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Eurocup Clio

Spanish fans were treated to a typically entertaining Eurocup Clio race in Barcelona on Saturday, as Nicolas Milan (Milan Competition) gave yet another masterclass. Crowned 2011 champion at the Paul Ricard HTTT last month, Milan was first over the line for the fifth time this season, while Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) was promoted to second place following the 40 seconds penalty of Philippe Maurin (Duprey Competition), with Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) moving up to third to complete the podium.

One thousandth of a second was all that separated Milan in pole from Verschuur in second, with the top 20 drivers in qualifying finishing within a single second of each other, suggesting the race would be an open one.

In an incident-packed start that saw Milan pull out in front, Cristian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport), Robert Van den Berg (Harders Plaza Racing), John Wartigue (Milan Competition) and Giancarlo Lenzotti (Composit Motorsport) were involved in a mass collision that led to the appearance of the safety car.

Leading the way from Verschuur, Maurin, Massimiliano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport) and Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) on the restart, Milan held off the Dutchman as the leading bunch went wheel for wheel for several laps. Verschuur almost capitalised on a small Milan error, only for the Eurocup Clio champion to close the door shut almost immediately. Then it was Verschuur’s turn to make a mistake by running wide, allowing Maurin to sneak past and into second. Guillot also made a move by dislodging Pedala from fourth.

There was plenty of activity further back as well, as the drivers jostled for the minor placings. Pulling away from a tightly packed bunch of six cars, the Spanish twosome Jordi Palomeras (Pujolaracing) and Azor Duenas (Milan Competition) moved up to fifth and sixth respectively, Duenas eventually slipping past his fellow countryman on the final lap.

Though there was little to choose between the drivers, the positions remained unchanged, as Milan took the chequered flag for the fifth time this season, with Maurin coming in second and Verschuur third, a result that consolidated his second place in the championship standings. Maurin’s failure to respect a drive-through led to 40 seconds penalty after the race and Verschuur’s promotion to second place, and Guillot’s to third.

What he said:

Nicolas Milan: “I never had a big lead but it was still a fairly comfortable race. I’m happy to have won another Clio race because this is my last weekend in the Eurocup Clio. Next year I’ll be moving to the Eurocup Megane Trophy, and I’m going to take my first drive on Monday. It’s an adventure I’m looking forward to.”

Following the race the stewards announced that four drivers would be excluded from the meeting for conducting private testing at the Barcelona track a few days ago, in contravention of Article 17.2 of the Eurocup Clio regulations. The four drivers in question were: Cristian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport), Enrico Dell’Onte (Composit Motorsport), Stefano Zanini (Composit Motorsport) and John Wartigues (Milan Competition).

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 09 October 2011
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