Tirman and Mela quickest off the mark on return to action!
BARCELONA, Spain, September 8 - Racing resumed after the summer break in Barcelona, back on the race calendar after a one-year absence, at round four of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup.
The meeting provided an opportunity for some to break the stranglehold of Autosport GP, Gilles Zaffini’s team, who had won five of the first six races this season. And yet it was one of the team’s drivers, Simon Tirman, who grabbed the first pole position by just 32/1000ths of a second, ahead of Louis Meric (Race Cars Consulting). In the race, Tirman came under serious pressure from Lilou Wadoux (Autosport GP), herself harangued by Ugo De Wilde (Herrero Racing), but he held on to claim his first win in the Cup, whilst Wadoux and De Wilde completed the podium, followed by Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) who collected fourth after Meric was handed a drive-through penalty for failing to stay within the track limits. Jean-Baptiste Mela (Autosport), leader of the standings coming into Catalonia, limited the damage as he fought back to finish fifth from thirteenth on the starting grid. Mela went better still in race 2, winning on a third different track this season after starting in pole position to extend his championship lead. Hurgon, De Wilde and Wadoux followed him home, whilst Philippe Bourgois (Chazel Technologie Course) claimed his maiden win in the Gentlemen Drivers’ class, thus ending the dominance of Stéphane Auriacombe (Herrero Racing), who had scored his sixth consecutive win on Saturday. “In the end, this weekend turned out pretty well for me after a poor start in qualifying on Friday morning,” analysed Jean-Baptiste Mela. “I was able to make up a lot of ground in the race from thirteenth on the starting grid with some nice overtaking moves, and finishing fifth meant I limited the damage. We then made a good step forward on Saturday. I managed to get off to a good start, defended my lead well and managed the restart after the safety car period to claim another win! The next round of the Alpine Elf Europa Cup will be held on 1-3 October at Le Castellet rack track.
In the overall standings, Jean-Baptiste Mela (Autosport GP) has stretched his lead over team-mates Lilou Wadoux and Laurent Hurgon to twenty-three and twenty-eight points respectively. There is also a fierce battle for the Junior title, where Lilou Wadoux remains ahead of Ugo de Wilde (Herrero Racing), whilst Stéphane Auriacombe (Herrero Racing) has one hand on the Gentlemen Drivers’ crown with a comfortable thirty-nine point lead over his nearest rival, Philippe Bourgois (Chazel Technologie Course).