A field of nearly 40 drivers will battle at the Red Bull Ring in round ten of the 2021 Clio Cup Europe. With the titles still undecided in the three categories of the European competition, the first meeting after the summer break could see the awarding of the first titles in the internal groups.
Situated in the heart of the Austrian Alps and host to the Austrian and Styrian Grands Prix, the Red Bull Ring is among the most popular tracks on the calendar with its unique setting and show-stopping layout. The gaps are always narrow and the races are often full of twists and turns. All of which adds spice to the title races, which are more uncertain than ever!
The battle resumes
With five wins each so far, David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) will resume their duel at the top of the general classification in the Austrian hills.
While the former moved to the sharp end of the general classification before the summer break, he leads his compatriot by just two points, with the final stretch of the campaign nearing and only the twenty best results counting in the end. In this context, both will try to score maximum points, but Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) intends to maintain his rise in form and take advantage of their rivalry to close ground.
Meanwhile, Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) and Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) will do all they can to stay in contention. Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing) and Gabriele Torelli (Faro Racing) aim to move up the order in the top ten, which Tomáš Pekař (Carpek Services) is eyeing. The Czech is particularly keen to make the most of the weekend as he is one of the few drivers with prior experience on the Styrian track, as does Nicolas Milan from his time in the Eurocup Clio in 2013.
After ten Challengers Cup victories in the first fourteen races, Kévin Jimenez (GPA Racing) hopes to put his last two difficult weekends behind him and get the upper hand versus his rivals. Among them will be Jerzy Spinkiewicz, Alessio Alcidi (Caal Racing), Filippo Berto (Oregon Team), and Lorenzo Nicoli (Progetto E20 Motorsport), who scored podium finishes in Austria in Clio Cup Italia in 2014 and 2015.
Having taken the lead in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup, "Horn" (GPA Racing) will look to build on this success. But he will have to deal with Alessandro Sebasti Scalera (Milan Competition). With five wins and a third place in six starts, the Italian will want to confirm his title pretender status, but Lionel Viguier (TB2S), Quinto Stefana (Oregon Team) and Stephen Polderman (Chefo Sport) share the same objective. Others like "Due" (Oregon Team) and Rene Steenmetz (Chefo Sport) will also hope to keep them at bay before the home stretch of the calendar begins.
The restart of the season will be an opportunity for several competitors to make their first appearance of the year. That will be the case of 2019 Clio Cup Italia title winner Felice Jelmini (PMA Motorsport), two-time Clio Cup Italia race winner Michele Puccetti (Faro Racing), and 2018 Clio Cup France Gentleman category winner David Pajot (Vic’Team). Spaniards Antonio Herrerias and Samuel Pineda will also make their debut for Chefo Sport in a field completed by Italian journalists Emiliano Perucca Orfei and Gaetano Cesarano.
Suspense in Group A
Group A remains undecided ahead of the penultimate round of the calendar. Although Marc Guillot currently leads, he is only six points ahead of Anthony Jurado, with Gabriele Torelli thirty behind. The fight among the three promises to heat up and the slightest mistake could be costly before the discarding of the worst result of the season. Massimiliano Danetti (PMA Motorsport) hopes to revive his campaign in Austria, as do Gustavo Sandrucci (Progetto E20 Motorsport) and Paolo Maria Silvestrini (Progetto E20 Motorsport).
The battles will be just as hard-fought among the Challengers, where Alessio Alcidi, Filippo Berto, Lorenzo Nicoli and Daniele Pasquali (Caal Racing) can leave Austria atop the general classification. However, this quartet will have to be wary of one last push from Ercole Cipolla (Faro Racing), Sandro Cutini (Proteam Race) and Yeraly Ospanov (Milan Competition), all of whom are eager to highlight their progress with a strong result.
In the Gentlemen Drivers category, Alessandro Sebasti Scalera can take a first step towards the title, but Quinto Stefana and Due intend to make it difficult for him. After his strong showing at Imola, Andrea Argenti (SI Racing Team) will try to keep the momentum going whilst the category will welcome the return to competition of Vittorio Zadotti (Scuderia Costa Ovest).
First titles in Group C?
Also challenging for the title in Group C, Marc Guillot will try to widen the gap between himself and his pursuers led by Tomáš Pekař and Jerzy Spinkiewicz. While the scenarios for the French driver to be crowned are complex, there is a good chance that other contenders like Andreas Stucki (Stucki Motorsport) will do all they can to keep the title race alive.
At the same time, Jerzy Spinkiewicz and Lionel Viguier could clinch the title in their respective categories. To do this, the Pole will have to beat Challengers Mariano Alonso (GPA Racing), who will share his Clio Cup with his father Gabriel, as well as Henrik Seibel (Panther Motorsport), Alessio Alcidi and Daniele Pasquali. The mission, however, seems easier for the Frenchman because if he can finish seventh among the Gentlemen Drivers competing in the Clio Cup Europe, it could be enough for him to secure the title in the opening race of the weekend!
With two races scheduled for Saturday at 14h35 and Sunday at 16h20, the Clio Cup Europe’s return to action will be broadcast and commented live on the Renault Sport Series Facebook page and Renault Sport YouTube channel.
Thursday 9 September
16h00-16h50: Private tests
Friday 10 September
9h16-9h46: Collective tests 1
13h50-14h20: Collective tests 2
Saturday 11 September
9h50-10h10: Qualifying 1
14h35-15h10: Race 1 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Sunday 12 September
9h40-10h00: Qualifying 2
16h20-16h55: Race 2 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Clio Cup Europe – 2021 Calendar
2-5 April: Nogaro - Group B
30 April-2 May: Monza - Group A
7-9 May: Magny-Cours - Groups B & D
14-16 May: Hockenheim - Groups B & C
4-6 June: Misano - Group A
18-20 June: Le Castellet - Groups B & D
9-11 July: Hungaroring - Groups A & C
23-25 July: Imola - Group A
28-31 July: Spa-Francorchamps - Group C
10-12 September: Red Bull Ring - Groups A & C
17-19 September: Valencia - Group D
1-3 October : Le Castellet - Group B
29-31 October: Monza - Groups A, C & D
12-14 November: Barcelona - Groups B & D