The return of the Clio Cup France to Lédenon saw David Pouget (GPA Racing) score his first victory of 2019 and Dorian Guldenfels (TB2S) take his fourth win in six races so far this year to pull away in the general classification, but everything will still be up for grabs in the second half of the season!
The weekend began with five sessions spread out over two days. On Thursday, David Pouget dominated the opening two sessions before Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) took over, but he kept the best time in 1:34.507s. On Friday, he lowered his best lap to 1:34.418s in the morning session.
RACE 1: POUGET DOMINATES
Saturday morning, Corentin Tierce (Tierce Racing) brought David Pouget’s streak to an end to take pole position for just 0.022s. Behind them it was Dorian Guldenfels, Nicolas Milan, Benoit Castagné (Raiwoit Racing by GM Sport) and Alexandre Albouy (GPA Racing) all within 0.3s of the best time.
Looking for revenge, David Pouget put in a picture-perfect start to take the lead at turn one ahead of Corentin Tierce while Dorian Guldenfels dropped three positions early in the first laps marked by contact between Veenesh Shunker (CVS Auto) and Kevin Jimenez (GPA Racing).
The lead group of David Pouget, Corentin Tierce, Nicolas Milan and Benoit Castagné quickly pulled away. Further back, Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) made his way past Dorian Guldenfels before closing up to Alexandre Albouy, who soon after was forced to call it a day.
As the laps ticked down on the undulating Circuit de Lédenon, David Pouget continuously grew his lead from Corentin Tierce, who was now under threat from Nicolas Milan. While the man with five Clio Cup France titles to his name found an opening on lap seven, he didn’t have enough pace to catch the leader who put in a string of fastest race laps.
Meanwhile, Corentin Tierce didn’t crack from the pressure coming from Benoit Castagné and Anthony Jurado, who launched an attack causing contact involving all three drivers on lap 14. Dorian Guldenfels took advantage to move up to fourth place after freeing himself from the threat of Thibaut Bossy (TB2S) and David Pajot (Vic’Team).
David Pouget went on for the win with a more than 10 second margin of victory from Nicolas Milan and Corentin Tierce, who had to fend off a final challenge from Dorian Guldenfels and Benoit Castagné. Then it was Anthony Jurado, Thibaut Bossy and first among the Gentlemen, David Pajot. All three, however, were penalized two grid positions for race two for over-aggressive driving. Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) and winner in the Junior category Edwin Traynard (Autosport GP) completed the top ten after a brilliant duel with Luis Gonzalez (Team VRT).
RACE 2: GULDENFELS ANSWERS
On a green track following morning showers, Dorian Guldenfels claimed his second pole position of the season with a best time of 1:34.350s to lead from David Pouget, Alexandre Albouy, Guillaume Savoldelli (TB2S) and Corentin Tierce.
When the lights went out, Alexandre Albouy surprised Dorian Guldenfels and David Pouget with an outside move at turn one to take the lead. Benoit Castagné too got a strong start to move up to fourth place ahead of Guillaume Savoldelli and Corentin Tierce in a field that was still tightly bunched in the opening laps.
On lap three, Dorian Guldenfels struck back to take the lead of the race. David Pouget followed in hot pursuit while Benoit Castagné had to wait a few more corners to get the better of Alexandre Albouy.
While the leaders began to look after their tyres for the end of the race, the battle intensified in the chase group. As soon as Thibaut Bossy dropped out with a broken wheel, Nicolas Milan picked up the pace to reel in Corentin Tierce, then overtake and do the same to Guillaume Savoldelli to move into the top five on the penultimate lap.
Meanwhile, Dorian Guldenfels left no openings for David Pouget to go on for his fourth win of the year. Benoit Castagné had initially completed the podium before being disqualified for a technical issue. Alexandre Albouy inherited third place with Nicolas Milan and Guillaume Savoldelli rounding out the top five.
Corentin Tierce held off Mathieu Lannepoudenx for sixth while Anthony Jurado wrested eighth place from David Pajot, who now leads among the Gentleman with his category double win. The battle for tenth place between Junior category drivers Edwin Traynard and Luis Gonzalez went the way of the Frenchman.
At the conclusion of the first half of the season, Dorian Guldenfels has a commanding 74-point lead in the general classification from Thibaut Bossy. With the best point tally over the weekend, David Pouget moves up to third place ahead of Corentin Tierce and Nicolas Milan.
It is not quite summer vacation for the competitors in the Coupe de France FFSA Renault Clio Cup because they will be in action at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on July 19 and 20 for round four of the season. Some of them will then tackle the second Clio Cup Open of the year during the F1 German Grand Prix before completing their national campaigns on Formula 1 tracks: Magny-Cours (September 13-15) and Circuit Paul Ricard (October 11-13).