As is tradition, the Clio Cup France will kick-off its new campaign at the Coupes de Pâques in Nogaro (April 18-22). 31 drivers will try to dethrone defending champion Nicolas Milan, who has won the title five times in the last ten years.
Following an intense 2018 season, punctuated by a heart-stopping final with Nicolas Milan taking an historic fifth crown, the Clio Cup France returns to action at Circuit Paul Armagnac.
Clio Cup France winner in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2018, Nicolas Milan puts his title back on the line. 12 months ago at this same circuit, the driver-team owner got his season off to a good start in sharing the wins and runner-up finishes with Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing by GM Sport), who will be more determined than ever to get his revenge and he will give it everything he has to add his name to the record books.
In addition to these two protagonists from last year, a close eye must be kept on Thibaut Bossy (TB2S), who won both races at Nogaro in 2017. This other driver-team owner pulled off a coup in recruiting Dorian Guldenfels, who took the pole at Nogaro and won the Junior category in 2017. Fourth in 2018, the Mulhouse native sets his sights on the tile this year.
Veteran David Pouget and his GPA Racing team are also back to try to dethrone the Clio Cup France record-winner on a track they know very well and where they should be running upfront.
Junior category winner last year, Corentin Tierce (Tierce Racing) will now try to close the gap to the category leaders, as will Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S) and Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition), who was in the top ten in his maiden season in the Clio Cup France.
Mathieu Lannepoundenx (Milan Compétition), Lionel Viguier (TB2S), Emmanuel Alliot (Emma Compétition), Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) and Jérôme Da Ros (Tierce Racing) are other familiar faces in the field but it will be interesting to follow the progress of Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Antoine Prétin (GPA Racing), who were on pace in their debuts in 2018.
The field will be completed by Javier Cicuendez (Team VRT), Jean-Philippe Laurent (Autosport GP) and Jérémy Bordagaray (Borda Rallye Team), who has stood out in the Clios in the Coupe de France des Rallyes since 2010.
JUNIORS: WIDE OPEN!
Five young drivers have signed up to succeed Corentin Tierce. Second at Nogaro and a double winner at Castellet, Edwin Traynard (Autosport GP) will figure among the favourites, although he best not underestimate Loïc Brondeau (TB2S), who came up just short of a podium result a year ago at Nogaro, or newcomer Antoine Prenveille (Team Prenveille).
The performances of Marc De Fulgencio (Team VRT), who is not eligible to score points, have also been emulated since the Spaniard will now be accompanied by his countryman Luis Gonzalez.
GENTLEMEN READY TO FIGHT!
David Pajot (Vic’Team) will defend his title against a field as stout as ever led by Mickaël Carrée (T2CM), who is determined to retake the crown he lost in 2018. As always, Stéphane Auriacombe (Tierce Racing), Samuel and Emmanuel Raffin (Autosport GP) should also figure in the battle as fearsome adversaries.
Veenesh Shunker (CVS Auto) and Samuel Chaligne (SC Sport) make their return to the field with high ambitions, but surely not as high as those of David Quichante (Autosport GP). After a serious accident, the former top-level freeride skier and bmx racer was coached by Gilles Zaffini and his team for two years and successfully passed all the extraction exercises necessary to become the first paraplegic driver to compete in the Clio Cup France!
Friday April 19
10:05-10:35 - Private test 1
16:40-17:10 - Private test 2
Saturday April 20
8:00-8:30 - Private test 3
17:00-17:30 - Private test 4
Sunday April 21
10:10-10:30 - Qualifying 1
18:05-18:35 - Race 1 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Monday April 22
8:50-9:10 - Qualifications 2
15:15-15:45 - Race 2 (25 minutes + 1 lap)