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Eurocup Clio

Sound decision making helped Yoann Baziret (SetUp Racing) tee up his first win in motorsport at Paul Ricard. Racing on slicks, the Frenchman held off the title-chasing Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) to take the flag, with Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport) in third. The championship fight is set to go down to the wire in Spain, where Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) will begin the weekend one point and two points ahead of Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) and Mike Verschuur respectively.

Competing on his first weekend of the Eurocup Clio season, Yoann Baziret grabbed pole for Race 2 from Oscar Nogues, Eric Tremoulet (Vic Team) and Massimiliano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport). The partially damp track split opinions in the field, with Yoann Baziret, Mike Verschuur, Simone di Luca, Laurent Fradetal (Team Carmine), Manuel Zumstein (Jenzer Motorsport) and Arthur Tjon (Madeno Racing) all putting slick tyres on and the rest of the drivers opting for wets.

The first group were shown to have made the right choice when Yoann Baziret ended lap one ahead of Oscar Nogues and Eric Tremoulet before gradually extending his lead. Starting in tenth, Mike Verschuur set about the task of improving his position, as did Simone di Luca, who began five places further down the grid. The Dutchman and the Italian picked off the men ahead of them one by one to move into third and sixth respectively by the end of lap three. One lap later and the two men were in the top three, five seconds adrift of Yoann Baziret, all three drivers benefitting from their decision to go with slicks and looking odds-on to contest the win.

Leading the wet-tyre group behind them was Oscar Nogues, who had team-mate Massimiliano Pedala watching his back. Together, the Rangoni Motorsport duo held off Eric Tremoulet, Salvatore Arcarese and Eurocup Clio leader Marc Guillot, who was running in eighth and would soon drop two more places after failing to fend off attacks from Frederic Yerly (Gruyere Racing Team) and Laurent Fradetal.

As his title rival struggled, Mike Verschuur kept the pressure on by catching Yoann Baziret. Back in the chasing group, meanwhile, Frederic Yerly slipped past Oscar Nogues and Massimiliano Pedala and into fourth, though there was bad news for Laurent Fradetal when a black flag cut his weekend short after he picked up a drive-through penalty for leaving the track and failed to take it on time.

The watching fans were holding their breaths in the closing laps as Yoann Baziret and Mike Verschuur fought out a titanic tussle, the Frenchman resisting everything his pursuer could throw at him to take the line for his maiden career win. Simone di Luca completed the podium, while the position at the top of the Eurocup Clio standings could not be tighter, with Marc Guillot holding the slimmest of leads ahead of Oscar Nogues and Mike Verschuur.

What they said:

Yoann Baziret: “This is my very first win in motorsport and to get it here at Paul Ricard in Eurocup Clio is a dream. It was a good win because I had a very exciting battle with Mike Verschuur. I’m from Normandy and I’m pretty familiar with damp tracks, through I didn’t have any hesitation about going for the slicks.”

Mike Verschuur: “I knew that slicks were needed but I wanted to be the only one to put them on, so we waited until the last minute to make the change on the grid. I had a bad day yesterday so today’s been good in terms of the championship. I can’t wait to get to Barcelona. It’s going to be very tough there but interesting too. I’m aiming for a victory and a return to the Eurocup Megane Trophy in 2013.”

Simone du Luca: “I started 15th so I had to take risks, which is why we went for slicks. Third is a great result after the way qualifying went.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 September 2012
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