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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Monday’s Eurocup Megane Trophy collective testing sessions at the Catalunya track brought together 22 drivers. Mirko Bortolotti (Oregon Team), the 2011 Formula 2 champion and 2008 Italian F3 winner posted the fastest time of the morning, though it was GP2 Series driver Fabrizio Crestani (Oregon Team) who ended the day fastest with an afternoon lap of 1:52.288.

Just a day after Albert Costa and Oregon Team sealed the 2012 titles, it was back to business for the Eurocup Megane Trophy teams, as a talented pool of drivers pitched up for some post-season collective testing. Among them were Marc Guillot, Andres Wernesson, Jack Goff and Niels Langeveld, reward for their respective national Clio Cup wins in France, Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands.

The 2010 Eurocup Megane Trophy champion Nick Catsburg was on hand to help Algarve Pro Racing work on their set-up, while a clutch of other gifted drivers were getting to grips with the Megane Trophy for the first time, among them 2011 Formula 2 champ Mirko Botolotti, Mihai Marinescu, who is in his fifth season in Formula 2, 2011 Italian F3 winner Sergio Campana, 2010 France GT victor Laurent Groppi, Marco Barba, the European F3 Open champion that same year, and Ricardo Teixeira, a Team Lotus F1 reserve driver in 2011. And all said they were pleasantly surprised by the high-performance saloon car developed by Renault Sport Technologies.

A damp track greeted the green flag at the start of the morning, with the drivers making their first forays on wet tyres before switching to slicks as the circuit dried. Mirko Botolotti and Yann Zimmer fought it out for the best time at the end of the session, the Italian flying round in 1:52.860 to get the better of the Frenchman, a runner-up in the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps championship.

The best track conditions were to be found in the afternoon, when Formula Renault 2.0 Alps driver Simone Iaquinta, Stefano Colombo and GP2 Series racer Fabrizio Crestani set the standard, Crestani posting the best time of the day with a lap of 1:52.288.

What they said:

Fabrizio Crestani: “This is the first time I’ve driven anything other than a single-seater. I was on old tyres at the start and I was a little bit surprised, because after a few adjustments and putting better tyres on I got a better feel for how things work. I need to do a lot more driving to really push the car to the limit, though what threw me off most were the brakes. Not being able to see the front wheels also took a bit of getting used to.”

Mirko Bortolotti: “It’s the first time I’ve driven this kind of set-up. I got to see how it handled straightaway and I had the chance to drive in the wet and the dry. It didn’t take me that long to get a feel for how things work because it handles pretty much the same as a single-seater. There’s plenty of power and a lot of grip, and I really had fun at the wheel. Driving in Eurocup Megane Trophy next season is one option I’m going to consider.”

Yann Zimmer: “I’ve driven a lot of different cars lately, but these were my first laps in a Megane Trophy. The car reminds me a lot more of a prototype than a GT, and the engine runs really nicely. To my mind this is the kind of series I need next season. The Megane Trophy is a car you can build a programme around because from a marketing viewpoint it’s an interesting product that you can sell to partners.”

Marc Guillot: “I’d done about ten laps at the end of last season. Unfortunately I didn’t go out on new tyres but I had enough time to see how efficient the car is. Switching from front-wheel to rear-wheel drive is not easy and you need time to adapt. You could see from the way I drive that I’ve come from Clio Cup.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 22 October 2012
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