More than three months after his last success, Nicolas Milan (Milan Competition) returned to the top step of the podium this Saturday at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia. The Frenchman won for the sixth time this season, ahead of his two main title rivals, David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition). Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Stephan Polderman (Chefo Sport) won the Challengers Cup and Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
While Nicolas Milan and Alex Royo (Team VRT) each dominated a practice session on Friday, the gaps remained extremely narrow in qualifying. Nicolas Milan took pole position by 0.029s over Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) whilst David Pouget, Daniel Nogales (Cota Automoción) and Alex Royo completed the top five and were covered by just 0.067s.
Nicolas Milan held onto the lead when the lights went out, while David Pouget and Alex Royo got past Anthony Jurado. Marc Guillot moved into the top five just before the intervention of the safety car, caused by the collision between Javier Cicuendez (Team VRT) and Alex Lahoz (Cota Automoción), for which the latter was sanctioned.
When the race resumed, Nicolas Milan held off David Pouget, who was under pressure from Anthony Jurado. The trio soon pulled away from the chase group led by Jordi Palomeras (TB2S), who quickly passed Marc Guillot, then Alex Royo one lap later.
Anthony Jurado overtook David Pouget on lap six as Nicolas Milan took advantage of the duel between the chasers to extend his lead. Anthony Jurado wasn’t done fighting and caught up to the race leader to pressure him in the closing stages. Further back, the battle for fourth place intensified with contact between Jordi Palomeras and Alex Royo. Marc Guillot took advantage to split the two Spaniards before having to concede to Alex Royo’s response.
Despite his team mate’s efforts, Nicolas Milan kept a cool head to take his sixth victory of the season and the first since Misano in early June. Second at the chequered flag, Anthony Jurado received a twenty-five-second penalty after the finish for an involuntarily overtake on Alex Royo during the safety car period. David Pouget inherited second place ahead of Marc Guillot as Jordi Palomeras and Alex Royo were sanctioned ten seconds for disrespecting track limits.
Alexandre Albouy moved into the lead of the Challengers Cup with four laps to go and was promoted to fourth place ahead of his rivals Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) and Ivan Riera (Chefo Sport). Daniel Nogales started from the pitlane because of an issue during the grid procedure but put in a sold drive to finish seventh after the enforcement of various penalties. The Spaniard was followed by Antonio Herrerias (Chefo Sport), Jordi Palomeras and Alex Royo.
The race was just as lively In the Gentlemen Drivers Cup. While Stephen Polderman quickly seized the lead, Lionel Viguier (TB2S) came back strong after a trip through the gravel to take the lead in the category before he ran out of fuel on the last lap. Stephan Polderman then regained the lead to score his second European win of the year ahead of Horn (GPA Racing) and Rene Steenmetz (Chefo Sport).
In the Clio Cup Europe general classification, David Pouget’s lead over Nicolas Milan has been slightly cut into, while Marc Guillot remains firmly in third place. Alexandre Albouy gains ground on Kévin Jimenez in the Challengers Cup while Horn capitalizes on his second place to extend his lead in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
Nicolas Milan, Alexandre Albouy and Stephan Polderman, who all won in Clio Cup Europe did their Group D title hopes a lot of good.
With the win against his closest rival David Pouget, Nicolas Milan consolidates his lead at the top of the general classification halfway through the season. Third today and winner in the Challengers category ahead of Mathieu Lannepoudenx and Ivan Riera, Alexandre Albouy also ran a solid race to close right up to the leader Kévin Jimenez. Lastly, Stephan Polderman capitalised on his success to take the lead in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup from Horn and Javier Cicuendez.
The competitors will be back in action Sunday morning for qualifying at 11h25, followed by race two of the weekend at 3h25. The race will be broadcast live on the Renault Sport Series Facebook page and the Renault Sport YouTube channel.