Oregon Team opens account with a one-two finish
The Italian Oregon Team has made a strong start to the season with a one-two in Eurocup Mégane Trophy. Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) won this first race of the season ahead of his teammate Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team). Nalio was himself promoted back up into second place thanks to a ten-second penalty imposed on Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) for a jump start. The Dutchman finished in third as a result.
Stefano Comini was perfect in qualifying and started his season by claiming two pole positions. The Swiss driver thus lined up in pole on the grid for race one, ahead of Bas Schothorst, Niccolo Nalio and David Dermont.
When the lights went out, Bas Schothorst was the fastest to react and went into turn one ahead of Stefano Comini. Those two immediately pulled clear of the chasing pack, led by Niccolo Nalio, back in third. While Nalio was busy trying to contain Wim Beelen (TDS Racing) and David Dermont, Stefano Comini was doing everything within his power to knock Bas Schothorst off top spot. On lap four, Stefano Comini managed to pull level with the Dutchman at the end of the main straight. Schothorst was very late on the brakes and ran wide. Stefano Comini found his way past as a result, giving the Swiss driver the lead of the race.
Back in the main field, the action was more than heated. Fighting it out for seventh spot, Jeroen Schothorst (TDS Racing), Jochen Habets (Boutsen Energy Racing), Steven Gijsen (Equipe Verschuur) and Jean-Charles Miginiac (Team Lompech Sport) were not shy of doing battle side-by-side.
Until the mandatory pit stop, the gap between Stefano Comini, Bas Schothorst and Niccolo Nalio stabilized at around three seconds. Niccolo Nalio was the first of the leaders to come into the pits. Stefano Comini and Bas Schothorst waited until lap 12 to pit together. The pit stops went smoothly for both drivers and Stefano Comini came back out still in the lead ahead of Bas Schothorst and Niccolo Nalio.
After analysing the start, the Race Director imposed a penalty on Bas Schothorst for a jump start. The TDS Racing driver thus received a ten-second penalty to be incurred after the finish. Having been notified of the decision during the race, the Dutchman upped the pace as the chequered flag approached, to try and at least secure a podium spot. At the line, it was Stefano Comini who took the victory. Bas Schothorst finished second, but was finally placed in third, once his penalty had been taken into account, behind Niccolo Nalio. David Dermont managed to find his way up into fourth place, taking the victory in the Gentlemen Drivers category in the process.
Stefano Comini: ”Last year, we already managed a one-two finish in Hungary, but unfortunately we were then penalized. Se we are really happy for the whole Oregon team to start the year like this. It was an interesting race. We had a good battle with Bas Schothorst. It’s a perfect result.”
Niccolo Nalio: “It’s a very encouraging result for the whole team. We have put in a lot of work this winter to make progress and today we can see just how far we’ve come. I made an error at the start and dropped back a place, but I quickly made my way back into third, and finally I have ended up second. Now all I want is a win!”
Bas Schothorst: ”It was tricky for me at the start. I wanted to get off to a good start but in fact it was a bit too good as I moved away a touch too early. The early part of the race then went well, and the duel with Stefano was very good-spirited. We’ve scored some points and there’s still room for improvement.”
Official Renault Sport Press Release