Eurocup Mégane Trophy
The rain made an unexpected appearance in Race 2 with spectacular consequences. Having set off on slick tyres when wets were clearly the better option, the Eurocup Megane Trophy’s frontrunners quickly found themselves at the wrong end of the field. But after taking advantage of an appearance from the safety car, they were eventually able to pull themselves back into the race. After a thrilling final few laps, it was Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) who took victory ahead of Albert Costa (Oregon Team).
Albert Costa took pole position for the third time this season, with Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) alongside him on the front row on this occasion. The starting grid was a scene of confusion, however, after the weather unexpectedly intervened. A rain shower soaked the track just minutes before the start, but most of the drivers eventually opted for slicks a few seconds before the race began. Oregon Team made their decision too late, which led to Albert Costa and team-mate Nicolas Milan receiving drive-through penalties for changing their tyres after the signal.
The first lap was full of slides and shunts as a result of the slippery track, and the fact that many drivers were racing on slicks. At the end of an eventful first lap, made even trickier by the return of the rain, the drivers on treaded tyres were able to make their advantage count. Enrico Bettera (Oregon Team) held the race lead at this stage ahead of Oliver Freymuth (AKF Motorsport) and Thibault Bossy (Team Lompech Sport).
As the drivers on slick tyres headed to the pits to switch to wets, race leader Bettera fought to contain the chasing Bossy. The Frenchman, in his second race in the Eurocup Megane Trophy, moved up into first place during lap three and quickly began to pull away from Bettera, Freymuth and Jean-Charles Miginiac (Team Lompech Sport).
Bettera then lost contact with the frontrunners after going into the gravel trap, and the Italian’s badly positioned car meant the safety car had to come out. After the restart, the race began to settle down. All the drivers were now on wet tyres and had made their obligatory refuelling stops. Bossy retained the race lead ahead of Miginiac, Freymuth and Bruce Lorgeré-Roux (Pujolaracing). But Nalio and Schothorst then put on a real display, and in the space of a few turns the pair had moved up from sixth and seventh to second and third respectively.
Bossy was unable to resist the charge of Nalio and Schothorst. The race order changed dramatically, with Italian driver Nalio taking the lead ahead of Schothorst and Coronel. Costa also managed to climb up to fourth place. The battle lasted all the way to the chequered flag, and was capped off by a spectacular collision between Schothorst, Nalio and Coronel. Dutch driver Schothorst, however, managed to escape the chaos and held on to win ahead of Costa and Snoeks. After the race, however, Snoeks received a 25-second penalty for causing a collision with Bruce Lorgeré-Roux, which meant that Thibault Bossy took the third step of the podium.
What they said:
Bas Schothorst: “The race really started for me after the safety car. Niccolo Nalio and I quickly caught up with the others and we found ourselves in front. I was faster than him and I took the lead on the exit from turn two during the final lap, but he then pushed me and it triggered a big collision between him, Tom Coronel and me. Luckily I was able to escape and cross the finish line first.”
Albert Costa: “The start of the race was a real nightmare. I didn’t have the right tyres, and when I returned to the pits, nobody in my team was ready. After that I pushed like crazy, to the point that I didn’t have any rubber left at the end. Finishing second after all of that is a good result, because at one point I was in last place.”
Official Renault Press Release.