The Clio Cup Series returns to Hungary for round five of a season packed with excitement. The venue for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the most easterly circuit on the calendar will be the scene of some heightened tension with a field of 25 competitors determined to win before summer.
The love affair between Renault and Hungary began in 1906 with Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz’s victory with Renault in the inaugural Automobile Club de France Grand Prix. After the success of the Renault-powered single-seaters from Enstone in 2003 and 2021 and hugely popular events such as the World Series by Renault, the Clio Cup Series is now part of the story. And the Hungaroring could prove decisive for the Clio Cup Europe and Clio Cup Mid-Europe contenders on a track that is ideal for outstanding bumper-to-bumper battles !
The temperature is rising in Clio Cup Europe
Winner of the first three races of the season, Gabriele Torelli (Rangoni Corse) saw his run interrupted at Spa-Francorchamps. Still at the top of the general classification, the Italian is eager to return to the podium’s top step at a circuit where he made a fantastic comeback to win in 2021. However, his ambitions could clash with those of his closest rivals. Last year’s winners in Budapest, David Pouget (GPA Racing) and Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition) look to regain the upper hand or increase the pressure on the leader before the summer. However, this trio of favourites must expect a fightback from the chase pack led by Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) and several drivers determined to make a comeback : Cristian Ricciarini (Essecorse), Tomas Pekar (Carpek Racing) and Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing).
Challengers Cup leader Mattia Lancellotti has opted to skip the Hungarian meeting. In his absence, Adrian Schimpf (AST Competition) and Pierre Bredeaux (Comte Racing Team) will aim for further success to take the lead in the category from him. The battle promises to be intense with several protagonists keen to reassert their aspirations, such as Nikola Miljkovic (Tempo Racing Team), Leonardo Arduini (MC Motortecnica) and Damiano Puccetti (Rangoni Corse). Meanwhile, Jacopo Giuseppe Cimenes (Essecorse), Alejandro Schimpf (AST Competition) and Guillaume Maio (GM Sport) are determined to get back on track, as is local hero Tim Gabor (GM Sport).
In the Racers Cup, Luca Franca (MC Motortecnica) will try to continue his strong start to the season with three wins from four starts. However, the Italian will have to battle against Lionel Viguier (T2CM), Rene Steenmetz (AST Competition), Benjamin Cauvas (GPA Racing) and Stephan Polderman (AST Competition) on a weekend which could already mark the first turning point in the race for the title.
Round three of Clio Cup Mid-Europe
As in Clio Cup Europe, Gabriele Torelli and Anthony Jurado shared victories in the first two rounds of Clio Cup Mid-Europe. However, the Italian only has a 16-point lead heading into Budapest, and the two drivers will battle to gain a numerical and psychological advantage ahead of the second half of the season. Among their rivals, Tomas Pekar and Andreas Stucki (Stucki Motorsport) will put all their experience to good use to seize the slightest opportunity to reposition themselves ahead of their forthcoming meetings.
Meanwhile, Julien Baziret might see his Challengers Cup lead annihilated as he sits out the Hungarian round. His countryman Guillaume Maio, but also Belgium’s winners Nikola Miljkovic and Henrik Seibel (Carpek Racing), might seize the opportunity to steal the top spot in the standings while Daniel Nyffeler (Stucki Motorsport), Damiano Puccetti and local heroes Tim Gabor and Lantos Szabolcs (Carpek Racing), a newcomer who has shown well in the ESET Cup Series, also want to mix it up with the frontrunners.
Lastly, Rene Steenmetz and Stephan Polderman will vie for top honours in the Racers Cup whilst hoping to take advantage of the absence of leader Sébastien Gehin to wrest control of the category-lead from him.
The fifth meeting of 2023 kicks off on Friday with the collective tests. Scheduled for Saturday at 6.10 pm and Sunday at 5.30 pm, the two races will be streamed live on the Renault Clio Series Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Friday 16 June
8:30-9:00 : Collective test 1
13:28-13:58 : Collective test 2