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Euroclip Clio

Battle is about to recommence in the Eurocup Clio, with only 15 points separating championship leader Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) from Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) at the halfway stage of the season, while third-placed Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) is also still well in contention. The three will be fighting for every point at the next leg at the Paul Ricard track, where two of the season’s four remaining races will be contested.

The four races completed so far in the 2012 Eurocup Clio have yielded three different winners, with Marc Guillot, Mike Verschuur and Oscar Nogues all taking turns at the top of the podium and pulling away in the overall standings. Rafael Villanueva (Milan Competition), Eric Tremoulet (Vic Team), Cristian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport) and Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport) are the men chasing them and still have time to close the gap, especially if the leaders slip up.

Marc Guillot remains the big favourite, however. The Eurocup Clio leader, who hails from Dijon and also heads the Clio Cup France standings, is the only driver to win twice so far, at Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring, and if he maintains that pace, the crown should be his. Unlike his championship rivals, however, he has never won a title before, a factor that could come into play as the season reaches its finale, where experience could make all the difference. As he braces himself for the final push, Marc Guillot will look for support from his Spanish team-mates Jordi Palomeras and Rafael Villanueva, who could have a part to play by scoring points at the expense of his closest challengers.

Mike Verschuur knows all about the highs, having won the Eurocup Megane Trophy in 2009, though he endured disappointment last year by finishing runner-up in the Eurocup Clio. Despite making a false start this season when retiring from Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps, he hit back immediately with a win in Race 2, followed by a second and third in Germany. The only Equipe Verschuur driver in the field, the Dutchman is fighting a lone battle against the Milan Competition and Rangoni Motorsport stables, though what he lacks in back-up he makes up for in motivation. And the fact that the season comes to a conclusion on two of his favourite tracks means he cannot be ruled out.

The last member of the leading trio, Oscar Nogues also knows how to tilt a championship battle in his favour, as he proved in winning the 2011 Renault Clio Cup Italy, the 2008 Seat Leon Eurocup, the 2008 Seat Leon Supercup Spain and the Renault Clio Cup Spain in 2003 and 2005. Like Mike Verschuur, the Spaniard started the current Eurocup Clio campaign badly, finishing 12th in the opening race. However, since then, he has never dropped out of the top five and he enjoyed an especially productive weekend in Germany, where he collected a race win and a second place.

Third overall in the 2011 Eurocup Clio, Massimiliano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport) returns to the discipline with designs on repeating his performance at Paul Ricard last year, when he won Race 1. French duo Xavier Fouineau (LMV Sport) and Yoann Baziret (Setup Racing), who are both showing strongly in this season’s Clio Cup France, will also be out to make their mark, while Arthur Tjon sits in for Ruud Steenmetz at Madeno Racing for what will be his Eurocup Clio debut.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 21 September 2012
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