Mugello, Italy 17/07/2016 – For the first time in the history of the SEAT Leon Eurocup, the successful international single-make series visited the Italian circuit of Mugello where a large dose of excitement and action was served-up for motorsport fans. 28 drivers from 9 nationalities were protagonists across an intense weekend enjoyed within the splendour of the beautiful Tuscan hills and landscape.
After the first race on Saturday that saw both a slew of overtaking moves and the involvement of the Safety Car as principal elements of the initial sprint, it was Norwegian Stian Paulsen (Stian Paulsen Racing) who stood alone as the winner after Niels Langeveld (Baporo Motorsport), held the contest in an iron grip until a racing incident between the Cup Racers caused the ‘Safety Car’ to enter the track. Searing rhythm from the very start of the race was offset by dropping tyres temperatures and a lack of grip for the leader and this allowed Stian Paulsen (Stian Paulsen Racing) to move through to the front; a position that he didn't relinquish until the chequered flag. Drivers Lourenço Beirao (PCR Sport) and Alex Morgan (Wolf-Power Racing) also didn't waste the chance to surge ahead and finally seized second and third place respectively. Frenchwoman Marie Baus-Coppens (JSB Competition) was the fastest of her category and for the first time graced the podium of the SEAT Leon Eurocup.
If Saturday’s fare was a spectacle then Sunday’s SEAT Leon Eurocup chase was simply stellar. Passing, comebacks and exhilaration up until the last corner created one of the best races of the season. Victory was celebrated by Mikel Azcona (PCR Sport), who despite setting off from first place on the grid and opening a gap of three seconds from his closest pursuers could not avoid a gripping tussle with Paulsen (Stian Paulsen Racing); the latter made a strong comeback and launched a challenge to make life hard for the Spaniard right up until the flag. Azcona defied the pressure and the unsettling position-changes to seal a deserved victory. Behind, Lucas Orrock (Wolf-Power Racing) endured a complicated race with an intelligent performance and climbed the podium for the first time this season after crossing the line in third. Italian driver Carlota Fedelli (SEAT Motorsport Italia) was the fastest in her class and gained the first rostrum result in the ‘Ladies Trophy’.
After two emotional Italian races the standings reveal that Stian Paulsen (Stian Paulsen Racing) has 151 points and leads Niels Langeveld (Baporo Motorsport) on 137 and Mikel Azcona (PCR Sport) in third with 117. Lucile Cypriano (JSB Competition) continues to front the ‘Ladies Trophy’ with 50 points even though the Frenchwoman did not compete in Italy.
Mikel Azcona, PCR Sport, 1st in Race 2 of the SEAT Leon Eurocup: “It was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it. We started really well and aside from the difficulty of driving at a place like Mugello we could open a gap over our nearest rivals. Anyway, until the end of the race Stian stuck with me and we maintained the fight until the end.”
Stian Paulsen, Stian Paulsen Racing, 2nd in Race 2 of the SEAT Leon Eurocup: “A very complicated race. At the beginning I wasn't in the best position because I had to start from eighth on the grid. So little by little I had to overtake all the drivers ahead of me to stay in touching distance with Azcona. Then we swapped around a few times until he just managed to hang on to win. We are now leaders of the SEAT Leon Eurocup, so we have to be satisfied with this.”
Lucas Orrock, Wolf-Power Racing, 3rd in Race 2 of the SEAT Leon Eurocup: “We knew we had the rhythm to be at the front and it turned out to be this way. Anyway after a few laps went by I could see that Stian was catching. So I thought the best solution was to ease-off and then both of us could arrive to be with Azcona. I kept the pace to be at the front until the tyres started to go off after running at a high temperature and I had to settle for third spot. I’m really happy with our job today.”
Carlota Fedelli, BD Racing, 1st in Race2 of the ‘Ladies Trophy’ of the SEAT Leon Eurocup: “This is my first podium in the SEAT Leon Eurocup and so I’m very happy with the result. The race was very tricky and we also had an issue with set-up that affected tyre wear. Despite everything it was an intense race and I really enjoyed it.”
Jaime Puig, Director of SEAT Sport: “We enjoyed enormously these two races at the Mugello circuit. It was fantastic that both races were not decided until the end. There was infinity of battles and overtaking in both outings and the constant tension was a key ingredient in what was a perfect weekend. I think it was two races that everybody relished. The SEAT Leon Eurocup joined up with SEAT Motorsport Italia this weekend and I believe we can be happy with how everything turned out.”