Pace increased in Clio Cup Europe and Clio Cup Spain

2022 Clio Cup Europe - Clio Cup Spain

Following the season kick-off in Nogaro, the pace picks up this week in Clio Cup with the opening round of Clio Cup Europe and Clio Cup Spain. To mark Renault’s 54th consecutive year of racing in Spain, 30 drivers will be in action at Jarama, which makes its return to the calendar after a four-year absence.

Renault and Jarama are inextricably linked. Just as the Renault 8 Gordini helped popularise motor racing in France, the Renault 8 TS did the same on the other side of the Pyrenees. Presented on the Madrid track on 22 October 1968, the car developed by FASA-Renault was the basis of the Copa Nacional Renault, which had its debut on 14 June 1969 at the same circuit.

Several decades later, the Copa Nacional Renault has become the Clio Cup Spain, and the competitors are ready to return to Jarama for the first time since 2018. With a short start-finish straight and many tight and twisty corners, making overtaking difficult, qualifying could be more important than ever. However, the Clio Cup contenders know how to create opportunities on any track!

Milan puts his European title back on the line

After its successful renaissance, Clio Cup Europe returns to begin its new campaign at the circuit that hosted the Spanish Grand Prix nine times between 1968 and 1981.

Two-time winner of Jarama’s last Clio Cup Spain appearance in 2018, Nicolas Milan (Milan Competition) aims to start his title defence on a high, but the competition led by David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) will be fierce. They won a race apiece at Nogaro to kick off the Clio Cup France and will try to build on their excellent start to the season. Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition), who is more ambitious than ever and determined to send a strong message to his rivals, will be another to keep an eye on.

The Challengers Cup, a proper race within a race, promises to be an extremely competitive battle to find Kévin Jimenez’s heir. Leader of the category in France, Mathieu Lannepoudenx (Milan Compétition) will use his experience of Jarama to extend his lead. As in Nogaro, he will be up against Guillaume Maio (GM Sport) and the Uniq Racing duo of Poland’s Jerzy Spinkiewicz and Taiwan’s Lin Chen Han. Meanwhile, Nicolas Abella (Chefo Sport) and Alex Lahoz (Cota Auto Motorsport) hope to remain the men to beat in their country despite the presence of Luciano Gioia (Essecorse), third in Clio Cup Italia in 2013, and former karting drivers Jacopo Cimenes (Essecorse) and William Mezzetti (Progetto E20 Motorsport). After making his debut with the fifth-generation Clio last year in Barcelona, Finland’s Juuso-Petteri Panttila (Chefo Sport) returns with heightened ambitions, as does Lorenzo Nicoli (Progetto E20 Motorsport), one of the discipline’s leading lights in 2021.

In the Gentlemen Drivers Cup, the race to succeed Lionel Viguier is wide open. Fifth in the Clio Cup Europe category last year, representing the Netherlands, Stephan Polderman (Chefo Sport) will be among the favourites with his teammate Rene Steenmetz (Chefo Sport). However, they will have to be wary of experienced Italians Andrea Argenti (SI Racing Team) and Quinto Stefana (Milan Competition), not to mention France’s Michel Faye (GM Sport) and Argentina’s Gabriel Alonso (GPA Racing), the BRM Award winner in 2021.

Everything is open in Clio Cup Spain

After four years of French domination, the Spanish drivers are determined to regain control of the Clio Cup Spain, as Nicolas Milan is not putting his title on the line.

In this reshuffled field, Alex Royo (Team VRT) aims for a second crown to add to his 2017 title. However, the Spaniard will have a fight on his hands against some stout rivals, beginning with his new teammate Jordi Palomeras (Team VRT). Other Challengers will also target the overall victory while competing in their category, including familiar faces such as Nicolas Abella, Alex Lahoz, or the Schimpf twins Adrian and Alejandro and Daniel Nogales (Cota Auto Motorsport).

Turkey’s Emre Can Ünal (Team VRT) is a newcomer to the Clio Cup, and he will try to spring a surprise on his debut. Supported by the Renault Group Fundación España, which promotes inclusion and solidarity, Spain’s Lydia Sempere (Team VRT) also makes her first Clio Cup debut to shatter taboos and demonstrate passion for competition can overcome hearing impairments.

Stéphane Polderman will defend his Gentlemen Drivers Cup title in Spain against 2021 runner-up René Steenmetz, France’s Fabien Julia (LR Performance) and Spain’s Joaquin Rodrigo (Vearsa Sport), who knows the Jarama circuit like the back of his racing gloves.

The 30 drivers representing nine countries will have two practice sessions on Friday before qualifying and the races on Saturday and Sunday. Both races from Jarama will be streamed, with live commentary on the Renault Clio Series Facebook page and Renault Clio Series YouTube channel.

ENTRY LIST

TIMETABLE

Friday 22 April
2:00-2:30 pm: Collective test 1
6:50-7:20 pm: Collective test 2

Saturday 23 April
12:00-12:20 pm: Qualifying 1
4:40-5:10 pm: Race 1 (25 minutes + 1 lap)

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Sunday 24 April
12:05-12:25 pm: Qualifying 2
3:45-4:15 pm: Race 2 (25 minutes + 1 lap)

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