Costa coasts home
Albert Costa (Oregon Team) produced the perfect drive to notch his second Eurocup Megane Trophy win.
Setting a pace no one else could match, the Spaniard took the chequered flag from Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team) and Tom Coronel (TDS Racing), cutting the gap on championship leader Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing), who could only finish fifth.
The two front rows were a carbon copy of Saturday’s race, with Costa in pole position ahead of Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team), Stefano Comini (Team Lompech Sport) and Coronel. Handed a two-place penalty following race one, Schothorst started in sixth, with Nalio eighth and Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing) ninth.
After a clean start, Costa led the way from Gilardoni, Coronel and 2011 Eurocup Megane Trophy champion Comini, who came under pressure from Roberto Moreno (Oregon Team) on lap two. The ex-Formula One driver attempted to duck past the Swiss only to lose position and allow Schothorst and Nalio to sneak past.
The battle for third was warming up behind Costa and Gilardoni, with Coronel, Comini, Schothorst and Nalio all in the mix. Comini was the first to make a move when he went past the WTCC driver. He and Gilardoni then went off just before the compulsory refuelling stop, both drivers losing a handful of places and allowing Coronel to move back into second and Nalio into third.
Race leader Costa was one of the first drivers to refuel and by the time everyone had pitted he held a 14-second lead over Nalio, who had a battle on his hands as he sought to fend off the combined challenge of Comini, Schothorst and Gilardoni.
Though nothing would stop the Spaniard from going on to collect the second Eurocup Megane Trophy win of his career, it was all happening behind him as Schothorst got the better of Comini to move into third. The championship leader then set about catching Nalio, but when his attempted overtaking manoeuvre failed Comini snuck back past him.
Gearbox problems then forced the Swiss to retire, allowing Schothorst to retake third place. Guilty of dangerous driving in the pit lane, however, the Dutchman was handed a ten-second penalty, relegating him to fifth place and enabling Coronel to claim his first podium finish in Eurocup Megane Trophy. Costa was all smiles too after trimming Schothorst’s lead in the overall standings to 32 points.
What they said:
Albert Costa: “I was the fastest in collective testing and in qualifying. Yesterday’s race was a tough one and I had to make sure I came back today. Everything worked out perfectly, and the second half of the championship starts today. There’s a big gap between Bas Schothorst and I, but it’s not impossible for me to bridge it.”
Niccolo Nalio: “I started ninth so I’ve got to be pleased with this second place, even though I really wanted to win. It’s all set up for me to do well and I just need things to go my way and find a bit of consistency.”
Tom Coronel: “I drove this car for the first time at the Nürburgring and I love it. It’s neither a single seater nor a touring car. It’s a mix of the two and it handles just great. I’m delighted to be on the podium. I knew that I’d be coming in for two meetings and that, barring any last-minute surprises, my Eurocup Megane Trophy season ends tonight because Wim Beelen will be taking his drive back at the Hungaroring.”