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Eurocup Clio

Josh Files (Team Pyro) produced a flawless performance in a hugely eventful opening race of the Eurocup Clio season at Imola on Sunday morning. Very much at ease on a drying track, the young British driver confirmed the potential he showed in Friday’s collective testing, topping the podium ahead of Nicolas Milan (Team LMV CL Brakes) and Massimiliano Pedalà (Composit Motorsport).

Though the sun was shining as day broke, overnight storms meant the track was still damp for the start of the race. Massimiliano Pedalà, the fastest man in Saturday’s rain-shortened qualifying session, began on pole, with Stephane Lemeret (Team Lompech Sport) and Oscar Nogues (RMS Engineering) behind him on the grid.

Defending Eurocup Clio champion Nogues had the worst possible start when he stalled. Up ahead Massimiliano Pedalà surged into the lead, though it was all change behind him, with 2011 champion Nicolas Milan making the biggest move of all, jumping up from the sixth row on the grid to third place and then moving into second on lap two. There was no such luck for Stephane Lemeret, whose race ended when he ran off after three laps.

Under pressure from the chasing Nicolas Milan, Massimiliano Pedalà ran wide and rejoined the race in sixth place, though the Frenchman quickly came under pressure himself from Josh Files, who had started in fifth but took the race lead on lap nine. The Briton pulled away from the pack and took the chequered flag unchallenged, with Nicolas Milan and Massimiliano Pedalà taking second and third respectively.

For the rest of the field the race was a genuine battle for survival. Eric Tremoulet (Vic’Team) produced a patient drive to finish fourth, well clear of Xavier Fouineau (Team LMV CL Brakes) and Ivan Pulic (Lema Racing Team). Gonzalo Martin de Andres (SMC Junior Motorsport), Daniele Perfetti (Seminole Racing Team), Salvatore Arcarese (Composit Motorsport) and Christian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport) were the other drivers to finish in the points. As for Oscar Nogues, his frustrating morning ended early after he and Patrice Garrouste (Autosport GP) came together.

What they said

Josh Files: “I’m very happy. The car responded perfectly despite the tricky conditions. My pace was great and I didn’t make any mistakes. When I took the lead I just tried to pull away, and I’m absolutely thrilled with my first victory. I’m starting on the front row in this afternoon’s race, which means I’ll be in with a chance of winning again.”

Nicolas Milan: “I made a good getaway and I’m happy about that because I was a bit worried. The track was damp in places and that made for a bit of a chaotic start. You had to take risks, which is what I did in the first few laps because I had nothing to lose. I played it safe when I got in the lead and I wanted to go easy because I still don’t have a lot of experience with this car.”

Massimiliano Pedalà: “The car was excellent but I made a stupid little mistake, which cost me victory. I hope to make up for it this afternoon because I’m starting on pole again.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 12 May 2013
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