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Victory for Ficza puts him joint lead in the standings

by / Comments Off on Victory for Ficza puts him joint lead in the standings / 166 View / September 15, 2014

 

Spa-Francorchamps,  – Rounds seven and eight of the 2014 SEAT Leon Eurocup were contested at the challenging circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, this weekend with Hungarian driver Ferenc Ficza securing his second victory in one of the closest battles of the season so far.

From the front row of the grid, Ficza had a strong start and was side-by-side with pole-sitter Pol Rosell through the first few corners before Norwegian driver Stian Paulsen passed to take the lead, having made an impressive start from sixth on the grid.A race-long battle then ensued between the Hungarian and the Norwegian: Paulsen had the advantage for most of the race, with Ficza’s Gaspar Racing team-mate Norbert Tóth running in third and putting pressure on the two drivers ahead.Behind, Baporo Motorsport driver Manuel Giao, who started fourth on the grid, was hard chasing Tóth, managing to pass him on lap six, with team-mate Pol Rosell following him through for fourth. However, a technical issue for the Portuguese driver caused him to drop down the order, with Rosell moving up to third and Monlau Competición’s Fran Rueda running in fourth place.Ahead, the Paulsen-Ficza battle continued. Side-by-side, the pair exited the last corner of the legendary circuit, with Ficza managing to pass the Norwegian to cross the line 0.144 seconds ahead and claim his second victory of the season.Following the race, a one-second penalty was issued against Ficza for contact in the last corner; however, Gaspar Racing has appealed the decision of the stewards and this now goes to the Tribunal of Appeal, with a decision expected in the coming weeks.

Ferenc Ficza, Stian Paulsen and Pol Rosell on the podium after the second race at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

In Saturday’s race, Frenchman Julien Briché claimed his first win so far this year. The JSB Competition driver started from pole having achieved a fastest lap of 2:34.929 in the morning’s qualifying session, knocking Hungarian B3 Racing driver Gabor Weber off the top of the timesheets just as the session finished.

Briché made a clean start to the race, while behind Paulsen and Comini battled for position. Weber joined to make it a three-way battle, but contact between the drivers resulted in damage and early retirement for both Comini and Weber, with the safety car deployed.

As the race restarted, and extended to 11 laps, Briché led from Paulsen with Giao in third, who was feeling the pressure from a hard-charging Rosell behind in fourth place. With two laps to go, it seemed that Briché was set to take the win: he crossed the line first to claim his and the team’s first victory, with Paulsen second and Giao third. However, following the race, Paulsen was issued with a 30-second penalty for the race incident, demoting him to an 18th-place finish.

With four newcomers to the series this weekend, the highest placing was Joan Vinyes, brother of Baporo Motorsport driver Amalia, who finished eighth in race one and 13th in the second race. Target Competition’s Stéphane Kox achieved 14th and 18th-place finishes, while drivers Mladen Lalušić and Dejan Bulatović from new team Lein Racing secured best results of 22nd and 19th respectively.

Pending the decision of the appeal, Ficza’s victory now puts him at the top of the series’ standings, tied on 44 points with Paulsen, before the next rounds of the SEAT Leon Eurocup, which take place in three weeks time at Monza, Italy, on 26-28 September 2014.

Race 1 podium.

Julien Briché, Stian Paulsen and Manuel Giao on the podium after race one at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.

Julien Briché, winner of Race 1, said: “I was concentrating from the first lap on looking ahead and setting fast laps. With Stian and Stefano fighting behind, I managed to create a gap. I felt the pressure again when the safety car was on track, but I had a chance at the restart and had space. Two laps before the end I was happy that I could win the race.”

Ferenc Ficza, winner of Race 2, said: “It was a very difficult battle, all during the race. Of course we hoped for first place but I didn’t really believe it until I heard on the radio that I’d won just after we crossed the line. We know we are in a good position now to win the series this year but we will approach each of the final two events race by race.”

Jaime Puig, Head of SEAT Sport, said: “With new drivers, a track such as Spa-Francorchamps and such close racing, the series is going from strength-to-strength. We have another joint leader of the series standings and we look forward to the drivers once again fighting for position and for points at the next race in Monza, our penultimate event before the season finale in Barcelona.”

Qualifying results

1. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, 2:34.929
2. Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 0.044
3. Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 0.277
4. Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 0.467
5. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, + 0.515
6. Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 0.539
7. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, + 0.616
8. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 1.022
9. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 1.110
10. Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 1.364
11. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 1.437
12. Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 1.462
13. Jordi Oriola (#33), Target Competition, + 1.896
14. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 2.056
15. Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 2.099
16. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 2.357
17. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 2.615
18. Joan Vinyes (#99), Baporo Motorsport, + 2.751
19. Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 2.804
20. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 3.051
21. Stéphane Kox (#24), Target Competition, + 3.393
22. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 3.610
23. Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 4.437
24. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Lein Racing, + 6.274
25. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 8.489

Round 7 results 
1. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, 32:52.587
2. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, + 2.344
3. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 4.011
4. Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 5.963
5. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, + 6.252
6. Jordi Oriola (#33), Target Competition, + 9.544
7. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 10.078
8. Joan Vinyes (#99), Baporo Motorsport, + 10.287
9. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 10.869
10. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 11.541
11. Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 14.501
12. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 14.856
13. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 15.927
14. Stéphane Kox (#24), Target Competition, + 23.972
15. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 24.232
16. Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 27.551
17. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 27.666
18. Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 31.924
19. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Target Competition, + 32.371
20. Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 38.700
21. Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 41.102
22. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 41.137
Not classified
Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 6 laps
Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 6 laps
Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 10 laps

Round 8 results 
1. Ferenc Ficza (#55), Gaspar Racing, 23:38.677
2. Stian Paulsen (#34), Stian Paulsen Racing, + 0.144
3. Pol Rosell (#12), Baporo Motorsport, + 1.694
4. Norbert Tóth (#47), Gaspar Racing, + 2.531
5. Fran Rueda (#28), Monlau Competición, + 3.766
6. Gabor Weber (#1), B3 Racing, + 5.535
7. Julien Briché (#2), JSB Competition, + 6.067
8. Antonio Martinez (#54), Pujolar Racing, + 6.520
9. Jordi Oriola (#33), Target Competition, + 7.548
10. Alex Carbonell (#4), Monlau Competición, + 7.657
11. Jose Monroy (#88), Veloso Motorsport, + 8.026
12. Manuel Giao (#5), Baporo Motorsport, + 11.546
13. Joan Vinyes (#99), Baporo Motorsport, + 12.508
14. Marcos De Diego (#20), Pujolar Racing, + 20.614
15. Juergen Schmarl (#11), Target Competition, + 22.136
16. Marco Pellegrini (#67), Dinamic SRL, + 25.189
17. Edina Bus (#87), B3 Racing, + 36.502
18. Stéphane Kox (#24), Target Competition, + 36.521
19. Marie Baus-Coppens (#21), JSB Competition, + 36.944
20. Stefano Zanini (#69), Dinamic SRL, + 37.594
21. Dejan Bulatović (#26), Lein Racing, + 58.873
22. Mladen Lalušić (#17), Lein Racing, + 1:05.663
23. Lorenzo Veglia (#7), Target Competition, + 1:53.529
Not classified
Stefano Comini (#25), Target Competition, + 7 laps
Amalia Vinyes (#13), Baporo Motorsport, + 8 laps