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Eurocup Clio

Eurocup Clio lived up to its reputation on Saturday with another action-packed race featuring countless overtaking manoeuvres and a thrilling finish in which Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) won by 21 thousandths of a second from team-mate Salvatore Arcarese (Rangoni Motorsport) and Rafael Villanueva (Milan Competition). The 2011 Clio Cup Italy champion now lies nine points behind championship frontrunner Marc Guillot (Milan Competition).

Rangoni Motorsport got their tactics just right in qualifying as Salvatore Arcarese grabbed pole ahead of stable-mates Oscar Nogues and Massimiliano Pedala (Rangoni Motorsport).

And it was Oscar Nogues who was fastest out of the blocks, pulling ahead of Salvatore Arcarese as Marc Guillot shot up from sixth to third and Xavier Fouineau followed suit by climbing into fourth from seventh on a flawless opening lap.

Driving bumper to bumper, Oscar Nogues and Salvatore Arcarese skipped away from Marc Guillot, who himself pulled clear of Xavier Fouineau, with both Rafael Villanueva (Milan Competition) and Eric Tremoulet (Vic Team) giving chase in the battle for fourth.

With drivers getting a tow on the cars in front of them, there were plenty of position changes as Salvatore Arcarese jumped into the lead on his way down the home straight on lap three and Rafael Villanueva got the better of Xavier Fouineau to move into fourth. Meanwhile, championship leader Marc Guillot gradually made up ground on the front two, putting himself in a position to attack Oscar Nogues only for Rafael Villanueva to take advantage and nip into third.

There was a lull in proceedings as the safety car appeared, allowing the marshals to clear Yoann Baziret’s stricken car from the track following a mid-bunch shunt.

Salvatore Arcarese maintained his lead after the restart, while Oscar Nogues had both Rafael Villanueva and Marc Guillot for company. Behind them Jordi Palomeras (Milan Competition) nudged Eric Tremoulet out of fifth.

The race came to a nail-biting conclusion on the final lap as Oscar Nogues stole a march on Salvatore Arcarese to take the flag by the smallest of margins. Rafael Villanueva came home third ahead of Marc Guillot, who now stands nine points ahead of Oscar Nogues in the Eurocup Clio standings.

What they said:

Oscar Nogues: “It was an eventful race from start to finish. I made a mistake midway through and Salvatore made the most of it. After the safety car went in I said to myself that I had to give it my all. I wasn’t even aware it was the last lap but I took my chance. These are vital points for the championship.”

Salvatore Arcarese: “I didn’t even know if I’d won or come second at the line, but I’m happy with the result because this is the first time I’ve been in a position to win a Eurocup Clio race. I’m pleased for the team and pleased to have come away with my first pole.”

Rafael Villanueva: “It wasn’t easy. I had to fight my way past Marc Guillot and Eric Tremoulet, who are both very quick. I reckon I could have had an even better result if the safety car hadn’t come out. That was a shame, but we’ve got the resources to do well tomorrow.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 29 September 2012
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