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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Leading for virtually the whole race, Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) mastered a damp track and Oregon Team’s phalanx of drivers to record the first Eurocup Megane Trophy win of his career at Motorland Aragon. Taking second on his debut in the event and staking his claim for the title was Albert Costa (Oregon Team), while Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team) made light of a ten-second penalty for cutting a corner.

Eurocup Megane Trophy new boy Costa qualified in pole in front of Schothorst and Nalio, with fellow saloon car-debutants Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing) and Kelvin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) making up the top five on the first grid of the season.

No sooner had the lights gone out than Costa faced a challenge from Schothorst, who drew on all his experience to outbrake the Spaniard at the first turn and slip into the lead. The Dutchman set a furious pace as he set about building up a lead, leaving Costa to fend off team-mate Nalio.

As the race unfolded two groups formed behind Schothorst, with Costa and Nalio staying in touch with the leader and the trio of Snoeks, Nicolas Milan and Wim Beelen (TDS Racing) gradually losing ground on the frontrunners.

By the time the rain started to fall Schothorst had eked out a two-second lead, a cushion he lost when running wide at a turn, allowing the chasing Costa and Nalio to close right up. The rain intensified, forcing the team managers to ponder their strategies and the drivers to use all their skill on their slicks. The slippery conditions made for plenty of entertainment, with several drivers spinning, among them Costa, who relinquished second place to Nalio in the process. When the obligatory pit-stops came around however, everyone opted to stay on slicks.

Schothorst re-established his two-second lead after refuelling, with Costa back in second ahead of Nalio, who incurred a ten-second penalty for cutting a corner and had to keep Fabien Thuner at bay to hold on to third.

The top three places remained unchanged all the way to the chequered flag, while Toni Forne (Pujolaracing) came home fifth to claim maximum points in the Gentlemen Drivers’ category.

What they said

Bas Schothorst: “I didn’t have much success last year so it’s a big morale booster to start the new season with a win. It was a really tough race. The track was wet and we were on slicks, which made it a bit of a lottery. I went close to making a mistake quite a few times.”

Albert Costa: “I’m one of the two drivers to watch out for in Eurocup Megane Trophy and it’s only my first race in the event, which is a good sign, especially after such a tricky race as this. I know I’ve still got a lot of room for improvement and the season is very long.”

Niccolo Nalio: “It’s going to be a tough season because Bas and Albert are very fast. It’s the first battle of the year and I just made too many errors to have any chance of winning. I managed to come away with a podium placing, though, and I’m pretty pleased with the result.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 05 May 2012
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