Stian Paulsen and Pol Rosell claimed race victories in rounds three and four of the 2014 SEAT Leon Eurocup at the Salzburgring, with Paulsen extending his championship lead over Stefano Comini by six points.
Race one saw Baroro Motorsport’s Rosell claim his first pole position of the season, with Target Competition’s Comini starting alongside him. But as soon as the lights went out Rosell became bogged down, but further down the grid chaos came about, with Monlau Competicion’s Fran Rueda spinning almost immediately from seventh, although thankfully no one collected him, although his race was over on the spot.
This, however, allowed Rueda’s team mate Alex Carbonell to capitalize, with the Spaniard claiming the lead from Rosell who was now ahead of Jordi Oriola and Comini. But, after just three corners, Paulsen claimed the lead from Carbonell, with the Norwegian never looking back.
But the race for the rest of the podium was still on, with Carbonell and the Target trio of Oriola, Comini and Lorenzo Veglia trading positions for the first seven laps. By lap eight they were then joined by JSB Competition’s Juilen Briche, with the Frenchman soon finding his way up to second place, all be it 4.2 seconds behind Paulsen.
With five laps to go the order changed for fourth and fifth, with Pujolar Racing’s Marcos de Diego and Thomas Fjordbach closing up on Oriola and Comini, passing the duo with two to go, putting them in sixth and seventh respectively. However there was no way of stopping Paulsen, with the Norwegian taking the flag from Briche by three seconds, with Veglia finishing third.
Race two saw a new pole man for 2014, with Gaspar Racing’s Fernce Ficza leading the grid from Rueda, but by the end of lap one had pulled away by a second, despite efforts from the group of Rueda, Carbonell, Briche, Oriola and Comini.
This then lead to a frantic first few laps, with Veglia finishihing his race off early after making contact with Briche, who had just re-joined after a brief off, causing the safety car to be deployed, diminishing Ficza’s lead. But that wasn’t the only action on track, with Carbonell pitting at the end of the first lap for an unspecified issue, re-joining the race but retiring a lap later, with Gabor Weber also retiring on lap three after an off into the barrier after the start.
But, before the race restarted, Paulsen also retired with crash damage, ending his streak of podiums. The race then went green on lap five with Ficza still in the lead, but it was Rosell who was fastest this time round, with the pole man from race one passing Rueda for second before he began chasing for the race lead.
As Rosell started his hunt for Ficza, there was a new battle raging but this time for fourth, with the familiar fighting trio of Comini, Oriola and De Diego being joined by Manuel Giao, although De Diego soon pulled away from the trio.
Back up front with four to go, Rosell was finally able to pass Ficza for the lead, with Rueda in fourth falling down to seventh, with Comini, Oriola and Giao all passing him, with De Diego now challenging for second, having already passed Rueda. However Ficza managed to hold on, with the Hungarian finishing 1.2 seconds behind Rosell, but more importantly 4.3 seconds ahead of De Diego.
“I’m so happy with my first win of the season! I was determined to get things right after yesterday’s bad start from pole position,” said Rosell. “I concentrated on getting off to a good start and avoiding any mistakes. The car felt so good throughout the race thanks to the great job the team has done over the weekend.
“ I had never raced here, so I wasn’t expecting to go fast straight away, but we were able to not only achieve our first pole of the season but also win a race, so it’s been a very positive weekend. Now it’s time to celebrate and continue preparing for the next race of the season in Silverstone – I just can’t wait!”
“It was fantastic to win another race this weekend in Austria”, said Paulsen, who now leads the championship on 27 points. “This is only my second race weekend in almost two years, so I am still feeling a little bit rusty, but I knew I had a fast car for the weekend.
“Even though I wasn’t the fastest in qualifying, in the first race I managed to take the lead after only three corners and then I just focused on going as quick as possible, and I did. Unfortunately today I retired but if I hadn’t, I am pretty sure I could’ve been fighting for another podium as yesterday I was on used tyres and I had kept the better tyres for today.”