The Alpine Elf Europa Cup continued its incredible start to the season with two new race winners at Magny-Cours, making it four different drivers to have won in the opening four races of 2022. After their victories, Simon Tirman (Autosport GP) and Paul Cauhaupé (Patrick Roger Autosport GP) now sit atop the general classification ahead of the next meeting at Zandvoort (17-19 June).
Twenty-four competitors were in action at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours for round two of the year. Simon Tirman and Lucas Frayssinet (Chazel Technologie Course) were the first to show their skills by dominating a practice session each in overcast conditions at the former home of the French Grand Prix.
RACE 1: TIRMAN TAKES HIS REVENGE
Simon Tirman kept the momentum going on Friday with the best qualifying time by just 0.008s at the end of a session marked by the red flags caused by Louis Maurice (Code Racing Development) and Alexis Garcin (Herrero Racing). Simon Tirman thus claimed pole position ahead of Paul Cauhaupé while Lucas Frayssinet and Thibaut Bossy shared the second row on the grid.
Simon Tirman held onto the lead at the start while Paul Cauhaupé was busy holding off Lucas Frayssinet. Meanwhile, Rodolphe Wallgren (Herrero Racing) went up from eighth to fifth place before being caught by Louis Méric (Race Cars Consulting), who received a drive-through penalty that later proved unjustified.
While the leading duo gradually pulled away as the laps ticked off, Edwin Traynard (Chazel Technologie Course) saw his position as leader of the general classification slip away when he had to head to the pits with a mechanical issue. Meanwhile, the fight was raging in the midfield, with battles resembling a clash of generations.
Simon Tirman, whose momentum was cut short at Nogaro, remained unfazed to take his first victory of 2022. Paul Cauhaupé and Lucas Frayssinet completed the top three monopolised by the Juniors. After the drive-through penalties of Thibaut Bossy and Louis Méric, Rodolphe Wallgren moved up to fourth place. Alexis Garcin finished fifth, ahead of Gosia Rdest (Chazel Technologie Course) and Louis Méric, seventh after his penalty unfortunately prevented him from taking the reins of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup. Eighth overall, Anthony Fournier finished first in the Gentleman category ahead of Philippe Bourgois (Chazel Technologie Course) and Stéphane De Groodt (Chazel Technologie Course).
RACE 2: CAUHAUPÉ SCORES HIS FIRST WIN
Simon Tirman collected his third consecutive pole on Saturday, getting again the better of Paul Cauhaupé. This time it was by just 0.009s while Lucas Frayssinet and Thibaut Bossy once again shared row two.
The pole winner made a perfect start to lead a pack enlivened by the battles between Louis Méric and Alexis Garcin and between Tim Mérieux (Autosport GP) and Jules Gougeon (Race Cars Consulting). Meanwhile, Rodolphe Wallgren gained five positions to slot into the top five. The intensity also increased in the Gentlemen category when Frédéric Roy (Chazel Technologie Course) snatched the lead from Anthony Fournier.
Simon Tirman did his best but could not hold off Paul Cauhaupé, who found an opening at the Adelaide hairpin on lap five. A lap later, the safety car intervened to allow for the removal of Philippe Bourgois' car after he went off the track.
In just his fourth race in the category, Paul Cauhaupé managed the restart like a veteran, becoming the fourth different winner in four races this year. The Frenchman won ahead of Simon Tirman, who was under threat for a portion of the race by Lucas Frayssinet. Thibaut Bossy finished fourth, ahead of Rodolphe Wallgren, Alexis Garcin and Edwin Traynard. Poland's Gosia Rdest was on her way to eight before making a small but costly mistake just meters from the chequered flag. Romain Brun (Code Racing Development) inherited eighth place ahead of Abdoulaye Diop (Autosport GP) and Frédéric Roy (Race Cars Consulting), who was victorious in the Gentlemen's category ahead of Anthony Fournier and Marc Sevestre (Autosport GP).
Simon Tirman now leads the Alpine Elf Europa Cup and Junior category general classification, but Paul Cauhaupé and Lucas Frayssinet trail by just four points. Rodolphe Wallgren is also in contention, just four points further. Anthony Fournier racked up the points over the weekend to take the lead from Philippe Bourgois in the Gentleman category.
The next round will take the competitors to Zandvoort (Netherlands), where the Alpine Elf Europa Cup will be in action for the first time in its history from 17 to 19 June.
Simon Tirman (Race 1 winner)
"It was a good weekend. After our mechanical problem at Nogaro, we bounced back with two poles, a win and a second-place finish to regain the overall lead. My teammates and I are working well in all aspects with the team and we have to continue like this. I am quite confident for Zandvoort as we are in the lead after Nogaro and Magny-Cours, two tracks that are not exactly my favourites."
Paul Cauhaupé (Race 2 winner)
"I am so happy to win in the second meeting of my first season. I saw Simon close the gap in the last few laps, but I managed to keep my pace to cross the finish line first. I am confident about the future. I'm delighted with this great start to the campaign. I feel that I can challenge for the title both in the Junior category and overall, so I'm already looking forward to Zandvoort."
Anthony Fournier (Gentleman category race 1 winner)
"The outcome of this weekend is extremely positive. We had good speed and a great Alpine prepared by the team. I think I had the pace to fight for victory again on Saturday, but I got caught out by some cold tyres on the restart after the safety car. We still scored good points, and that's the most important thing for us to continue with confidence."
Frédéric Roy (Gentleman category race 2 winner)
"It's a great pleasure to get my first win of the year. I took a gamble at the start by trying the outside line at Adelaide, and it worked out. This win is somewhat unexpected so early in the season, so it's a nice surprise, and it's encouraging for the rest of the year. We'll try to do it again at Zandvoort, and I'm already more than ready to get back in the car!"