A five-star field for the Alpine Elf Europa Cup
Twenty drivers will be in action at the opening round of the fourth edition of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup during the Coupes de Pâques meeting at the Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro (2-5 April). Even before the season begins, the Alpine A110 once again demonstrates its unifying aspect in bringing together competitors aged from 18 to 78!
The Alpine Elf Europa Cup is now firmly established in the landscape of international motorsport and is preparing for one of the most hotly contested and unpredictable seasons in its history as the field promises to be both competitive and top-shelf.
To launch this year full of promise, some twenty competitors will be in attendance at Nogaro, all of them enticed by the exceptional calendar of a category that will be supporting the best European GT championships.
Attracted by this unique environment and the career prospects, the protagonists will fight for three titles and €160,000 in bonuses and prizes, including €45,000 to take the next step and tackle GT4!
A reshuffle at the sharp end?
2020 Champion Jean-Baptiste Mela (Autosport GP) will be the first to carry the n°1 on his Alpine A110 Cup as the native of Porto-Vecchio is putting his crown on the line!
A logical favourite to repeat, Jean-Baptiste Mela will have to adapt to a new wrinkle, however, as the Alpine A110 Cup is now featuring the Alpine A110S engine, increasing its power to 300 hp.
With a car providing even more sensations, the titleholder will have to work hard as his rivals will be out for revenge. That will be the case of his former team-mate, Laurent Hurgon. The Frenchman was the Best Gentleman in 2018 and second overall last year. For 2021, he will set his sights on the title with Patrick Roger Autosport GP, the sister squad of the eponymous team.
2020 revelation Lilou Wadoux (Patrick Roger Autosport GP) hopes to capitalise on her experience to run amongst the leaders more regularly. The Frenchwoman will also meet up with Polish driver Gosia Rdest, who should once again be a driver to keep an eye on in the field as she now leads Chazel Technologie Course in its Alpine Elf Europa Cup debut.
The chase is open
Among the newcomers, Thomas Dagoneau (Autosport GP) will be one of the drivers to follow closely after his solid spell in prototypes but several other Juniors who are eager to give their careers a boost are ready to do whatever it takes to upset the hierarchy.
In this category, the battle to succeed Jean-Baptiste Mela is wide-open as the 22-year-old Corsican can not defend his crown after winning the general classification last year. Besides Lilou Wadoux, Louis Méric (Méric Compétition) also returns with the stated objective of getting closer to podium results and victory.
Ugo de Wilde (Herrero Racing), who finished runner-up in the 2018 French F4 Championship and is the youngest race-winner in Formula Renault Eurocup history, will look to make an early strong statement. Taking over the leader's role from Mateo Herrero, the Belgian driver will try to quickly establish himself as one of the front-runners in the category. So will Corentin Tierce (Herrero Racing), who is switching from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive after winning his first race in Clio Cup France last year.
Other single-seater converts hope to make their mark as Simon Tirman (Autosport GP) returns to competition nine years after finishing second in the French F4 Championship. The category is completed by Henri Lombard (Race Cars Consulting), brother of Olivier, who makes his debut on the international scene.
Gentlement, start your engines!
The battle promises to be just as exciting in the Gentlemen Category. Philippe Bourgois (Chazel Technologie Course) will go for a second title while continuing his march up the general classification. However, the Belgian driver will have to find his bearings in his new team and contend with the competition that has never been as strong.
A three-time winner in its maiden campaign in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup, the Race Cars Consulting team wants to confirm its good run throughout the season with Franck Labescat, double-winner in the class for his first appearance last year at Portimão. With three wins to his credit, Stéphane Auriacombe (Herrero Racing) shares the same ambitions and will only settle for the title.
Stéphane Proux (Herrero Racing), Franc Rouxel (Herrero Racing) and Pierre Macchi (Patrick Roger Autosport GP) have become Alpine A110 Cup specialists and remain loyal to the discipline and their teams. By choosing to bet on stability, the three men intend to dethrone Philippe Bourgois.
Lastly, some other protagonists should not be overlooked, such as Grégory Romano (Autosport GP), back after a three-year absence, while the evergreen Luc Rozentvaig (BL Sport) is keen to show that he has not lost a step at the age of 78!
Manu Guigou will be the VIP driver in the n°110 Alpine A110. The French two-wheel drive Rally Champion and FIA R-GT Cup leader with an Alpine A110 Rally will make the most of this opportunity to keep the pace before his future events while demonstrating versatility worthy of the greatest of Alpine drivers!
Friday 2 April
9h20-10h00: Private test 1
12h40-13h20: Private test 2
Sunday 4 April
8h15-8h35: Qualifying 1
12h10-12h40: Race 1
Saturday 3 April
10h25-11h05: Free Practice 1
15h30-16h10: Free Practice 2
Monday 5 April
8h15-8h35: Qualifying 2
12h10-12h40: Race 2