The runaway leader stands a whole 49 points clear of the rest of the field, headed by the Oregon Team trio of Niccolo Nalio, Albert Costa and Kevin Gilardoni. The Italian team’s drivers will need to close the gap on the Dutchman fast or the title will soon be out of sight.
Schothorst is following the trail blazed by 2011 champion Stefano Comini, who won the first seven races last season and went on to win 11 in all, a Eurocup Megane Trophy record. While his championship rivals are desperate to bring his stunning run to an end, the driver from the TDS Racing team (who have also been buoyed by their second place in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans), has no intention of letting up, having stated his intention of winning every race through to the mid-season break. Should that be the case, he will then look to keep the chasing pack at bay.
Trailing in Schothorst’s wake are the challengers from the Oregon Team. Nalio and Costa both retired in race one at Spa-Francorchamps and are well aware of the need to get some more points on the board fast. The Italian was especially disappointed not to have come away from Belgium with more than a second pace in race two after starting both races in pole.
For Costa, the situation is different. The 2009 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion and fourth-placed driver in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series last year, the Spaniard has yet to fully get to grips with the high-performance saloon car developed by Renault Sport Technologies. Brimming with confidence after the first meeting of the season at Motorland Aragon, Costa found out for himself in Belgium just how competitive the Eurocup Megane Trophy can be. A morale-boosting win cannot come soon enough for him as he looks to boost his title push.
Sixth in the 2011 Formula Renault 2.0 Alps, Gilardoni is one driver to have made an early impression after switching from single-seaters, and the same can be said of Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing), who finished 10th in last year’s FIA Formula Two Championship. Having taken a little time to acclimatise, the two climbed on to the podium in Belgium and now have their sights set on the top spot.
Belgium’s David Dermont (Team Lompech Sport) will be absent from the Nürburgring, where he won in 2008. His place will be taken by Clio Cup regular Thibault Bossy, who is making his first Megane Trophy appearance and will no doubt be getting plenty of expert advice from Nicolas Milan (Oregon Team), his Clio Cup France team manager. Also on the starting grid will be Rembert Berg (Algarve Pro Racing), who has several Eurocup Megane Trophy races under his belt.
Finally, France’s Jean-Charles Miginiac (Team Lompech Sport) moved into the lead in the gentlemen drivers’ standings at Spa-Francorchamps, but can expect a strong challenge in Germany from Oliver Freymuth (AFK Motorsport), who is just a few points behind, with Michaël Munemann (Algarve Pro Racing Team) also well in contention. And after missing the Belgian leg, Toni Forné (Pujolaracing) will be back in action and intent on closing the gap.