Ahead of celebrating its 30th anniversary next year, the most popular single-make cup in France reinvents itself with the arrival of the fifth generation Clio Cup. More affordable and versatile than ever,the heir to the legendary Renault 8 Gordini Cup will this week begin its season at Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro.
Following one of the most spectacular campaigns ending with Dorian Guldenfels winning the title, the French FFSA Renault Clio Cup returns to action in the Gers Department for a season that promises to be even more unpredictable with 27 drivers ready to battle and become the first to win with New Clio Cup at Nogaro!
Clash of the Titans?
Defending champions Dorian Guldenfels and TB2S team, led by Thibaut Bossy, intend to race for the double despite the overhauling of the technical data. To reach their target, the natives of Alsace and Vendée will however have their work cut out for them as several Clio Cup stars are determined to get some payback!
Runner up to Dorian Guldenfels last year, David Pouget (GPA Racing) will aim for his first title in France. The Albi native will be able to count on six team mates – and as many contenders for the win – including familiar faces such as Alexandre Albouy and Kévin Jimenez as well as two promising Juniors and two Gentlemen.
Record holder in France with five titles, Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) should also figure among the leading protagonists. To return to the sharp end of the hierarchy, the driver-preparator from the Lot-et-Garonne has an experienced trio in his team with Anthony Jurado, fourth last year, 2018 Junior champion Corentin Tierce and another solid competitor in Mathieu Lannepoudenx.
Lastly, Fabien Julia (LR Performance), who has been a mainstay in the French Track Racing Cup for the past few years, will make the most of the opportunity represented by the introduction of New Clio Cup to demonstrate his potential in one of the most competitive single-make cups.
A new wave of Juniors
Four drivers will compete to join Dorian Guldenfels, Corentin Tierce and Edwin Traynard in the Junior category record book as well as hope to create a surprise in the general classification.
French female karting champion and winner of the FIA Women in Motorsport award during the 2019 Volant Winfield, Doriane Pin (GPA Racing) has not stopped surprising observers and will accelerate her ambitions as she begins her career in cars. While the youngest driver in the French field can rely on the experience of GPA Racing, one of her main rivals could very well be in the same team as Clément Chetcuti was a standout in karts and in Relais 208.
The BRS Racing Team has competed in other single-make cups and is now about to make its debut with Renault. For this maiden campaign, the Roissy-en-France based team will line up Romain Boeckler, who cut his teeth in the French F4 Championship and also put in some remarkable runs in the Formula Renault Esport Series, and Julien Barbançon, who was a semi-finalist in Feed Racing driver detection venture founded by Jacques Villeneuve.
Gentlemen, start your engines!
The succession to David Pajot in the Gentlemen category will pit six competitors against each other, one of the favourites being 2017 class winner Mickaël Carrée (T2CM). While his team will be bolstered by his new team mates Samuel Chaligne and Jérémy Bordagaray, he will have to be wary of new contenders that could cause a sensation in the Clio Cup!
Close attention will have to pad to Franck Niclot (GPA Racing) and Michel Faye (GM Sport), two well-known figures in single-make cups, as well as former rally driver Fabien Rivals (GPA Racing) and Laurent Dziadus (Team Lucas), who was the 2009 French KZ125 Champion and a race-winner in the Twin’Cup.
Changes in continuity
Among the many innovations this season, the most visible is of course New Clio Cup itself with its line and its 4-cylinder 1330 cc TCe 16-valve engine from the Clio R.S. Line, which has received all the expertise and know-how of the Viry-Châtillon teams.
For this historic first meeting, the French field will be joined by their Spanish counterparts. Among them, there is Javier Cicuendez (Team VRT), Joaquin Rodrigo (Vearsa Sport), Ivan Hernandez (Chefo Sport), Nico Abella (Chefo Sport) and 16-year-old Isidro Callejas (Chefo Sport), the youngest driver in the field. The entry list will be completed by the oldest driver in the field, Jean-Louis Carponcin (Team Boiziot Compétition), who won the Renault Super 5 GT Turbo French Cup in 1989!
Lastly, a new point system will be introduced, as well as a new prize structure and the arrival of the Renault Network Challenge that will strengthen the links between the Renault groups, dealerships and agents and the Clio Cup France competitors. For more information, click here.
Thursday August 20
15h25-15h55: Private Tests 1
17h30-18h00: Private Tests 2
Friday August 21
9h55-10h25: Private Tests 3
17h20-17h50: Private Tests 4
Saturday August 22
9h05-9h25: Qualifying 1
14h44-15h14: Race 1 (25 minutes + 1 lap)
Sunday August 23
8h30-8h50: Qualifying 2
14h26-14h56: Race 2 (25 minutes + 1 lap)