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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

With three wins in three races, Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) appears unbeatable in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy. At Spa-Francorchamps, the Dutchman rode his luck and made the most of a puncture suffered by Bruce Lorgeré-Roux (Pujolracing) to secure yet another victory. With Oregon Team duo Niccolo Nalio and Albert Costa both retiring from the race, Schothorst extends his lead at the top of the championship and now holds a 39-point advantage over Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team), who finished on the podium today for the first time.

Niccolo Nalio does not often enjoy much success in qualifying, but his luck was in at Spa-Francorchams as he claimed his first pole position in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy, pipping Bas Schothorst to the fastest time. Albert Costa only managed to qualify in seventh, after he went off the track at Eau Rouge.

Before the formation lap had even begun, Niccolo Nalio fell foul of a technical problem and left the path open to Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) and Bas Schothorst. The latter started the race strongest, while Costa hit the wall and was forced to retire. With his two most dangerous rivals out of the picture, Schothorst led the race ahead of Fabien Thuner, Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing), Bruce Lorgeré-Roux and Kevin Gilardoni

Schothorst gradually widened the gap at the front before the mandatory round of refuelling stops. Behind him, the battle was raging between Fabien Thuner, Kelvin Snoeks, Bruce Lorgeré-Roux and Kevin Gilardoni. Thuner went too wide at the top of Raidillon, and Snoeks, Lorgeré-Roux and Gilardoni capitalised on the mistake to go past him. A few moments later, Swiss driver Thuner lost all remaining hope of a strong finish after suffering a left-rear puncture.

Kelvin Snoeks was the first of the front runners to head to the pits. Bruce Lorgeré-Roux took advantage of the confusion among the TDS Racing team during Bas Schothorst’s stop to take the lead once all the stops were complete. The Frenchman held a six-second advantage over his Dutch rival, but a puncture five minutes from the finish dashed his hopes of victory.

Schothorst moved back into the lead, with Kevin Gilardoni still very much on his tail. Back in third, Kelvin Snoeks was hit with a drive-through penalty and David Dermont received a black flag for not respecting the track limits. Nicolas Milan duly took the opportunity to move into third position, but he then also succumbed to a puncture. In the end it was Snoeks who took the third spot on the podium, finishing far behind the victorious Schothorst and second-placed Gilardoni.

What they said

Bas Schothorst: “Last year I had nothing but bad luck, but this year it seems to be all smiles. After a good start to the race, I nearly lost it completely when my car didn’t want to restart after the refuelling stop. After that I was forced to take big risks against Kevin Gilardoni. 75 points from a possible 75 is a dream start to the season.”

Kevin Gilardoni: “I’m learning every day! The saloon car is a different world compared with the single-seater, so I’m happy with this first podium finish. I’m obviously a bit disappointed for my team-mates, Niccolo Nalio and Albert Costa, who were very quick and allowed me to progress, but that’s racing for you.”

Kelvin Snoeks: “It was an eventful race. At the start I was in the middle of a compact group, where we were door-to-door. After that I got a drive-through penalty because I went too wide through the Raidillon several times. I thought I was going to finish very far behind, but then I saw that I was still third. I was relieved.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 02 June 2012
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