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Eurocup Clio

Some 40 drivers are expected to line up in Barcelona for the final round of the “Champions League” of Clio racing. The winner of four of the season’s six races, Nicolas Milan (Milan Compétition) has already made the title his. The Frenchman, who will be appearing in next season’s Eurocup Megane Trophy, has designs on another victorious weekend, with second-placed Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) looking to close out the juniors’ championship. Meanwhile, the Gentlemen Drivers’ title has come down to a two-horse race between Massimilano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport) and Giancarlo Lenzotti (Composit Motorsport).

Having reigned supreme in the French Clio Cup for the last three seasons, Nicolas Milan has been in a class of his own in the inaugural Eurocup Clio. Backed by a tightly knit and highly effective team, the Frenchman has got his slipstreaming strategies just right throughout qualifying this season, cruising to the title and with it a drive in next season’s Eurocup Megane Trophy.

While Barcelona could well be his Clio swansong, Milan will be looking on the Catalunya meeting as an opportunity to repay his young lieutenants for their solid support, among them Marc Guillot and Thibaut Bossy. The French duo have suffered their fair share of mishaps in the densely populated Eurocup Clio pack and have found race success elusive, though with Milan around to help them and the juniors’ crown still to be decided, this could be their chance to pounce. The Milan Compétition drivers know what it takes to triumph here, with Guillot and Milan both claiming wins at the Catalan track in the Spanish Clio Cup in late September.

Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) has a dual mission ahead of him as he seeks to protect his second place in the overall standings from Italian twosome Massimiliano Pedala and Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport), and clinch the juniors’ championship ahead of Guillot and sister Sheila (Equipe Verschuur). Though the Dutch driver knows Catalunya well, he will need to improve on his last outings at the Paul Ricard HTTT, where he came fourth on the Saturday and failed to finish on the Sunday.

One man who did impress in France in mid-September was Pedala, who stormed to a win and a second place, the highpoint so far of his first season back behind the wheel. The multiple Italian Clio Cup champion will be out to maintain that kind of form as a vital year comes to a conclusion, one he still hopes to end with second place overall and victory in the Gentlemen Drivers’ championship.

The Spanish contingent has yet to record a race win. The line between triumph and failure is a thin one in the ultra-competitive world of Eurocup Clio racing, a line the success-starved Spaniards will be hoping to cross in front of their fans. The man most likely to have the national anthem sounding on home soil is Jordi Palomeras (Pujolaracing), who sports racing number 1. Team-mate Marcos de Diego has been growing in stature with every race and could have a part to play, while Raquel Morera (Autotec Racing Team) and Santi Navarro (Pujolaracing) will also be worth keeping eye on, as will the young Azor Duenas (Milan Compétition) on his European debut. Currently fourth in the Spanish Clio Cup and the leading junior, Duenas has nothing to lose in two races that are sure to provide some high-octane excitement.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 03 October 2011
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