Contested under bright-blue skies, the third meeting of year in the Clio Cup France was a fantastic show at Circuit Ricardo Tormo de Valencia. Despite the poles for Corentin Tierce (Tierce Compétition) and Dorian Guldenfels (GPA Racing), experience took over with the wins for David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition). At the mid-way point of the season everything is up for grabs in all the categories.
To get their bearings with a track returning to the calendar for the first time in ten years, the field had four hours of collective tests on Friday and one-hour of free practice on Saturday. David Pouget and the GPA Racing team were the ones to beat heading into qualifying.
RACE 1: AGGRESSIVENESS STYLE PAYS OFF FOR POUGET
The temperature was climbing when it came time for qualifying. While David Pouget and defending Spanish champion, Alex Royo (Team VRT) ran out front. Corentin Tierce created a surprise half-way through the session clocking a time that no one could match.
Starting from pole for the first time in his career, Corentin Tierce was passed by Alex Royo and David Pouget on the opening lap. The duel between the two continued until the Frenchman took the lead with a virile overtaking move.
While David Pouget was being shadowed by Alex Royo, Corentin Tierce continued to lose ground. Dorian Guldenfels, Jordi Palomeras (GPA Racing) and Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing) surprised him in the two following laps. Later on, Pierre-Étienne Chaumat, Thibaut Bossy (TB2S), Marc De Fulgencio (Team VRT) and Yoann Baziret (Setup Racing) battled hard, well aided by a field that stayed compact from the start of the race!
At half-distance, Alex Royo made a minor mistake, allowing David Pouget to pull away. The French driver went on for the win ahead of the Spaniard and Dorian Guldenfels. Fifth behind Jordi Palomeras, Benoît Castagné made the most of the ineligibility of the two Spanish finishers in the top five to move to the top of the general classification.
Pierre-Étienne Chaumat, Thibaut Bossy, Yoann Baziret, Luis Gonzalez (Team VRT) and Marc De Fulgencio completed the top ten. 14th place Corentin Tierce won in the Junior Category, while 15th at the line, David Pajot (Vic’Team) won in the Gentleman Category ahead of Junior category leader Anthony Jurado (Setup Racing), who got the upper-hand in his battle with Spain’s Marta Suria (SMC).
The results of this race are suspended as Alex Royo is appealing the decision of the stewards concerning the contact with David Pouget.
RACE 2: VENI, VIDI, VICI FOR MILAN!
Sunday marked the return of Nicolas Milan, who was absent the day before due to a date conflict with the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. The multiple Clio Cup champion was up to speed right away, but qualifying turned to the advantage of Dorian Guldenfels ahead of David Pouget!
Like on Saturday, the pole winner lost the lead when David Pouget and Benoît Castagné moved to the top of the order at turn one ahead of Dorian Guldenfels. The first laps were intense with David Pouget under threat, while further back in the field, Léo Boulay (Autosport GP) and Stéphane Auriacombe (Tierce Racing) made contact, blocking the path of Pierre Tierce (Tierce Racing).
On lap four, Nicolas Milan went on the attack, overtaking Luis Gonzalez. Three laps later, he surprised Dorian Guldenfels and set off after David Pouget and Benoit Castagné, who made contact on the following lap. Nicolas Milan made the most of the situation to get past both for the lead.
Further back, the action was heating up. James Ross (Bob Ross Racing) lost ground and several drivers, led by Thibaut Bossy and Pierre-Étienne Chaumat got past the British driver. Anthony Jurado and Marc De Fulgencio put in a great battle for the lead in the Junior Category. The French youngster lost out this time when he took a brief trip through the gravel, which cost him a few positions.
Nicolas Milan clinched went on for his third victory of the season ahead of David Pouget and Benoît Castagné. This result sees the driver-preparer retake the lead in the general classification before heading into the second half of the season.
Dorian Guldenfels, Thibaut Bossy and Pierre-Étienne Chaumat were next ahead of three competitors from the Clio Cup España and Spaniard Marc De Fulgencio. In the Gentleman category, David Pajot returned to his winning ways. Now there are only 25 points separating Stéphane Auriacombe, Emmanuel Raffin (Autosport GP) and David Pajot in this championship. In the Junior category, the ineligibility of Marc De Fulgencio sees Anthony Jurado pull away to a comfortable lead ahead of Adeline Prudent (Prudent Compétition) and Corentin Tierce.
The Clio Cup France will return home for the fourth meeting of the season at Circuit Dijon-Prenois (July 14&15).