Particularly unpredictable this weekend, the weather wore on the nerves of the Clio Cup France drivers. Perfectly controlling the field in race one, Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) continued his winning streak in the streets of Pau. Stopped before the scheduled race length, Pierre-Etienne Chaumat (TB2S) took top honours in race two.
To get used to the most difficult track layout of the season, the Clio Cup France had two collective tests. On Friday evening, it was under clear skies that Nicolas Milan posted the fastest time ahead of GPA Racing’s Dorian Guldenfels and David Pouget. The following morning, Dorian Guldenfels continued his strong form on a still dry track surface. He led from the two TB2S drivers, Thibaut Bossy and Pierre-Etienne Chaumat.
RACE 1 : A GOOD EVENING FOR MILAN
Contested in the rain, qualifying confirmed what had been the hierarchy up until now. Nicolas Milan won the pole by 0.6s from David Pouget. Thibaut Bossy and Dorian Guldenfels shared row two.
Scheduled for 19:57, the race started behind the safety car due to a heavy downpour of rain in Pau. With their headlamps on, the Clio Cup cars put in three slow laps before the race finally got underway!
When the safety car pulled off, Milan held onto the lead ahead of Pouget, Bossy and Guldenfels. Pierre-Etienne Chaumat got past Yoann Baziret a little too quickly and the race director put the TB2S driver under investigation. This didn’t hamper him from starting a battle for fourth place with Anthony Jurado (Setup Racing) and Benoit Castagné (Raiwoit Racing). Anthony Jurado made contact with Benoit Castagné and Pierre-Etienne Chaumat took advantage to overtake !
The conditions remained precarious and David Pajot paid the price : the Vic’Team driver went straight off at the Gare corner to end his race in the tyre barrier. His car had just barely been evacuated when David Bouet (Autosport GP), who made contact with Pierre Tierce (Tierce Racing), did the same thing.
Just like Julien Caussade (Pole Position 81), Pierre-Etienne Chaumat was given a drive-through penalty for not respecting the safety car procedure. The two drivers did not serve their penalties and were disqualified after the race.
While the gaps gradually increased between Milan, Pouget and Bossy, the situation was still uncertain in the chase group. Jurado lost precious time when he got sideways and Guldenfels had his hands full to keep Castagné behind him.
Nicolas Milan crossed the finish line with a 2.3s margin of victory from David Pouget. Thibaut Bossy held on for third place despite the return of Dorian Guldenfels. Finishing behind Benoit Castagné, Anthony Jurado won the Junior category. Julien Baziret (Setup Racing), Corentin Tierce (Tierce Racing) and two Gentlemen category drivers : Stéphane Auriacombe (Tierce Racing) and Mickaël Carrée (T2CM) completed the top ten.
RACE 2 : A NICE SHOWER FOR CHAUMAT
Stung by his misadventure from the day before, Pierre-Etienne Chaumat took his first pole in Clio Cup France. On a dry track, the gaps tightened with 0.8s covering the top ten. At the end of a stout battle, Guldenfels qualified second ahead of Thibaut Bossy and Nicolas Milan.
The rain returned and race 2 began after two laps behind the safety car. But the track was so slippery that Yohann Baziret lost control of his car before the race even started !
When the race did get underway, Chaumat held on to the lead ahead of Guldenfels, Bossy, Milan, Pouget, Pierre Tierce, Castagné, Alexandre Gadois (Autosport GP), Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition), David Bouet (Autosport GP) and Corentin Tierce.
The most adventurous pilots got stuck in and the Tierce twins simultaneously paid the price: Pierre – who put in his best ever qualifying run in Clio Cup France with the 6th best time – was passed by Benoit Castagné, while Corentin couldn’t hold off Anthony Jurado, who wasted no time in also getting around Bouet!
On lap six, Samuel Raffin (Autosport GP) slammed into the wall at Pont Oscar. His Clio Cup blocked the track and Adeline Prudent (Prudent Compétition), Alexandre Ducos (GPA Racing) as well as those behind managed to stop in time. Race officials had no choice but to wave the red flag.
Medical exams revealed Samuel Raffin suffered a broken leg. The Lyon native was in good spirits and the entire Renault Sport team and everyone in the Clio Cup France paddock wish him a speedy recovery.
11:42 remained on the clock. When the race resumed, Pierre-Etienne Chaumat’s car refused to start behind the safety car. Thibaut Bossy tried to push his team mate, but this obviously forbidden move provoked a second red flag, which this time brought the race to an end, while Bossy was disqualified.
Less than 75% of the race distance was run, which resulted in half points being rewarded for round race four of the season. Nicolas Milan now leads the in the general classification ahead of Benoit Castagné, Anthony Jurado, Dorian Guldenfels and Thibaut Bossy. Jurado also leads the Junior standings ahead of Corentin Tierce and Adeline Prudent, while Stéphane Auriacombe has a commanding lead in the Gentlemen category.
The next round of the Clio Cup France will take place in Spain on the Ricardo Tormo de Valencia circuit on June 23 and 24.