David Pouget (GPA Racing) wins to get back in the title hunt in an incredibly eventful race marked by several leader changes, overtakes throughout the field and a four-driver sprint to the chequered flag. Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) and Gabriele Torelli (Faro Racing) complete the podium. Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing) and Stephan Polderman (Chefo Sport) take top honours in the Challengers and Gentlemen Drivers Cup at the Red Bull Ring.
Just a few days after the start of the second half of the season at Hockenheim, forty Clio Cup competitors were in action at the host venue of the Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix. While Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) set the pace in the private test, Jerzy Spinkiewicz and Gabriele Torelli were more at ease in the wetter conditions on Friday.
Qualifying promised to be hard-fought, and it was, with times improving as the night showers passed. Anthony Jurado did well to get ahead of David Pouget and Gabriele Torelli. The leaders in Clio Cup Europe and Clio Cup Italia, Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) and Felice Jelmini (PMA Motorsport) had a more challenging session, finishing 13th and 39th.
From the outside of row one, David Pouget had a better start than Anthony Jurado and took the lead, but Gabriele Torelli caught up to him a few corners later. However, the two French drivers regained control before the end of a lively but incident-free first lap. Thanks to the omnipresent drafting phenomenon at the Spielberg track, the top three engaged in a constant battle despite the return of their pursuers, who were battling three or even four abreast.
Despite a first attempt, Anthony Jurado retook the lead on lap three, but David Pouget countered three laps later. Behind them, Tomas Pekar (Carpek Service), Alessandro Brigatti (Progetto E20 Motorsport) and Marc Guillot fought with the same zeal without pulling away from their rivals. On lap eight, Anthony Jurado went on the offensive again to take the lead. Gabriele Torelli and Marc Guillot managed to get in between the new leader and David Pouget in an increasingly compact field with the return of Jerzy Spinkiewicz, Nicolas Milan and Gabor Tim (GM Sport).
After the only safety car period caused by Cosimo Papi (Scuderia Costa Ovest), the battles resumed for a final three-lap sprint. Anthony Jurado kept the lead over Gabriele Torelli, but they were closely followed by David Pouget and Jerzy Spinkiewicz.
The race was decided in the final metres. Anthony Jurado lost momentum coming out of the last corner, and Gabriele Torelli tried to take advantage of it despite contact on the pit straight. David Pouget passed his compatriot on the left and kept his right foot firmly planted to take a photo-finish victory !
David Pouget won ahead of Anthony Jurado, Gabriele Torelli and Jerzy Spinkiewicz in a leading quartet that was less than four-tenths of a second apart at the finish. Alessandro Brigatti won the battle for fifth place against Nicolas Milan, Tomas Pekar and Marc Guillot. Andreas Stucki and Nikola Miljkovic were in pursuit and got the better of Gabor Tim to complete the top ten. Further back, Stephan Polderman won in the Gentlemen Drivers category.
CLIO CUP EUROPE
David Pouget snatched first place from Anthony Jurado and Jerzy Spinkiewicz in the last few metres and is now back in the Clio Cup Europe title race, 46 points behind leader Nicolas Milan, who was fifth on Saturday. Jerzy Spinkiewicz picked up his ninth victory of 2022 in the Challengers Cup ahead of Nikola Miljkovic and William Mezzetti (Progetto E20 Motorsport), who claimed his first podium on the European scene. Stephan Polderman scored valuable championship points with his win ahead of Quinto Stefana (Milan Compétition) and René Steenmetz (Chefo Sport), his closest rivals in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup.
CLIO CUP EASTERN EUROPE
While he barely missed out on victory in Clio Cup Europe, Anthony Jurado continued his fine run of success in Clio Cup Eastern Europe with a sixth triumph from seven starts this season. Tomas Pekar and Marc Guillot, who finished outside the top two for the first time this year, joined the Frenchman on the podium. In the Challengers Cup, Juuso Panttila (Carpek Service) took the lead on the opening lap and won ahead of Lin Chen Han (Uniq Racing) and Henrik Seibel (Carpek Service) to take a step closer to the title. Meanwhile, Stephan Polderman dominated the Gentlemen Drivers Cup at the expense of teammate René Steenmetz (Chefo Sport).
CLIO CUP ITALIA
Just like Anthony Jurado, Gabriele Torelli savoured his third consecutive victory in Clio Cup Italia, with a comfratble margin over Giacomo Trebbi (MC Motortecnica) and Felice Jelmini (PMA Motorsport). Despite his ascent from the back of the grid, the latter is only two points ahead of the day’s winner. Giacomo Trebbi, who won the Challengers Cup ahead of Alessio Alcidi (Tuder Motorsport), retakes the category lead for one point over Cristian Ricciarini (Essecorse), who finished third today. Quinto Stefana was victorious in the Gentlemen Drivers Cup ahead of Vittorio Zadotti (Scuderia Costa Ovest) and Daniele Pasquali (Tuder Motorsport).
The competitors will be back in action Sunday at 9.50 am for qualifying for race two, where the 40-driver field will battle hammer and tongs from 4.30 pm in a race that will be streamed live on the Renault Clio Series’ Facebook page and YouTube channel.