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Eurocup Mégane Trophy

Sunday’s rain at the Paul Ricard HTTT gave 2011 Eurocup Mégane Trophy champion Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) the chance to show his tactical nous, the Swiss stealing a tactical march on the rest of the field by switching to slicks on his compulsory stop and going on to complete his tenth win of the campaign. After losing the lead in the pits, Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) took second, with Grégory Guilvert (Team Lompech Sport) clinging on to third on wet tyres.

In a repeat of Race 1 Schothorst lined up in pole ahead of a determined Comini, anxious to atone for his fourth place on Saturday. A sharp shower just before the start left the field with a tricky decision: slicks or treads? The majority choice was wets, with only Oliver Freymuth (AFK Motorsport) and Toni Forné (Pujolaracing) taking a gamble by starting on dry-weather tyres.

No great lover of the wet, Comini nevertheless put the pressure on Schothorst from the off, the Swiss shorting the chicane but hanging onto second. Guilvert moved up to third ahead of Fabien Thuner (Boutsen Energy Racing), while Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team) was in for a surprise when he spun on the first lap.

As Schothorst pulled out a lead, Comini did what he could to stave off the challenges of Guilvert and Wim Beelen (TDS Racing), who had slipped into fourth ahead of the struggling Thuner, soon to be overtaken by team-mate Michele Faccin (Boutsen Energy Racing).

Prior to making his compulsory pit stop the newly crowned champion pulled clear of Guilvert and managed to claw back some time on Schothorst.

It was then that Comini made what turned out to be the decisive move of the race, switching to slicks on his stop. Schothorst followed suit but lost crucial time on the tyre change, the TDS Racing man pulling out of the pits well behind Comini, who strung together the fastest laps of the race while the rest of the field pitted. With all the drivers having made their stop, it was Guilvert who led from Beelen and Comini, who was setting a searing pace on his dry-weather tyres.

With ten minutes remaining, the champion surged past Beelen and reeled in Guilvert not long afterwards, making short work of overtaking him and proving his tyre change was the right one by going on to take the flag. Schothorst sealed second place after overhauling Beelen and then Guilvert on the final lap. And though Beelen came home ahead of David Dermont, the Frenchman was still able to clinch the Gentlemen Drivers’ title.

What they said:

Stefano Comini: “It wasn’t easy to drive on slicks on a track that was still damp, but that’s what had to be done. I don’t really like the Megane in the wet but I’m really happy to have picked up my tenth win. I cut the chicane, but I slowed down and let Greg past to avoid getting a penalty.”

Bas Schothorst: “Let’s take the positives first: two poles, a first and a second. It’s been a great weekend. I am disappointed not to have won this race, though. We lost too much time with the tyre change. One of the back wheels didn’t want to go on, which shouldn’t happen, but that’s racing for you.”

Grégory Guilvert: “We decided to stop very late on and it wasn’t possible to get the slicks on. I’m disappointed because I wanted the win, but I just couldn’t hold on at the end. I’ve got two chances left now to win.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 18 September 2011
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