Eurocup Clio leads the dance
Eurocup Clio was the first of the World Series by Renault's disciplines to take part in collective testing which is due to run throughout March, with forty-one drivers answering the roll-call for this first event of the season Equipe Verschuur's Mike Verschuur set the fastest lap of the day, taking advantage of the few minutes of dry track at the end of the afternoon. The winner of the 2009's Eurocup Megane Trophy finished the day on top, to lead 2010 Renault Clio Cup Espagne champion Jose Manuel de los Milagros of the Da Le Gas team, and 2010 Renault Clio Cup Suisse champion, the Association Fred Yerly Team's Frederic Yerly.
Equipe Verschuur's Mike Verschuur set the fastest lap of the day, taking advantage of the few minutes of dry track at the end of the afternoon. The winner of the 2009's Eurocup Megane Trophy finished the day on top, to lead 2010 Renault Clio Cup Espagne champion Jose Manuel de los Milagros of the Da Le Gas team, and 2010 Renault Clio Cup Suisse champion, the Association Fred Yerly Team's Frederic Yerly.
The new season of Eurocup Clio begins in earnest at Spa-Francorchamps, as part of the second meeting of the 2011 World Series by Renault. However, the drivers selected for Eurocup Clio 2011 first has to pay a visit to France's Dijon-Prenois circuit today in order to confirm their qualification for this new competition.
Forty-one drivers took to a damp track in Dijon, divided into three groups for the morning session, while the afternoon session was an all-in scrap with all drivers taking to the tarmac together. The favorites were immediately on the pace, with Nicolas Milan, two-times Clio Cup France champion in 2009 and 2010, setting the standard. The Milan Competition driver and manager soon handed over control of the morning session to Spaniard Jose Manuel de los Milagros. With a fastest lap of 1'40''331, the Renault Clio Cup Espagne 2010 champion eventually gave way to Duprey Competition's Philippe Maurin, Nicolas Milan, Composite Motorsport's Giancarlo Lenzotti and Pujolaracing Jordi Palomeras.
Nicolas Milan, Cristian Ricciarini and Jordi Palomeras put on a fine show on a progressively drying track during the afternoon, the 2010 Renault Clio Cup France champion eventually gaining the upper hand over the Italian and Spanish drivers, who finished the season as runners up.
With the action drawing to a close, slicks were now the order of the day. Yoann Baziret and Mike Verschuur were closely matched, trading fastest laps. The eventually Netherlander came out on top with a lap time of 1'35"474, shortly before the final shower of the day came down. He ended the first day of Eurocup Clio collective testing on top, ahead of Jose Manuel de los Milagros and Frederic Yerly.
Mike Verschuur: "If the season is as hotly contested as it was today, it's going to be tough. I'm driving with my Dad's team, with my sister as my teammate. It's a family affair. The aim is to win, naturally, and judging by my level of performance today I've still got what it takes."
Jose Manuel de los Milagros: "It's going to be very exciting season. It will be my first visit to most of the circuits and the level of competition is looking really high. I'm happy with my performance today and I've for high hopes for the season to come."
Federic Yerly: "I think there are fifteen or twenty drivers who could be in with a chance of winning this inaugural season of Eurocup Clio 2011. It's naturally my main objective this season, but it isn't going to be easy. Today we saw how close it was between the Italians, the Spanish, the French, the Netherlanders and the Swiss. It's going to be tough!"
Nicolas Milan: "Milan Competition will be entering five cars in Eurocup Clio this season, one of which I will be driving. I think it's a great competition, offering a lot of excitement. Today's collective testing gave us a taste of the front-runners, as we didn't really know each other's strengths. We generally found the guys who we thought were the fastest at the top of the time-sheet. I think it's going to be really tight, and a lot of fun to watch."
-source: renault sport