The 2019 season promises to be more open than ever in the Clio Cup France! Even if Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) and Dorian Guldenfels (TB2S) shared the wins during the Coupes de Pâques de Nogaro, it is Thibaut Bossy (TB2S) who sits atop the general classification thanks to two podium finishes. Spain’s Luis Gonzalez (Team VRT) and Benoît Castagné (Raiwoit Racing by GM Sport) also sprayed the champagne.
Following four practice session where Dorian Guldenfels was the only driver to break the 1:40s barrier, the native of the Lorraine region confirmed his strong form in scoring the first pole position of the year ahead of Antoine Prétin (GPA Racing) and Thibaut Bossy.
RACE 1: JURADO TAKES THE OPENER
The first drama of the season happened at the end of the formation lap when pole-winner Dorian Guldenfels returned to the pits with a technical problem.
Despite a good start for Antoine Prétin, Thibaut Bossy soon found an opening to take the lead and pull away from a field marked by the offs of second place David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Marc De Fulgencio (Team VRT). Starting sixth, Anthony Jurado moved up to second place ahead of Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) before the safety car was called out to allow for the removal of the Clio Cups of Edwyn Traynard (Autosport GP), Lionel Viguier (TB2S), Jérôme Da Ros (Tierce Racing) and Veenesh Shunker (CVS Auto).
Thibaut Bossy nailed the restart to open a gap to Anthony Jurado, while Luis Gonzalez got past Nicolas Milan for third place. Benoît Castagné also tried to get through, without success. The local driver was forced to call it a day shortly thereafter.
As the minutes ticked off, the leading trio regrouped and Anthony Jurado didn’t waste his chance to use the slipstream to take the lead with six minutes remaining. Luis Gonzalez used a virile move to also overtake Thibaut Bossy just before another neutralization caused by the incident of Jean-Philippe Laurent (Autosport GP).
Despite an extremely fast and intense sprint final, the order among the leaders stood pat with Anthony Jurado taking his maiden victory in the Clio Cup France ahead of Junior driver Luis Gonzalez and Thibaut Bossy. Nicolas Milan was fourth, ahead of Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing), Corentin Tierce (Tierce Racing), Antoine Prétin and Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S).
Ninth overall, David Pajot (Vic’Team) won the Gentleman category on the final lap against Mickaël Carrée (T2CM) and Emmanuel Raffin (Autosport GP) despite contact with Stéphane Auriacombe (Tierce Racing) early in the race.
RACE 2: GULDENFELS VINDICTIVE
The second qualifying session was incredibly competitive with 16 cars separated by less than a second. Corentin Tierce won the pole by just 0.004s from Marc De Fulgencio and 0.054s from Dorian Guldenfels.
When the lights went out, Corentin Tierce got the best start ahead of Thibaut Bossy and Antoine Prétin, who couldn’t fend off the attack of Dorian Guldenfels at the end of an opening lap that brought an end to the ambitions of Jérémy Bordagaray (Borda Rallye Team)
While Corentin Tierce pulled away, Thibault Bossy had to cope with the pressure coming from Dorian Guldenfels. The Alsace native made his passing move on lap three before he was imitated one lap after another by Benoît Castagné, Marc De Fulgencio and David Pouget.
Gradually closing the gap to the leader, Dorian Guldenfels moved into first place on lap nine. Thibault Bossy also got past Corentin Tierce, while Benoît Castagné had to wait for two laps to do the same.
Now with the lead, Dorian Guldenfels strung together the fastest race laps to pull away and take his first win of the season. Second place was battled for just until the finish, and Benoit Castagné snatched second place from Thibault Bossy, who went into a slide after slight contact in their duel.
Struggling late in the race, Corentin Tierce finished seventh behind Nicolas Milan, David Pouget – who also had a big scare three laps from the chequered flag – and Luis Gonzalez, who once again won top honours among the Juniors after the drive-through penalty for his team mate Marc De Fulgencio for jumping the start.
Matthieu Lannepoundenx (Milan Compétition), Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S) and Anthony Jurado completed the top ten ahead of Mickaël Carrée (T2CM), who took the laurels in the Gentlemen category.
With two podium results, Thibaut Bossy leads the general classification by six points from Luis Gonzalez, who is followed closely by Anthony Jurado, Nicolas Milan and Dorian Guldenfels. In the Junior category, Luis Gonzalez has a ten-point advantage over Marc De Fulgencio and Loic Brondeau (TB2S). In the Gentleman category, Mickaël Carrée enjoys a six-point lead from David Pajot and Emmanuel Raffin
The next round of the Clio Cup France will be contested at Imola on May 24 to 26. The competitors will then head to Ledenon, then the Barcelona-Catalyuna circuit prior to the summer break. Afterwards, the final sprint will lead the field to Magny-Cours and Le Castellet.