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Eurocup Clio

The rain came to add a bit of spice to proceedings in Eurocup Clio collective testing at Spa-Francorchamps. Michaël Novalak took advantage of a few short minutes of dry track to record the fastest time of the morning session. The weather was less disruptive in the second session, allowing the title hopefuls to climb to the top of the timesheets. Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport), Clio Cup Italy champion in 2008, clocked the fastest time of the afternoon, followed by Eric Trémoulet (Vic Team) and Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur).

For the first time this season, the thirty drivers competing in the Eurocup Clio took to the track and got the second edition of the competition underway. There were a number of new faces in the field, including Gonzalo Martin de Andres (Dale Gas), Clio Cup Spain champion in 2009, Eoin Murray (Monolite Racing) and former rally driver Fabien Véricel (Opteam Racing).

On a damp track, it was Mike Verschuur and Giancarlo Lenzotti (Composit Motorsport) who set the tempo. But after a few laps, the circuit began to dry and several pilots tried their luck on slick tyres. Of those drivers, Michaël Novalak (Dale Gas) stood out by recording the fastest time, just before the rain returned to soak the track once again. Despite the efforts of Verschuur and Robert Van den Berg (Harders Plaza Racing), the Frenchman held on to top spot all the way to the chequered flag. Eric Trémoulet and Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) completed the top five.

The weather was kinder in the second collective testing session, allowing the leading lights of last season’s competition to excel. Straight away, Robert Van den Berg improved on the benchmark time set by Novalak. Verschuur, Frédéric Yerly (Gruyere Racing Team) and Cristian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport) then took turns to hold the lead. But it was the Ragnoni Motorsport pair of Oscar Nogues and Simone di Luca who set the pace in the afternoon, with di Luca securing the best time at the very end of the session. He was followed by Eric Trémoulet, who was very much at home on the circuit, Mike Verschuur, Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) and Oscar Nogues.

What they said:

Simone di Luca: “The order this afternoon was a bit more as you would have expected. This morning we all got caught out by not using slick tyres when we should have. The weather is always a real issue at Spa Francorchamps. I’m very happy because my team-mates, particularly Oscar Nogues, were very quick. To succeed in the Eurocup Clio, you have to be a close-knit team.”

Mike Verschuur: “I’m very happy to be here because we’ve taken time to get this programme up and running. Looking at the list of competitors, it promises to be a very hard-fought season and there are several of us who can aim for the title. Nothing went right this morning, but we put everything back in order for the second session. The only problem as far as I’m concerned, especially here, where slipstreaming is so important, is the fact that I’m the only one in my team. In qualifying particularly, it will be a big disadvantage.”

Marc Guillot: “This morning I went out on grooved tyres when slicks were needed. By the time I’d returned to make the switch, the rain had come back. So the session wasn’t of any use to me. We decided to spend a lot of time on track in the second session, and now we have data and work to do to improve the car. I’m happy to be in the leading group, but it’s not going to be easy this season!”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 01 June 2012
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