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New season, new faces

The list of hopefuls for the title of Eurocup Mégane Trophy champion is a long one. TDS Racing’s Bas Schothorst, Oregon Team’s Stefano Comini and Niccolo Nalio, and Boutsen Energy Racing’s Fabien Thuner all have one objective, namely that of being named as the successor to Nick Catsburg. However, the arrival of three new teams and nine new drivers could upset the hierarchy in the class, and the 21 drivers competing at Motorland Aragón will all be keen to make a name for themselves at the season premier.

The 2010 season of Eurocup Mégane Trophy belonged to TDS Racing, with Nick Catsburg victorious in the Drivers championship and Jean-Philippe Madonia crowned champion in the Gentlemen Drivers class. Added to this was the overall success in the Teams championship.

Rewarded with a Nissan GT-R tryout courtesy of Renault Sport Technologies and Nismo, Catsburg has since graduated to GT1 World Championship. In a bid to hold on to its titles, Xavier Combet’s team has put its money on a new lead driver, Bas Schothorst, winner of the 2010 Eurocup. Following a conclusive performance in collective testing last winter, the Netherlander starts his season with the sole objective, at least in the first instance, of a first Eurocup Mégane Trophy victory. Meanwhile, the two other TDS Racing drivers, David Dermont and Jeroen Schothorst, will both have their eyes on the Gentlemen Drivers title.

To make life hard for TDS Racing and Schothorst, Oregon Team are counting on Stefano Comini and Niccolo Nalio, two of the movers and shakers from the 2010 season. Both drivers learned a great deal in their first year of Eurocup Mégane Trophy. Third overall last year with three wins and four pole positions, Switzerland’s Comini has made no secret of his intentions!

Boutsen Energy Racing will also have a few words to say on the matter. Having already competed in one season of Eurocup Mégane Trophy and finishing fourth in the 2009 Swiss Formula Renault 2.0, 22-year old Fabien Thuner seems ready to join the big boys. Meanwhile, in his first year of saloon car racing, following a career in Formula 3 and Formula Renault 2.0, 21-year old Michele Faccin will be there to learn the ropes. The Italian has already proved in collective testing how fast he can be, and he surely won’t lose time in joining the action. The team’s third car will be driven by something of a wild-card in the shape of 2010 Italian Formula Renault 2.0 runner-up, Brixia Horse Power’s Andrea Ceccherello.

The new generation is also represented, as Team Lompech Sport sees the arrival of 21-year old Boris Bouvier who graduated from the Auto Sport Academy in 2008. The Frenchman will undoubtedly benefit from teammate Jean-Charles Migniac’s experience as a regular in Eurocup Mégane Trophy since 2006 and contender for the Gentlemen Drivers title.

In addition to Michele Faccin, Jochen Habets, Andrea Cecchellero and Boris Bouvier, five other drivers will compete in their first Eurocup Mégane Trophy race at Motorland Aragón. Oregon Team’s Enrico Bettera, Equipe Verschuur’s Rembert Berg, Pujolaracing’s Toni Forné, AFK Motorsport’s Oliver Freymouth and Algarve Pro Racing Team’s Michael Munemann will all be on hand to do battle in the Gentlemen Drivers class.

The format of this year’s Eurocup Mégane Trophy remains unchanged. Two races of 40-minutes plus one lap, each with a mandatory refuelling stop, form the programme at each meeting. As in 2010, the champion will be rewarded with a tryout in GT, courtesy of Renault Sport Technologies and Nismo.

Official Renault Sport Press Release

Posted: 08 April 2011
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