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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Eurocup Megane Trophy debutant Alvaro Barba (Equipe Verschuur) gave the 2011 champion Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) a run for his money on Saturday, pushing the Swiss all the way to the line and finishing just three tenths of a second off the pace after a fascinating tussle. It was victory number 11 of a dominant season for Comini, while Michele Faccin (Boutsen Energy Racing) completed the podium with his second top-three finish of the year.

Comini began the day in scintillating form, winning both rounds of qualifying to secure his 11th and 12th poles in 14 attempts this season, a new record for the discipline. In a first session in which the top 12 cars were separated by less than a second, Comini came out on top ahead of Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing), Faccin, Gregory Guilvert (Team Lompech Sport) and Barba.

The Swiss made an untypical error at the front of the grid, however, going wide at turn one to allow Schothorst to ease past and into the lead, the Dutchman ending lap one ahead of Comini, Guilvert, Wim Beelen (TDS Racing) and Faccin. The biggest mover down the field was Jean-Philippe Dayraut (Equipe Verschuur), who climbed up from tenth to seventh on the opening lap.

The leading twosome gave the pack the slip over the next few laps, while third-placed Guilvert faced a determined challenge from Oscar Nogues (Oregon Team), who had slipped into fourth ahead of Beelen. Nogues, the 2011 Italian Clio Cup champion, threw caution to the wind in a bid to grab third before the compulsory pit stop, an approach also adopted by Comini, who finally worked his way past Schothorst on lap six.

Faccin and Schothorst were the first to pit and by the time everyone had made their stops, race leader Comini had Barba for company at the head of proceedings, the Spaniard’s strategy of coming into the pits last having worked to perfection. In contrast, Schothorst found himself out of contention in 12th.

As Comini and Barba went head to head all the way to the line, Nogues and Faccin did battle for third. Yet while Comini withstood the Spanish debutant’s fierce assault, the two coming together several times on the last lap, Faccin edged past Nogues with the finish line approaching to take only his second podium finish of the season.

What they said:

Stefano Comini: “That was not an easy race. I had to fight off Bas Schothorst at the start and then Alvaro Barba made life hard for me on the closing laps. I really damaged my tyres during the race and things got very tricky at the end. It was a good battle, though.”

Alvaro Barba: “I’m delighted to celebrate my return to World Series by Renault with a second place, and I hope I’ll be a in a position next year to take part in more Eurocup Megane Trophy races. It’s a discipline that really appeals to me. It was a fantastic race.”

Michele Faccin: “My first season in the Eurocup Megane Trophy hasn’t been easy, so I’m happy with this third place and to have got something back for all my hard work. Another performance like this tomorrow would be the perfect way to set things up for 2012.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 08 October 2011
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