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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Albert Costa (Oregon Team) posted his sixth victory of the season and his fifth in a row on Sunday to open out a 16-point lead over Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) in the Eurocup Megane Trophy standings. The Dutchman took second to keep the title race alive through to the final meeting of the year in Barcelona.

In the morning’s qualifying session Albert Costa seized his seventh pole of the season, with Bas Schothorst lining up beside him on the front row, and Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing) and Wim Beelen (TDS Racing) sitting in behind them.

Starting on the third row, it was Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) who surged into the lead at the lights, though the Swiss was later adjudged to have jumped the start and was handed a ten-second penalty mid-race.

By the end of lap one Bas Schothorst had moved into the lead from Fabien Thuner, Albert Costa, Kelvin Snoeks and Niccolo Nalio, while Wim Beelen, Old Navajo (Oregon Team) and Toni Forne (Pujolaracing) were all forced to retire after going off.

After passing Fabien Thuner on lap four, Albert Costa immediately set about closing down on race leader Bas Schothorst, the top two in the championship going toe to toe as the Spaniard probed for an opening and the Belgian gamely blocking his path. As the front duo pulled away, Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) held off Niccolo Nalio in the tussle for fourth before the Italian became the first of the leaders to make the obligatory refuelling stop.

Oregon Team stole a march on TDS Racing with their stop strategy, as Albert Costa ducked into the pits a lap before Bas Schothorst, who relinquished the lead after making his stop and could do nothing thereafter to prevent the Spaniard from pulling away.

Meanwhile, Fabien Thuner and Niccolo Nalio fought it out for third place, though the Italian was playing it relatively safe, mindful of the time penalty handed out to his Swiss opponent. There were no more changes at the top of the order as Albert Costa yet again took the chequered flag, ahead of Bas Schothorst, who claimed his first top-three finish since his last win at the Nürburgring, and Niccolo Nalio. The man from Spain now leads the championship standings by 16 points, while Oregon Team are just two points away from clinching the team crown. The battle for the gentlemen driver title is over, however, as Jean-Charles Miginiac (Team Lompech Sport) became the first champion of the 2012 World Series by Renault season.

What they said:

Albert Costa: “Sixteen points is neither a big lead nor a small one and anything can still happen. I’m very happy to have had a second perfect weekend in succession. Barcelona is going to be a really important meeting and I need to keep working in the same way. I don’t want to talk about pressure. I was under pressure when I was a long way behind.”

Bas Schothorst: “I had a good start but I lost the race in the pits; well either there or on the lap before I went in or the one after I came out. We need to look at that. I got back on the podium after going through a bad patch, which is something I suppose. It’s still wide open. Albert’s the favourite now but I’m going to give it my best shot right till the end.”

Niccolo Nalio: “I’m still looking to win, but today is a good result for the team. It’s always great to finish third from the back of the grid, and the team title is nearly in the bag.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 September 2012
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