Sixth then fourth the past two years, Dorian Guldenfels wanted to be in the race for the title in his third campaign in Clio Cup France. The Mulhouse native did more than reach his goal in taking the crown to become at 21 one of the youngest drivers to win the category!
After a sensational debut in taking his first pole position and first podium result in his maiden appearance in 2017, Dorian Guldenfels finished sixth and was the top Junior in just his second season in a car.
The following year he moved to GPA Racing and scored his first victory and finished fourth in the general classification, but then the Alsace native moved to his third team, joining TB2S for this year.
Forced to retire with a mechanical problem on the formation lap while on pole for the first race of the season, Dorian Guldenfels came back strong to take the win the next day. Far from being satisfied, he went on to score a double at Imola and then a fourth victory in five races at Lédenon.
Contraint à l’abandon par un problème mécanique rencontré dès le tour de formation alors qu’il était en pole de la première manche du calendrier, Dorian Guldenfels répliquait superbement en s’imposant le lendemain. Loin d’être rassasié, il enchaînait sur un doublé à Imola, puis une quatrième victoire en cinq courses à Lédenon.
“Imola was my most complete weekend”, says the Mulhouse-based driver. “With help from my team mates I won both races, one in the dry and one in the rain. I also liked Lédenon a lot. Despite a few setbacks, I managed to come back in the first race, then I won ahead of David Pouget to increase our lead. At this moment, I showed that I was in it and I began to tell myself that this could be my season...”
However, nothing can be taken for granted in Clio Cup France and Dorian Guldenfels was going to be aware of this at the next meeting, the first one of the year where he didn’t take a race win. The trend continued at Magny-Cours, where he finished third and fifth again.
“I struggled a lot more in Barcelona, where David Pouget got better start to the second-half of the season in winning both races”, he adds. “His team mate Jordi Palomeras also took a lot of points off of me. I finished third and fifth, and I had a little doubt. The pressure mounted, but I continued to take the weekends one at a time.”
It was all to play for at Circuit Paul Ricard. While he drove his n°47 Clio Cup to victory on Saturday, the season finale was going to prove decisive in the title fight…
“In terms of emotions, the finale was just extraordinary”, he recalls. “With our success the day before, we needed to finish in the top ten to win the title, no matter where David finished. The car was very well set-up for the race, but we struggled a bit in qualifying. I qualified sixth and got a poor start. There was contact everywhere and I got through it all, showing I am as good in chaser or chased. Unfortunately, I got hit a little later. At this moment, there so many emotions, but the most negative rose to the surface... For me, David was headed towards the title, but there was this final bit of drama with his broken rim that turned tears of sadness to tears of joy!”
While Dorian Guldenfels has taken a different path than his former karting rivals who today are approaching F1, his first title in a car shows he hasn’t lost any of his skills.
“This title is a personal satisfaction after a successful year from start to finish", he sums up. “This is my first ‘real’ title in the general category after my successes in the Junior category. Sure, I was among the favourites at the start of the year, but there were some serious contenders. David Pouget was perhaps the unluckiest in the first-half of the season while Nicolas Milan missed an entire meeting. This title was won with consistency. Despite our mechanical problem in the first race, we were the most consistent from there on and we also had our share of luck.”
Winner of a New Clio Cup, Dorian Guldenfels can defend his title next year if he chooses to do so. At the same time, the driver from Alsace is studying his long-term options with the hope of moving up the motor racing pyramid.
"I hope to continue with Renault”, he concludes. "We need to see how this can evolve and be put in place, but if I could quote have a dream unquote, I’d love the chance to try out a Mégane TCR in a few races! »