17-year-old Jack Young (MRM Racing) has won the Renault Clio Cup International Finale at Circuit Paul Ricard. Starting from pole, the Briton led from lights to flag to take the victory ahead of countryman Max Coates (Team Coates) and Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing). By defeating the top competitors from all the Clio Cups organized around the world, Jack Young wins a New Renault Mégane R.S..
The International Finale brought together the best drivers from the Central European, Chinese, Spanish, French, British and Italian Clio Cups to conclude what has been an exceptional season in the different national series’.
Each national Clio Cup could choose up to eight competitors; the top five drivers in the respective general classifications, the best Junior or Rookie and the best Gentleman or Amateur as well as a ‘joker” selected by each category’s promotor.
YOUNG ON POLE
Sunday at 2pm, 39 drivers went out for the 30-minute qualifying session. First to set a time, Alex Royo (Team VRT) was soon dislodged by the drivers from the Clio Cup Central Europe. The French picked up the pace, but they were soon demoted by Felice Jelmini (Composit Motorsport), Sebastiaan Bleekemolen, and then Albert Legutko.
Dorian Guldenfels (GPA Racing) and Benoît Castagné swapped the top spot, but Great Britain’s Max Coates and Jack Young moved to the top of the time screen at the midway point. There were no further changes to the sharp end of the order.
With a lap of 2:26.423s, Jack Young won the pole ahead of his countryman, Dorian Guldenfels and Benoît Castagné. Brett Lindsey (MRM Racing) and David Pouget (GPA Racing) shared row three. Sebastian Bleekemolen (Team Bleekemolen), Pierre-Étienne Chaumat (TB2S), Felice Jelmini and Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) completed the top ten on the grid.
IT’S COMING HOME
Jack Young got a clean start to lead from Max Coates, while Dorian Guldenfels was overtaken by Benoît Castagné and Brett Lidsey. Further back, Pierre-Étienne Chaumat was up to sixth, followed by Kevin Jimenez and Thibaut Bossy (TB2S), while Felice Jelmini got past David Pouget for ninth place.
Quickly, the leading three cars pulled away from the rest of the field led by Brett Lidsey, who soon ceded to the attacks of Dorian Guldenfels on lap 4, while Felice Jelmini was causing a stir in the pack.
After getting by Kevin Jimenez, Pierre-Étienne Chaumat and Thibaut Bossy, the Italian driver then overtook Brett Lindsey, who continued to lose ground. On lap six, slight contact from the British driver with David Pouget put the Frenchman on his roof.
Following the intervention of the safety car, the race went green with three minutes and one lap to go. Jack Young got a strong restart and immediately pulled away from Max Coates, who was followed closely by Benoît Castagné despite the French driver’s small mistake at the entry to the chicane. Further back, Thibaut Bossy surprised Dorian Guldenfels and Felice Jelmini.
Jack Young cruised to the win ahead of Max Coates and Benoît Castagné. Thibaut Bossy and Dorian Guldenfels complete the top five, and were followed by Felice Jelmini and Pierre-Étienne Chaumat. Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition), who clinched his fifth Clio Cup France title earlier today, was eighth in front of Sebastiaan Bleekemolen (Team Bleekemolen) and Matteo Poloni (Essecorse).
Also the winner among the Juniors, Jack Young was joined on the podium by Felice Jelmini and Marc De Fulgencio (Team VRT). In the Gentleman division, Frenchman David Pajot (Vic’Team) took the honours ahead of Melvin de Groot (Team Bleekemolen) and Massimiliano Danetti (MC Motortecnica).
Jack Young (MRM Racing): “This is amazing! Honestly, I still don’t quite believe it looking at how strong the field was. Max pushed me all race long, like he did earlier in the weekend. Little by little, he closed the gap, but I managed to pull away after the safety car. From there, I just had to control until the chequered flag. This is great and unreal, but I hope I’ll be able to defend this title next year!”
Max Coates (Team Coates): “I am both over the moon and gutted with this result. When the safety car came out, I said to myself that it was the last thing I needed as I was waiting for the end of the race to attack Jack. Unfortunately, his restart was a little too perfect… I was surprised and had to fend off those behind me! I finished second in the Clio Cup UK and second in the International Finale… I wasn’t far off in either case, but I want to congratulate Jack. He was impressive and I hope I have the pleasure to meet up with him again on the track real soon.”
Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing): “It was kind of hard to get back into the flow after the big disappointment in the Clio Cup France. It was a trying season. We made a lot of sacrifices to give us the best possible chance and we barely lost out due to a technical error on our part… So we had to refocus; but my two adversaries were too fast. I tried to manage my tyres, hoping for an opportunity late in the race. Unfortunately, the safety car gave them a bit of a breather and they never flinched!”