Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) took advantage of two contacts between David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) to win his third consecutive race and his eighth victory this season over his rivals for the Clio Cup Europe title at Circuit Paul Ricard. Meanwhile, Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) and Laurent Dziadus (Team Lucas) prolonged the suspense by winning the Challengers Cup and Gentlemen Drivers Cup categories.
Anthony Jurado set the tone in dominating the two Friday practice sessions. Still in contention for the European crown, the Montpellier native continued his momentum on Saturday by taking pole position ahead of David Pouget and Nicolas Milan. Challenger Alexandre Albouy and Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) completed the top five on the grid.
While the poleman kept the lead with authority at the start, the chase group quickly went on the offensive. On lap two, Marc Guillot surprised Alexandre Albouy for fourth place before the latter replied. A few corners later, Nicolas Milan found the opening on David Pouget to move into second place.
Anthony Jurado took advantage of the battles between his rivals to increase his lead but Nicolas Milan and David Pouget accelerated the pace and closed the gap again on lap five. Three laps later, Alexandre Albouy followed David Pouget and relegated Nicolas Milan to fourth place while the battle intensified between the five contenders for the victory.
After some time of observation, David Pouget attacked the leader on lap nine, but his attempt resulted in contact with Anthony Jurado. After another run in between the two protagonists at the next corner, Nicolas Milan made his way through to take the lead.
Once in the lead, Nicolas Milan used his experience to claim his eighth win of 2021, ahead of Anthony Jurado and David Pouget. After the chequered flag, David Pouget was however promoted to second place as Anthony Jurado received a one-place penalty.
Marc Guillot also took advantage of the various incidents to take fourth place from Alexandre Albouy, winner of the Challengers Cup. After a terrific battle from start to finish, Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) and David Pajot (Vic’Team) deprived Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) of the podium in the last seconds of the race whilst Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing) and Paul Cocaign (TB2S) completed the top ten. In the Gentlemen Drivers Cup, Laurent Dziadus kept his adversaries at bay to go on for the win ahead of Fabien Julia (LR Performance) and Mathieu Rigoulet (Vic’Team).
In the overall standings, Nicolas Milan and David Pouget are now tied on points at the top of the Clio Cup Europe with their 20 best results. But Nicolas Milan has the advantage in terms of wins with eight against five. Marc Guillot remains third and is still in contention for the title. Thanks to their victories today, Alexandre Albouy is now the only driver who can deny Kévin Jimenez the Challengers Cup title, while Laurent Dziadus is once again Horn’s (GPA Racing) closest challenger in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
In a rare occurrence this season, the three podiums in Clio Cup Europe were identical in Group B with victories for Nicolas Milan, Alexandre Albouy and Laurent Dziadus.
With his victory over David Pouget, Nicolas Milan increases his lead over his rival while Kévin Jimenez consolidates his third place while remaining leader in the Challengers ahead of Alexandre Albouy and Mathieu Lannepoudenx. Lastly, Laurent Dziadus widens the gap on his closest rivals in the Gentlemen Drivers, Horn and Jérémy Bordagaray (Team Borda Rally).
Sunday morning, the Clio Cup Europe field will be back on track for qualifying at 8.45am before race two of the weekend at 1.10pm. The race will be broadcast and commented live on the Renault Sport Series Facebook page and the Renault Sport YouTube channel.