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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

A new face on the Eurocup Megane Trophy scene, Mirko Bortolotti (Oregon Team) confirmed the promise he showed in collective testing by charging to victory in the opening race of 2013, topping the podium from Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) and Erik Janis (Gravity Charouz).

Having already impressed in collective testing at Motorland Aragon, Mirko Bortolotti registered his first pole position in a qualifying session that saw the drivers increase the pace as time went on. The Oregon Team driver secured first place on the grid from team-mates Kevin Gilardoni and Kelvin Snoeks (Oregon Team), who made a late but unsuccessful bid to displace him.

In a lively start the front three held on to their positions, though Mike Verschuur (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) dropped to the back of the field after suffering a puncture in trying to get past Kelvin Snoeks. Mirko Bortolotti and Kevin Gilardoni made their getaway at the head of the race as the battles for the minor places raged behind them. After climbing up through the field Spain’s Toni Forne (Pujolaracing) suffered the consequences of his early attacks and began to lose race pace, while Erik Janis (Gravity Charouz) found a way past Kelvin Snoeks on lap four only to lose third spot after the refuelling stop.

The duel between Mirko Bortolotti and Kevin Gilardoni would be decided in the pits. Choosing to come in three laps after his stable-mate, the Italian rejoined the race in the lead on lap 12. Pursuing a similar tactic, which allowed him to move up to a provisional second place, Jeroen Schothorst (McGregor by Equipe Verschuur) exited the pits in fifth. On lap 15, meanwhile, Toni Forne and Kelvin Snoeks came together, bringing the Dutchman’s race to a premature end.

Thanks to his perfect race management, Mirko Bortolotti took the chequered flag from Kevin Gilardoni and Erik Janis, the Czech driver prevailing in a thrilling tussle with Max Braams in the final two laps to secure Gravity Charouz’s first top-three finish in the discipline. Fifth overall, Jeroen Schothorst took maximum points in the gentlemen drivers’ standings ahead of Jean-Charles Miginiac (Team Lompech Sport), Margot Laffite (Oregon Team), Toni Forne, Oliver Freymuth (AKF Motorsport) and Jakub Knoll (Gravity Charouz).

What they said:

Mirko Bortolotti: “There’s no better way to start the season. To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting this. Winning the first race is not as easy as you might think. The team has a lot of experience and we’ve worked hard this weekend to make it happen.”

Kevin Gilardoni: “This podium finish is a good way for me to start my second season in the category. My goal’s not to win races but to win the title. This second place is a positive step.”

Erik Janis: “This is a very satisfying result for my team and I. It’s never easy for rookies. We have to adapt and get experience. Scoring points is always the first step if you want to win the title. The next step is to go out and win.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 27 April 2013
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