With three rounds to go, the race for the Clio Cup Europe title between David Pouget (GPA Racing), Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) remains a wide-open affair. After his seventh victory of the year won at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Nicolas Milan is closing in on the leader David Pouget, who finished third today. Meanwhile, Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) and Javier Cicuendez (Team VRT) won the Challengers Cup and Gentlemen Drivers Cup on Sunday
David Pouget got the advantage in the morning qualifying session. The Frenchman won the pole with a lap of 1:51.542s, 0.069s ahead of Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition), who was only 0.004s quicker than Nicolas Milan. Marc Guillot and Mathieu Lannepoudenx completed the top five at the end of an incredibly close session where the top 16 finished within one second.
David Pouget made an excellent start from pole to keep the lead ahead of Marc Guillot, who moved past Nicolas Milan and Anthony Jurado to slot into second place before turn one. Mathieu Lannepoudenx remained fifth, followed by Alex Royo (Team VRT), Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Jordi Palomeras (TB2S).
The running order changed quickly at the sharp end of the field as Marc Guillot attacked David Pouget on lap two. The leader managed to hold on, whereas Nicolas Milan and Anthony Jurado took advantage of the situation to get in between the two men. Mathieu Lannepoudenx caught up to the lead group but was also under pressure from Alex Royo.
On the following lap, Nicolas Milan passed David Pouget for the lead of the race. Anthony Jurado did the same before challenging his teammate. Their duel allowed David Pouget, Marc Guillot and Mathieu Lannepoudenx to make it a five-car battle for the lead, pulling away from Alex Royo and Jordi Palomeras, who lost out to Nicolas Abella (Chefo Sport) in the intense battle for sixth place.
The safety car came out on lap six following contact between Antonio Herrerias (Chefo Sport) and Daniel Nogales (Cota Automación). However, the latter managed to get out of the gravel on his own, and the race quickly resumed.
At the restart, Nicolas Milan and Anthony Jurado managed to pull away from the chase group led by David Pouget, and then by Marc Guillot when the latter found the opening with three laps to go. The battle intensified on the final lap when David Pouget counter-attacked, and Mathieu Lannepoudenx got the better of Marc Guillot.
In the lead, Nicolas Milan controlled the attacks of Anthony Jurado, as he did on Saturday, to secure his seventh win of the year. David Pouget completed the podium. Challenger Mathieu Lannepoudenx finished fourth ahead of Marc Guillot. After the safety car period, Alex Royo went on the offensive to finish sixth, ahead of Jordi Palomeras and Nicolas Abella. Erik Zabala (Team VRT) and Ivan Biera (Chefo Sport) completed the top ten following the penalty handed to Antonio Herrerias for his involvement in the incident with Daniel Nogales. In the Gentlemen Drivers category, Lionel Viguier led until the last lap, but a trip into the gravel bed allowed Javier Cicuendez to inherit the category win ahead of the Dutch drivers Rene Steenmetz (Chefo Sport) and Stephen Polderman (Chefo Sport).
With the victory and taking into account the twenty best results of the season, Nicolas Milan did his Clio Cup Europe title hopes a world of good as he now trails David Pouget by 11 points, while Marc Guillot remains in the hunt. Kévin Jimenez still leads the Challengers Cup ahead of Alexandre Albouy and Mathieu Lannepoudenx and can clinch the title at the next round. Lastly, Horn increased his lead over Alessandro Sebasti Scalera and Lionel Viguier thanks to his sixth-place result today in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
Like in race one on Saturday, the three Clio Cup Europe winners also took top honours in their group.
Once again victorious over his closest rivals David Pouget and Mathieu Lannepoudenx, Nicolas Milan is beginning to extend his lead at the top of the general classification ahead of the Castellet and Barcelona rounds. Third today and first in the Challengers Cup ahead of Nicolas Abella and Erik Zabala, Mathieu Lannepoudenx now leads the category by two points from Alexandre Albouy and nine from Kévin Jimenez. Lastly, Javier Cicuendez’s victory today sees him now just five points behind the leader Stephan Polderman.
The next round of the Clio Cup Europe will take the field to Circuit Paul Ricard from 1 to 3 October. The Group B drivers will contest the penultimate round of their season before the final rounds at Monza (29-31 October) and Barcelona (12-14 November).