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Eurocup Clio

Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) followed in the tyre tracks of Stoffel Vandoorne in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Jules Bianchi in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and Albert Costa in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy by securing his first victory in the Eurocup Clio today. The 2011 Clio Cup Italy champion was joined on the podium at the Nürburgring by Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) and Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport).

Oscar Nogues must have thought he had his maiden Eurocup Clio pole position in the bag right until the chequered flag in qualifying. But Marc Guillot (Milan Compétition) showed why he is the championship leader, the Frenchman pipping Nogues to pole with his final attempt.

In an eventful start to the race, Nogues tried to work his way through but found his path blocked by Guillot, who had the better line and was able to hold on to the race lead. Contact was plentiful at the heart of the field, but there were no major incidents. It was Guillot, then, who led the race at this stage ahead of Nogues, Frédéric Yerly (Gruyère Racing Team) and Mike Verschuur,

The second lap was even more incident-filled, with a coming-together between the front four causing Guillot to go into the gravel trap and lose several places. Nogues duly took the lead, with Yerly, Mike Verschuur, Eric Trémoulet (Vic Team) and Simone di Luca following behind.

The frontrunners were tightly grouped at this stage, with the top nine drivers separated by less than four seconds. Di Luca overtook Trémoulet and moved up into fourth place, before setting his sights on Mike Verschuur. The race order changed again when Yerly ran wide and fell from second place down into tenth.

The battle between Nogues, Mike Verschuur, di Luca and Trémoulet provided a great spectacle for the watching crowd in the final laps. Meanwhile, Rafael Villanueva (Milan Compétition) overtook Romanian driver Salvatore Arcarese (Rangoni Motorsport) and moved up into sixth. The following lap, Arcarese was hit by Thomas Fjordbach (Polar Seafood Racing) and was forced to retire.

The fight for first place was grabbing most of the attention at this stage, but Guillot also caught the eye by climbing up to sixth place. Out in front, despite several overtaking attempts from his rivals, Nogues managed to hold firm and cross the finish line in first place. Mike Verschuur and di Luca completed the podium, with Verschuur’s second-place finish taking him to within just five points of Guillot at the top of the Eurocup Clio overall standings.

What they said:

Oscar Nogues: “This is my first victory in the Eurocup Clio and, of course, I’m very happy. The race was tense until the end, as the drivers behind me gave nothing away. I took advantage of Marc Guillot’s error at the start of the race, but after that it wasn’t easy to contain Mike Verschuur. I hope this will be the first in a long list of victories.”

Mike Verschuur: “It was an eventful race. I tried everything but it was impossible to overtake Oscar [Nogues]. He positioned himself well and braked very late on the entry to turn one, and I had to be careful as the others were just behind. The final lap was almost dramatic, and I had no choice but to cut the chicane. It’s a good result for me in terms of points. Despite scoring no points in the first race of the season, tonight I’m second in the standings.”

Simone di Luca: “I said I wanted to score points this weekend, so this podium is important. It was a really great race as several of us were going very quick. The final chicane nearly upset everything. Tomorrow I need to adopt the same strategy, and aim for points and nothing else.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 June 2012
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