Megane Trophy - Costa praises team after victory

Albert Costa praised his team after claiming victory in the Eurocup Megane Trophy championship.

The Oregon Team driver knew he needed nothing less than a win in Race Tow if he was going to claim the crown starting the race nine points off the pace.

The Catalan driver, who crossed the line first for the seventh time this season, claimed victory from Kevin Gilardoni (Oregon Team) and Niccolo Nalio (Oregon Team), with his Dutch rival Bas Schothorst fourth.

A champion in his first year in the category, Costa also helped Oregon Team secure their second team title.

"It’s a special day and a release too. I won the last race of the season in Formula Renault 3.5 Series last year and then I found myself without a drive," said Costa. "Fortunately Oregon Team came along and helped me out, so my thanks to them. We’ve worked hard. We changed a lot of things after Spa-Francorchamps and it worked. Yesterday was my first retirement of the season and it could have cost me dear. Thanks to my team-mates though, I was able to make it. Now I need to get a good programme in place for 2013.”

For the eighth and final time in 2012, Costa sat on pole, the Barcelona driver sharing the front row with stable-mate Kevin Gilardoni. Forming the second row on the grid were Fabien Thuner (Oregon Team) and Kelvin Snoeks (TDS Racing), while points leader Bas Schothorst took up position on the fourth row.

In contrast to Saturday’s startline mayhem, the getaway was clean, as Albert Costa pulled away first and his team-mates looked to contain the TDS Racing crew. At the end of lap one the Spaniard led from Fabien Thuner, Kevin Gilardoni, Kelvin Snoeks, Niccolo Nalio, Toni Forne (Pujolaracing) and Bas Schothorst.

Oregon Team’s race strategy paid further dividends as Albert Costa pulled out a lead and Fabien Thuner and Kevin Gilardoni diced it out for second, keeping the rest of the field at bay, though the Swiss was forced to pit on lap three after his car started to lose coolant. A colleague down, Costa then had further cause for concern when Bas Schothorst moved up to fifth after Toni Forne went off.

The front-running Spaniard held a lead of more than four seconds over Kevin Gilardoni when he made his refuelling stop, with Kelvin Snoeks a further six seconds back. The title was all but his when he emerged safely from the pits still clear of Kevin Gilardoni, while Niccolo Nalio relieved Kelvin Snoeks of third place.

With three Oregon Team drivers occupying the top three places, Costa was in total control, though Bas Schothorst kept fighting, moving past his team-mate and into fourth.

Costa counted down the laps before claiming victory, his seventh win of the season. In adding the 2012 Eurocup Megane Trophy title to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 crown he claimed in 2009, the Spanish racer became the first man to win titles in two World Series by Renault categories.

“The day belongs to Albert. He was just perfect. It also belongs to Oregon Team because we’ve won the title for the second time. Congratulations to Albert and our team," said Nalio. "On a personal level it hasn’t been an easy season for me, but that’s not important today.”