismissal of each driver’s worst result. David Pouget and Dorian Guldenfels are next and are still in the title hunt. In the Junior category, everything is still to race for between Anthony Jurado and Corentin Tierce, who is nine points adrift of Jurado. In the Gentleman category, David Pajot holds on to the lead, but Stéphane Auriacombe, Mickaël Carrée and Emmanuel Raffin could still create a surprise.
The next round for the Clio Cup France will be held at Circuit Paul Ricard on November 2-4. All the Clio Cups will also come together for an International Finale, which promises to make some history for the discipline!