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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Before today, Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) had won every race in this season’s Eurocup Megane Trophy. As part of his bid to prevent the Dutchman from winning again today, Albert Costa decided to don the helmet he wore when he drove to victory in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Barcelona last season. The move paid off, as the Spaniard secured his first Eurocup Megane Trophy win ahead of Fabien Thuner (TDS Racing) and Schothorst – a victory that puts him right back in the title race.

In qualifying, Albert Costa showed his determination by impressively claiming pole position for both of the weekend’s races, finishing ahead of team-mate Fabien Thuner on both occasions. This meant it was an all-Oregon Team front row for Race 1, with Bas Schothorst lining up alongside Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) on the second row.

Schothorst tried to take everyone by surprise at the start of the race, but the Eurocup Megane Trophy championship leader was too enthusiastic on his approach to turn one and ran wide. The order, then, remained unchanged at the front, with Costa leading the race ahead of Thuner, Bas Schothorst, Gilardoni and Tom Coronel (TDS Racing).

Niccoli Nalio, who started the race in eighth, quickly caught up with the front five. On the third lap, the Italian began to push in a bid to snatch fifth place from Coronel, but he had to wait until the fifth lap to find the opening. Costa, meanwhile, was opening up a strong lead over Thuner and Bas Schothorst.

Nalio was the first of the frontrunners to make the obligatory trip to the pits, with Coronel, for his part, forced to retire from the race after coming into contact with the car of Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing).

With all the pitstops complete, Costa retained control of the race with slim one-second advantage over Thuner. Bas Schothorst, meanwhile, trailed more than 12 seconds behind Thuner in third.

The tussle between the Oregon Team pair was the main attraction towards the end of the race. Thuner did not force the issue, however, allowing Costa to cruise home to his first victory in the Eurocup Megane Trophy. Thuner finished second to secure a first one-two of the season for Oregon Team. Despite finishing third, Bas Schothorst maintains a commanding lead at the top of overall standings in the Eurocup Megane Trophy.

What they said:

Albert Costa: “I joined this competition from the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, so everyone thought I was going to stroll to the title. But it’s not like that. I’ve had to get to know the car and spend lots of time working with Oregon Team, as this is a really competitive discipline. It all paid off today with my first saloon-car victory. It puts me back on track and gives fresh motivation to everyone around me. We had to win!”

Fabien Thuner: “The season did not get off to the ideal start, but we’ve been working together non-stop to improve the car and many other things. Everything is working well now, and this podium finish is the first step. I now hope I can quickly get a victory and fight for the title myself.”

Bas Schothorst: “Today I made a mistake I’d never made before when I hit the wall on the entrance to the pits. My race should have been over at that point! I carried on with a crooked steering wheel and gears that wouldn’t change properly, but fortunately I managed to reach the finish and get the points for third place. It could have been worse.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 June 2012
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