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Eurocup Clio

One-man band Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) outpaced Milan Competition, Rangoni Motorsport and Composit Motorsport to go fastest in collective testing. On a track where slipstreaming plays an all-important role, the 2009 Eurocup Megane Trophy champion made light of the odds stacked against him to pip Jordi Palomeras (Milan Competition) and Marc Guillot (Milan Competition) to the top of Friday’s timesheets.

The battle for the 2012 Eurocup Clio title resumes this weekend, and while most of the drivers have stayed in the groove in their national championships this summer, for the likes of Mike Verschuur, the latest round at Paul Ricard is their first taste of competitive action for three months.

A winner here last season, Massimiliano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport) rejoins the Eurocup Clio fold, while Stefano Zanini (Composit Motorsport). Xavier Fouineau (LMV Sport) and Arthur Tjon (Madeno Racing) are all making their debuts in the category.

There were several names at the top of the timesheets in a frenetic morning session, as Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport), Yoann Baziret (Setup Racing), Eric Tremoulet (Vic’Team) and Laurent Fradetal (Team Carmine) all traded fastest laps. Posting a time of 2:31.979, Eric Tremoulet ended the morning ahead of Yoann Baziret and Massimiliano Pedala, who wasted little time in getting back into the Eurocup Clio rhythm.

Marc Guillot was the first to duck under the morning benchmark with a time of 2:31.817, but that was soon trumped in an incredibly competitive session in which the lead changed hands no fewer than 17 times. That made for quite a climax in the final five minutes as drivers in each team went wheel to wheel.

After Salvatore Arcarese (Rangoni Motorsport) had moved ahead, Christian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport), Marc Guillot and Jordi Palomeras then took turns at the top before Mike Verschuur took everyone by surprise, tucking in behind a pacemaker in the straight and trumping the field with a lap of 2:30.562. Currently second in the Eurocup Clio standings, the Dutchman ended the day ahead of Jordi Palomeras and championship leader Marc Guillot.

What they said:

Mike Verschuur: “I haven’t driven since the Nürburgring. This morning was all about finding my bearings again, as all the other drivers were competing in their national championships this summer. Slipstreaming is very important here, and I’m at a big disadvantage because I’m a one-man team. I had a bit of luck at the end of the session because I was behind a fast car. It would be great for me if it rains here. I love driving the Clio in the wet.”

Marguerite Laffite: “It’s really interesting to switch from the Megane to the Clio. I didn’t even have time to take my helmet off between sessions. The big difference is the braking. The Clio is a lot less stable, which is pretty surprising. It took me the best part of five laps to find my bearings in the Clio. I think tomorrow will be just fine because I know what to expect and I’ve got used to the car.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 28 September 2012
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