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Eurocup Clio

Leading from virtually start to finish, Oscar Nogues (Rangoni Motorsport) fended off a concerted challenge from Jordi Palomeras (Milan Competition) to claim victory in Saturday’s Eurocup Clio race. The Spaniard’s third win of the season took him nine points clear in the standings, ahead Marc Guillot (Milan Competition), who finished third on the day. Meanwhile, Mike Verschuur’s (Equipe Verschuur) title hopes all but went up in smoke as he finished ninth.

A typically competitive Eurocup Clio qualifying session ended with Jordi Palomeras grabbing his maiden pole in the category. Oscar Nogues, Christian Ricciarini (Composit Motorsport) and Marc Guillot completed the top four qualifiers, while Mike Verschuur left himself with a lot to do by clocking in a lowly tenth.

Night was creeping in as the race got under way. Oscar Nogues took up the perfect position at turn one and snatched the lead from polesitter Jordi Palomeras and Christian Ricciarini. Behind them Marc Guillot relinquished fourth place to Simone di Luca (Rangoni Motorsport) before promptly winning it back again, and Mike Verschuur jumped up one spot to ninth.

Before the first lap was over Federico Gioia (Composit Motorsport), Rene Steenmets (Madeno Racing), Salvatore Arcarese (Rangoni Motorsport), Jean-Philippe Lamic (Vic’Team) and Marlene Broggi (FB Racing) all came together, though the safety car stayed at home as the track was quickly cleared.

As Oscar Nogues pulled away, Jordi Palomeras towed the chasing pack along, with Christian Ricciarini, Marc Guillot, Simone di Luca and Frederic Yerly (Gruyere Racing Team) right on his tail, Yerly then losing ground to give Eric Tremoulet (Vic’Team) a sniff of sixth.

Jordi Palomeras staked a claim for the win by clawing back the gap on Oscar Nogues, with Christian Ricciarini and Marc Guillot keeping close company with the front two. Further down the field Eric Tremoulet sliced past Frederic Yerly and into sixth, the Swiss losing further ground when Thomas Fjordbach (Polar Seafood Racing) pushed ahead of him.

There was no budging Oscar Nogues, however, the Spaniard toughing it out to notch 25 points for the third time this season, with Jordi Palomeras coming in just behind him. Marc Guillot took third, thanks in no small part to Christian Ricciarini running wide on the penultimate lap, though the Frenchman is now nine points adrift of new leader Oscar Nogues in the championship standings. Mike Verschuur, the third of the three title contenders, trailed home in ninth, and lies 24 points off the pace, his chances of overall victory all but extinguished.

What they said:

Oscar Nogues: “Like me, Jordi Palomeras is on home ground. There were only a few thousandths of a second between us in qualifying and it was the same in the race. I opened out a bit of a lead, but he was outpacing me by the end. I’m the leader now, but anything can happen tomorrow and it’s best not to think about it.”

Jordi Palomeras: “It was a great race. I missed the Nurburgring so I’m not in contention for the title and all I’m looking to do is enjoy myself and try to win, which is what I did today. Tomorrow I’ll be trying to get my own back and make life hard for Oscar.”

Marc Guillot: “It wasn’t a straightforward race because I didn’t have the pace to go and challenge the front two. [Christian] Ricciarini made a mistake and that allowed me to pick up the points for third. It’s the first time this year that I haven’t been on top in the standings, and I’ve got no choice but to go out and win tomorrow.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 20 October 2012
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