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Title fight to head to Barcelona after Giao and Briché both secure wins

by / Comments Off on Title fight to head to Barcelona after Giao and Briché both secure wins / 255 View / September 29, 2014

The fight for the 2014 SEAT Leon Eurocup title will be concluded at the season finale in Barcelona, as victories for both Manuel Giao and Julien Briché at the season’s penultimate race weekend in Monza, Italy, means the title fight is still wide open.

Andorran driver Amalia Vinyes started from pole for today’s race after qualifying eighth on Friday. The Baporo Motorsport pilot had a strong start but was beaten to the first corner by Target Competition’s Stefano Comini, who started alongside her on the front row. Behind, Pol Rosell was defending from Hungarian Ferenc Ficza for third place, with Rosell maintaining his position before setting off in pursuit of his Baporo Motorsport team-mate Vinyes.Rosell managed to pass Vinyes to claim second on lap three, while behind Briché was making his way through the pack. Rosell began to put pressure on Comini for the lead, with both drivers trying to outbreak each other into the first chicane. As the Swiss and Spanish drivers fought for position, Briché had climbed to third and was fast-approaching the leading duo. On lap five the JSB Competition driver passed both Rosell and Comini to take the lead, with Comini falling back to third place.From eighth on the grid, Manuel Giao was running fifth, passing his fellow Baporo Motorsport driver Vinyes for fourth before overtaking Comini for third.
The Portuguese driver was gaining on Rosell and was looking to pass for second. However, B3 Racing’s Gabor Weber made it a three-way battle for second after an astounding drive from the back of the grid. As they exited the final corner, Weber couldn’t quite make the move, allowing Rosell to claim second place and Giao third, with Briché having crossed the line first for the win.2ndraceIn the first race of the weekend on Saturday, Giao was also on the podium, taking his first win of the season. The Portuguese driver secured a lights-to-flag victory after claiming pole position in the morning’s qualifying session with a fastest lap of 2:02.177.

Giao started the race alongside guest driver Aku Pellinen, who joined the series for the Monza race weekend. With strong qualifying times, Frenchman Briché and Gaspar Racing driver Ficza started on the second row.

At the start, Pellinen struggled to get off the line, with Giao taking advantage to head into the lead. Ficza was soon hot on the heels of the Portuguese pilot, with Rosell running in third from sixth on the gird.

Comini charged through from seventh into second by the end of lap two but contact between him and JSB Competition’s Briché put a premature end to his race. The incident gave Giao some breathing space and he began to pull away from Ficza in second and a hard-charging Briché, who had managed to maintain his position.

Despite defending hard, Ficza was unable to keep Briché at bay and slipped back to third. Briché began to chase down Giao, who was focused on pushing as hard as possible to maintain his lead. Briché looked for an opportunity to try and pass but he couldn’t catch the Baporo Motorport driver.

Giao crossed the line first to claim his first win of the season and Baporo Motorsport’s second victory. Briché finished second and Pujolar Racing’s Marcos De Diego claimed third after a fantastically strong drive from 11th on the grid.

Following the race, Briché was issued with a 30-second penalty for the contact made with Comini earlier in the race, demoting him to a 15th place finish. This elevated De Diego to second and Ficza to third.

race1

The series welcomed four new drivers this weekend. JSB Competition added Frenchman Thibaut Morgues to the team, who finished seventh in race one and 20th in race two after having to serve a drive-through penalty for contact. Target Competition added young Costa Rican recruit Mauricio Hernandez, who secured 12th and 20th place finishes.

Two guest drivers also contested at Monza: 2014 Castrol Cupra Cup Champion Roberto Ferri received a drive in the series as a prize for his fantastic season, and Aku Pellinen who won the series’ Junior Cup title, swapped his SEAT Leon Turbo in the FIA European Touring Car Cup for the SEAT Leon Cup Racer. Ferri secured 17th and 18th place finishes, while both Pellinen’s races unfortunately ended early.

The season finale of the SEAT Leon Eurocup takes place at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, on 1-2 November 2014, where drivers will fight for vital points. Pending the conclusion of an appeal,* the provisional classification has Rosell currently leading with 52 points, just one point ahead of Ficza and three ahead of Giao. Stian Paulsen had a troubled weekend in Italy and slips down to fourth place, but on 46 points the title is still wide open.

Baporo Motorsport driver Manuel Giao said: “Everything was perfect! I could see that Briché was studying me in the final laps; he was not attacking, he was preparing to try and pass on the last lap. I knew I had to push and I pushed hard; I set my fastest lap of the race. In this situation, luck is also necessary, and today we had the right luck!”

JSB Competition’s Julien Briché said: “I’m disappointed in the final decision that was taken in the first race but I wanted to do everything possible to win today from my sixth-place grid position. The start was hardest and I didn’t think that I got off the line well but I concentrated on what was ahead and gaining positions one by one. In Barcelona I will be doing my best to get as many points as possible for the standings.”

Jaime Puig, Head of SEAT Sport, said: “We’re delighted to see the battle for the 2014 title last until the final race weekend in Barcelona. It really is testament to how competitive the series is and how dedicated the drivers are. We’ve added yet another race winner to the list with Giao and we wish all title contenders luck in the final two races of this season.”

Video highlights and full race footage from this weekend can be found at www.youtube.com/seat.

*Appeal follows an incident between car numbers 34 and 55 in round eight at Spa-Francorchamps. A final decision is expected the week commencing 29 September 2014.

Qualifying    
1. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, 2:02.177
2. Aku Pellinen (#99), Girasole, + 0.316
3. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, + 0.424
4. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, + 0.709
5. Thibaut Morgues (#6), JSB Competition, + 0.807
6. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 0.867
7. Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 0.886
8. Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 0.983
9. Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 1.004
10. Jordi Oriola (#33), PCR Sport, + 1.087
11. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 1.412
12. Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 1.475
13. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 1.533
14. Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 1.602
15. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 1.634
16. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 1.702
17. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 1.708
18. Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 1.872
19. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 1.886
20. Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 2.082
21. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 2.111
22. Mauricio Hernandez (#10), Target Competition, + 2.326
23. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Target Competition, + 2.551
24. Roberto Ferri (#98), SEAT Sport, + 3.094
25. Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 6.391
26. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 6.491
27. Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 6.629

Race one
1. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, 22:42.315
2. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 2.384
3. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, + 3.246
4. Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 5.191
5. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 7.148
6. Jordi Oriola (#33), PCR Sport, + 10.593
7. Thibaut Morgues (#6), JSB Competition, + 10.765
8. Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 15.856
9. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 18.133
10. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 18.856
11. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 19.534
12. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 22.875
13. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 25.818
14. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 28.774
15. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, + 30.226
16. Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 39.118
17. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Target Competition, + 40.704
18. Roberto Ferri (#98), SEAT Sport, + 41.086
19. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 50.198
20. Mauricio Hernandez (#10), Target Competition, + 1 lap
21. Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 1 lap
Not classified
Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 3 laps
Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 6 laps
Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 7 laps
Aku Pellinen (#99), Girasole,  + 8 laps
Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 8 laps
Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 9 laps

Race two
1. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, 22:45.177
2. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 1.442
3. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, + 1.638
4. Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 1.926
5. Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 5.015
6. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 8.841
7. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, + 9.035
8. Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 9.088
9. Jordi Oriola (#33), PCR Sport, + 13.786
10. Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 17.658
11. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 19.295
12. Mauricio Hernandez (#10), Target Competition, + 20.072
13. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 20.946
14. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Target Competition, + 23.544
15. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 26.586
16. Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 30.187
17. Roberto Ferri (#98), SEAT Sport, + 35.074
18. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 52.281
19. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 1 lap
20. Thibaut Morgues (#6), JSB Competition, + 2 laps
21. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 2 laps
22. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 2 laps
Not classified
Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 3 laps
Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 4 laps
Aku Pellinen (#99), Girasole, + 4 laps
Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 5 laps
Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 10 laps