20.08.2011: Renault Megane Trophy Eurocup Silverstone - Race 1
Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) recorded his eighth victory in nine races to
Renault Megane Trophy Eurocup Silverstone - Race 1
Stefano Comini (Oregon Team) recorded his eighth victory in nine races to take a massive step towards winning his first Eurocup Megane Trophy title. The win was far from straightforward for the Swiss driver, however, and he had to wait until the last few laps of the race to pass team-mate Niccolo Nalio and move up into first. Despite a mechanical problem at the start of the race, Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing) managed a podium finish by coming home in third.
Stefano Comini continued his remarkable form in qualifying by adding two more pole positions to his tally. With ten poles out of a possible ten, the Swiss driver is the World Series by Renault’s undisputed king of qualifying. He shared the front row of the grid with Bas Schothorst, who was determined to score a first race victory in the Eurocup Megane Trophy.
Comini had difficulties getting away at the start, and found the going tough in the early stages. Indeed, the Oregon Team driver was overtaken by Schothorst, Niccolo Nalio and David Dermont before the first turn. The race order continued to change before the end of the first lap, with Nalio passing Schothorst to move into first place, and Comini fighting his way back into third.
Schothorst defended bravely and held off Comini’s challenge for a few laps. In the third lap, however, the Dutchman slowed suddenly following a problem with his accelerator pedal, and Comini grabbed the opportunity to pass. Schothorst eventually overcame the problem, but by that stage he had already fallen to ninth place.
At the front of the pack, the Oregon Team pair of Nalio and Comini fought for first place with Wim Beelen behind in third. He was closely followed by Dermont and Grégory Guilvert. The Frenchman pulled off a double coup by overtaking both Dermont and Beelen just before the first round of pitstops.
The drivers started to head for the pits, with the Oregon Team pair of Nalio and Comini among the last to make their obligatory stop. Comini made his stop before team-mate and race leader Nalio, who delayed his stop for a lap and retained first place when he eventually returned to the track.
Comini and Nalio continued to race wheel-to-wheel, and the pair managed to build a lead over Fabien Thuner in third place. Behind Thuner, Schothorst and Dermont were still very much in the race. Nalio seemed set to record his second race victory right up until the end of the race.
However, after several attempts, Comini finally found the opening three laps from the finish. Meanwhile, Schothorst worked his way into third place after overtaking Thuner. It was Comini who eventually came out on top, taking the chequered flag for his eighth win of the season. Niccolo Nalio followed close behind, making it another one-two for Oregon Team.
What they said
Stefano Comini: “It was really tough out there today. It’s my eighth victory, and without doubt the most difficult so far. I spun my wheels too much at the start, but after that I gave everything to move back up the field.
My team-mate was the hardest driver to overtake, particularly as my team were on the radio telling me not to take any risks. I have the chance to become champion tomorrow, but I prefer not to think about that. For me, it’ll just be another race.”
Niccolo Nalio: “I made a mistake at the start of the race and I came into contact with Bas [Schothorst]. I’m sorry about that manoeuvre.
It was a very hard-fought race. I wasn’t far off a second victory, but I made a small mistake at the end of the race and Stefano took full advantage. It’s a shame on a personal level, but it’s a good result for the team.”
Bas Schothorst: “History has repeated itself once again! I had a problem with my accelerator pedal which caused me to lose six or seven places.
After that, I spent the race fighting hard to work my way back up. We performed well in the race. I’ll be starting on the front row tomorrow, so I hope everything goes well this time and that I can finally win.”
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