For the first time since the introduction of the fifth generation Clio Cup, the Clio Cup Series heads to the Nürburgring for round seven of the 2023 calendar. With several hotly-contested title battles, the stakes will be all the higher in this showdown before the summer break.
The start of the Clio Cup Series season has been full of twists and turns and has laid the foundation for an incredibly wide-open campaign. The legendary Nürburgring poses real technical challenges for the drivers and could allow some protagonists to break away or others to regain their form before the back half of the campaign.
Three men for the leadership role in Clio Cup Europe
Gabriele Torelli (Rangoni Corse) arrives at the Nürburgring atop the general classification with four wins and two more podium finishes from six races. The Italian hopes to build on his success and put the competition on the back foot before the holidays, but he will have to watch out for David Pouget (GPA Racing), who extended his lead in the Clio Cup Series with a double victory at Misano. Anthony Jurado (Milan Compétition), a two-time winner this season, will also intensify his efforts to defend his European crown, but all three can’t afford to overlook the expected fightback from experienced rivals at the Nürburgring. In addition to Tomas Pekar (Carpek Racing), Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) and Cristian Ricciarini (Essecorse), Jerzy Spinkiewicz (Uniq Racing) will also be keen to get back on track this weekend.
The battle promises to be fierce in the Challengers Cup, with several contenders in a position to dislodge leader Pierre Bredeaux. Among them, Adrian Schimpf (AST Competition) is currently the best placed, but Nikola Miljkovic (Tempo Racing Team) looks to continue his strong form following his success in Budapest. Meanwhile, Jacopo Cimenes (Essecorse), Alejandro Schimpf (AST Competition) and Guillaume Maio (GM Sport) have their sights on a maiden win this season to upset the hierarchy. Further back, Damiano Puccetti (Rangoni Corse) and Mariano Alonso (GPA Racing) will do their utmost to accelerate their climb up the order in a category where three drivers will make their debuts : Dutchman Martijn Kool (Kool Racing), Frenchman Thomas Compain (Milan Compétition) and Dane Mathias Dall (Dall Racing).
Luca Franca is guaranteed to spend his summer holidays on top of the Racers Cup after winning five times in six starts. However, his rivals will try to take advantage of his absence at the Nürburgring, in particular Rene Steenmetz (AST Competition), Lionel Viguier (T2CM) and Stephan Polderman (AST Competition). However, this trio will have to deal with the return of Michel Faye (GM Sport) and Gabriel Alonso (GPA Racing), as well as the first appearance of Germany’s Udo Brenner (LCB Racing), determined to impress on home soil.
The battle resumes in Clio Cup France
After sharing victories at Nogaro, Magny-Cours and Spa-Francorchamps, Nicolas Milan and David Pouget continue their duel for the reins of Clio Cup France in Germany. Although Nicolas Milan currently has a 12-point lead, the multiple Clio Cup title winner knows that his rival will aim to build on his excellent pace at Misano to regain the upper hand in the French group.
Alexandre Finkelstein (GPA Racing) is currently third on the points table and will look to break the dominance of the two leading contenders whilst taking his first step towards the Challengers Cup crown. After ending the category leader’s invincibility, Florian Venturi (GM Sport) will try to repeat the feat, but Aurélien Renet (JSB Compétition) will look to narrow the gap to the frontrunners.
In the Racers Cup, Jérémy Bordagaray (Milan Compétition) has a chance to distance himself from Fabien Julia (LR Performance) and Lionel Viguier (T2CM). While all three drivers have enjoyed success so far this year, Laurent Dziadus (Team Lucas) is eager to prove that he still has every chance, as do Raphaël Cuadrado (GM Sport), Samuel Chaligne (T2CM) and Veenesh Shunker (T2CM).
Tension mounts in Clio Cup Mid-Europe
As in Clio Cup France, Clio Cup Mid-Europe enters the fourth of its six meetings with a headline duel. Gabriele Torelli and Anthony Jurado have shared all the wins so far, and the Italian has a 22-point lead over his rival, who is determined to step up his push for another title.
However, several competitors will rely on their experience to make up the deficit before the summer break, including Tomas Pekar, Andreas Stucki (Stucki Motorsport) and several other leading contenders. Challengers Cup leader Nikola Miljkovic seeks to pull away from Guillaume Maio, Damiano Puccetti, Henrik Seibel (Carpek Racing) and Daniel Nyffeler (Stucki Motorsport). Meanwhile, Rene Steenmetz will also attempt to extend his Racers Cup lead in the wake of his pair of wins at the Hungaroring, but Sébastien Gehin (T2CM) and Stephan Polderman are determined to keep the suspense going.
Bringing together 36 drivers representing ten European countries, round seven of the Clio Cup Series begins on Friday with the collective tests. Scheduled for Saturday at 5:05 pm and Sunday at 11:35 am, the two races will be streamed live on the Renault Clio Series Facebook page and YouTube Renault channel.
Friday 28 July
9:40-10:10 : Collective test 1
12:40-13:10 : Collective test 2
18:00-18:20 : Qualifying 2 (for race 2)