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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Albert Costa (Oregon Team) made the most of some inclement weather at Paul Ricard, getting his strategy just right to take the first Eurocup Megane Trophy race of the weekend. The win was the Spaniard’s fourth in a row and catapulted him to the top of the standings, nine points clear of Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing), who finished fourth. Fabien Thuner took second and Niccolo Nalio third to give Oregon Team a one-two-three.

Contested on a damp track, the morning’s qualifying session was an eventful one, with Albert Costa seemingly set for his seventh pole of the season only for Bas Schothorst to trump him on his final lap to claim his second pole of the year. Taking their places on the second row behind the two title rivals were Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) and Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team).

The adverse weather conditions forced the race directors to deploy the safety car at the start of the race, with the rain thankfully giving way to sunshine as the field set off. The safety car was still on the track when Albert Costa, Fabien Thuner, Niccolo Nalio and a handful of other drivers ducked into the pits early for their compulsory stop, the trio tucking back into the pack when the green flag came out after three laps, at which point Bas Schothorst and the rest of the drivers made their refuelling stops.

Thanks to his clever strategy, Albert Costa found himself in the lead when the action proper got under way, with Fabien Thuner running second and Niccolo Nalio third. Meanwhile, their championship rivals were a good way back, though Bas Schothorst went on a charge to climb from tenth to fifth.

Out on his own in front, Albert Costa stretched his lead over his two team-mates, while Richard Kresser (Equipe Verschuur) in fourth had his hands full in trying to hold off the charging Bas Schothorst, who posted fastest lap after fastest lap to reel in his man heading into the final ten minutes of the race.

There was no catching Albert Costa, however, the man from Spain taking the chequered flag to secure his fourth straight win and the lead in the Eurocup Megane Trophy standings. He was joined on the podium by stable-mates Fabien Thuner and Niccolo Nalio, while Bas Schothorst had to be content with fourth.

What they said:

Albert Costa: “It’s the first time I’ve won in the rain in a saloon car or hot hatch, and the strategy was spot on. It’s amazing to be on top of the standings this evening, but we need to stay calm and keep on working. We can’t ease up now, anything but.”

Fabien Thuner: “The team made the right choice. We managed to open up a gap thanks to our early stop, and it was just a case then of hanging on to it. It wasn’t easy because the most important thing in that situation is not to make a mistake, especially when the track’s as tricky as that.”

Niccolo Nalio : “My hopes of winning the championship went at the Hungaroring, and my goal now is to win at least one race. I had a problem with the windscreen wiper at the start, which wasn’t very nice. The result is a good one for the team, and obviously we can’t go and attack each other now because the situation’s set up perfectly for Albert (Costa).”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 29 September 2012
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