Three months after its first visit to Le Castellet, the Clio Cup Europe returns to Circuit Paul Ricard for round 12 of 2021. In contrast to the meeting held in support of the French Grand Prix, the stakes are radically different as several contenders have now the titles and the prizes in sight whilst others are keen to stay in contention till the very end.
After battling for the win in the prestigious French Grand Prix weekend last June, the drivers are back in the Var with new targets. On a track where the action was breath-taking this summer, with victories decided by a few tenths of a second, the show promises to be even more intense before the final rounds at Monza and Barcelona!
The title races are tightening
The battle should once again intensify at the sharp end of the general classification, as the remaining four contenders race for the last time this year in front of their home crowd, with an Alpine A110 road car and a unique chronograph produced exclusively by BRM for the Clio Cup Europe winner up for grabs.
Although his lead shrunk at the previous round in Valencia, David Pouget (GPA Racing) remains the man to beat even if Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) takes up more and more of his rear-view mirrors. Both men will continue their mano-a-mano on a track they know like the back of their driving gloves. They will also try to thwart off the return of Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) and Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition), who shared the spoils on this same track in June.
Meanwhile, Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) can seal the Challengers Cup and the BRM desk clock reserved for the title-winner as soon as this weekend. Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) will do all they can to prolong the suspense while Paul Cocaign (TB2S) and Guillaume Maio (GM Sport), who are no longer in contention for the title, aim to climb back into the top ten. David Pajot (Vic’Team) and Antoine Bordagaray (Team Borda Rally) will be counting on their experience to upset the leaderboard, but Poland’s Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing), Kazakhstan’s Yeraly Ospanov (Milan Competition) and Spain’s Nicolas Abella (Chefo Sport) are eager to beat their French rivals on their home soil.
Gentlemen Drivers Cup leader, Horn (GPA Racing) will try to consolidate his advantage over his rivals, led by Lionel Viguier (TB2S) and Laurent Dziadus (Team Lucas), back for the first time since his victory on this track in June. Stephan Polderman (Chefo Sport), René Steenmetz (Chefo Sport) and Jérémy Bordagaray (Team Borda Rally) are still in the running, as is Fabien Julia (LR Performance). Michel Faye (GM Sport) and Andrea Argenti (SI Racing Team) complete the category with Joris Berriau, who resumes his role as a driver with the TB2S team as he did in the Clio Cup Open supporting the 2019 French Grand Prix, and Mathieu Rigoulet (Vic’Team), who makes his Clio Cup Europe debut after excelling in the French Cup and French Circuit Historic Championship.
Double stakes in Group B
Three months after its previous race at Circuit Paul Ricard, Group B will return to Le Castellet for the penultimate round of its season.
The roles will be reversed compared to the Clio Cup Europe as Nicolas Milan will defend his lead in the general classification against David Pouget. This duel could easily be disrupted by one of their numerous rivals though, starting with Kevin Jimenez. Currently third in the general classification and leader of the Challengers Cup thanks to his six category victories in eight starts, the Toulouse-based driver wants to break away from his pursuers led by Alexandre Albouy. Meanwhile, Laurent Dziadus could take a first step towards the Gentlemen Drivers title, but Horn, Jérémy Bordagaray and others will do their utmost to reduce their deficit before the season finale in Barcelona.
As with each of the four Clio Cup groups, the overall winner will receive a three-hand movement watch designed by BRM Chronographs, provided he did not win another group. The Clio Cup Europe partner will also award a piece of jewellery to the two runners-up and the winners of the Challengers Cup and Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
The Renault Sport Series Facebook page and Renault Sport YouTube channel will provide live coverage of the two Clio Cup Europe races at Circuit Paul Ricard, scheduled for Saturday at 7.10pm and Sunday at 1.10pm.
Friday 1 October
12h35-13h05: Collective tests
20h20-20h50: Free practice
Saturday 2 October
10h30-10h50: Qualifying 1
19h10-19h40: Race 1 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Sunday 3 October
8h45-9h05: Qualifying 2
13h10-13h40: Race 2 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Clio Cup Europe – 2021 Calendar
2-5 April: Nogaro - Group B
30 April-2 May: Monza - Group A
7-9 May: Magny-Cours - Groups B & D
14-16 May: Hockenheim - Groups B & C
4-6 June: Misano - Group A
18-20 June: Le Castellet - Groups B & D
9-11 July: Hungaroring - Groups A & C
23-25 July: Imola - Group A
28-31 July: Spa-Francorchamps - Group C
10-12 September: Red Bull Ring - Groups A & C
17-19 September: Valencia - Group D
1-3 October : Le Castellet - Group B
29-31 October: Monza - Groups A, C & D
12-14 November: Barcelona - Groups B & D