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Eurocup Clio

Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) drove a smooth race to start the season in winning fashion, recording his maiden victory in the Eurocup Clio. Guillot, current leader of the Clio Cup France and Clio Cup Spain, finished ahead of his team-mate, Rafaël Villanueva, and Cristian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport), who secured third place right at the end of the race.

Mike Vershuur (Equipe Vershuur) put in a perfect performance in qualifying to start the race on pole, ahead of Marc Guillot, Rafaël Villanueva and Robert Van den Berg (Harders Plaza Racing). Verschuur made the best start, but he soon succumbed to simultaneous attacks from Marc Guillot and Rafaël Villanueva at the braking zone at Les Combes. In the same location, Jordi Palomera (Milan Competition) also got the better of Robert Van den Berg.

The safety car was introduced during the second lap, following contact between several drivers. This spelled the end of the race for Ruud Steenmetz (Madano Racing), Michaël Novalak (Dale Gas) and Fabien Vericel (Opteam Racing by Duprey).

After several laps behind the safety car while the barrier was repaired, the race eventually got back underway. Marc Guillot retained his lead ahead of Rafaël Villanueva and Mike Verschuur. And while the two Milan Competition drivers extended their lead, Mike Vershuur was powerless to stop the charge of Jordi Palomeras. The Spaniard positioned himself perfectly in the slipstream to moved up into third place. Verschuur then took a detour off the track and fell all the way to the back of the field.

These various incidents worked in favour of Milan Competition duo Marc Guillot and Rafaël Villanueva. Meanwhile, back in third, Jordi Palomeras sought to fend off the challenge of Robert Van den Berg, Cirstian Ricciarini, René Steenmetz (Madeno Racing) and Frédéric Yerly (Gruyère Racing Team).

While the order at the front stayed unchanged, the chasing pack remained tight and competitive all the way to the finish. Jordi Palomeras was caught out by both Robert Van den Berg and Cristian Ricciarini, but he still managed to stay in touch with the pair. The situation changed further in the penultimate lap, with Cristian Ricciarini getting the better of Robert Van den Berg.

Marc Guillot eventually won the race less than a second ahead of Rafael Villanueva, giving Milan Competition a one-two finish to kick of the season. Cristian Ricciarini completed the podium at the end of what was a fierce battle.

What they said:

Marc Guillot: “At the start I deliberately waited to pass Mike Verschuur, because I knew that it wasn’t in my interest to overtake him before Les Combes. The safety car disrupted my plans as I had really pushed hard at the start of the race to widen the gap. Fortunately it was Rafa, my team-mate, who was behind me. We pulled away from the rest. He stayed behind me until the end, without really attacking me.”

Rafaël Villanueva: “The important thing is the team’s overall result. It’s only the first race, so we needed to not do anything silly. Marc was very quick and it wasn’t easy to follow him. I didn’t try any stupid moves at the end of the race, as I need these points and so does the team.”

Cristian Ricciarini: “I knew I had a good car for the race. I preserved my car so that I could be decisive at the end of the race. It worked well, and I’m pleased with third place. It’s a good start. Marc and Rafa pulled off a perfect team race.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 02 June 2012
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