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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

The quick thinking of Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) paid off at the Moscow Raceway on Saturday, when he outfoxed the rest of the field by ducking into the pits first to refuel, the key to his maiden Eurocup Megane Trophy win. Stefano Comini (Team Lompech Sport) took second and Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team) third, while runaway championship leader Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) collided with Albert Costa (Oregon Team) en route to finishing sixth.

Despite the best efforts of Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) and Comini, Costa outpaced everyone in qualifying to claim his fourth pole of the season.

The Spaniard was quickest at the lights and led at the first corner from Comini, who made an excellent start from the second row. Gilardoni and Nalio then barged past the Team Lompech driver to make it an Oregon Team one-two-three. Further back, Kelvin Snoeks collided with Roberto Moreno (Oregon Team), causing the Brazilian to retire and the safety car to emerge.

While most of the field took the chance to make their compulsory refuelling stops, Tom Coronel (TDS Racing) and Jeroen Schothorst (TDS Racing) stayed out on the track, Though Coronel took over the lead, ahead of Thuner and Comini in second and third respectively, the battle for first place was effectively between the Swiss duo as the Dutchman had still to pit.

Technical problems for Coronel left Thuner and Comini battling for the lead earlier than expected, with reigning champion Comini looking for an opening and his compatriot holding him off. Meanwhile, a coming-together between Schothorst and Costa saw them drop to the back of the pack and allowed Gilardoni to slip into third.

As the race neared its end, Thuner pulled out a small lead over Comini, who was looking over his shoulder at the approaching Gilardoni. None of them could match the pace of the charging Nalio on the last few laps, however. Desperate for a place on the podium, the Italian closed up on Gilardoni and went past him two laps from the end. Despite then spinning off, Gilardoni managed to hold on to fourth.

Up ahead Thuner took the chequered flag for his maiden Eurocup Megane Trophy triumph, followed by Comini and Nalio. Championship leader Schothorst came home sixth and remains firmly in charge in the standings, a whole 46 points clear of Costa, who finished a place above him in fifth.

What they said:

Fabien Thuner: “Though this win’s been a long time coming, I’ve kept on believing. I started at the back of the field, but when I found out the safety car was about to come out I said to my team that I was coming in to refuel straightaway. Then I had to hold off Stefano and look after my fuel. It’s great to be the first winner in a saloon car here.”

Stefano Comini: “That was probably my best ever start in a Megane. I’m pleased with second but I still think I could have won. My team didn’t realise that Fabien Thuner had come into the pits and they asked me to watch my fuel and be patient, but that wasn’t the right thing to do.”

Niccolo Nalio: “It’s been a strange season for me because the races aren’t very clean at all. Even so, I managed to finish on the podium and that’s pretty good for the overall standings.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 14 July 2012
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