Sun, 20 September 2015
Alex Morgan secured his first win in the SEAT Leon Eurocup this weekend when the one-make series was contested at the prestigious Nürburgring in Germany on 19-20 September 2015. Driving for Baporo Motorsport, the Reading-based driver showed grit and determination, enduring constant pressure to defend his race-leading position and bring home his first victory of the season. Behind the wheel of his #22 SEAT Leon Cup car, Alex took to the notoriously challenging 5,137m circuit for Saturday’s qualifying session. As the 30-minute stint came to a close, Alex set the eighth fastest lap time of 2:08.555, just 0.743 behind the pole-sitter. While his lap time put him on the fourth row of the grid for the first race of the weekend, the reverse grid regulations meant Alex would start from pole position for Sunday’s race. Quick off the grid in race one, Alex improved his position by two places to move up to sixth after the first lap. The Bridgend-born driver continued on strong form in the ensuing laps, putting in fast times to chase down Spaniard Fran Rueda who was ahead. Catching the Monlau Competición driver, Alex passed him on lap three to take fifth place. However, the battle between the pair continued. On lap five the two drivers jostled for position, with contact forcing Alex off the tarmac as Rueda passed for fifth. Not wanting to relinquish his position, Alex got back on track and returned the pressure on Rueda. PCR Sport’s Mikel Azcona joined the battle, with all three proving too wide for the circuit. Further contact between the trio put Rueda out of contention, while Alex regained his fifth place. However, Alex received a drive-through penalty for the incident, which sent him back down the order to 17th place where he finished the race. For Sunday’s 12-lap battle, Alex lined up on pole and as the lights went out he made a good start to lead into the first corner. Driving smoothly and consistently, Alex started to pull away and create a gap from the chasing pack. However, back down the field series leader Pol Rosell was involved in an incident that brought out the safety car at the end of the first lap. The race was restarted on lap four, with Alex making such a strong getaway that he was more than 0.700 seconds ahead of second-placed Mario Dablander into the first corner. Alex then set about building on his lead from his Austrian competitor. Despite the constant pressure, Alex drove consistently and maintained his race-long vigorous defence. The gap between first and second was as small as 0.218 seconds in the closing laps, but Alex had the top step of the podium in his sights and he brought his #22 SEAT Leon Cup car across the line first to claim his maiden victory in the series. Alex said:
What a mixed weekend! I was so disappointed with the results from the first race, especially as I’d made such a strong start and was fighting in amongst the front-runners. But race two was fantastic – it was really tough! I got off the line well and built up a gap but the safety car period unfortunately reduced that advantage. When the safety car pulled in, I went for it and managed to make the most of the cross over, stretching out enough of a gap. The rest of the race was all about managing and maintain this gap. I did everything I could and it’s brilliant to have had my first win. Mario Dablander is a really good driver and he was on my case. He’s fast and knows the circuit so I knew he was a threat but I manage to keep my cool. It’s fantastic to bring home ten points for the team, and with four more races I’m hoping it won’t be the last time this season.His race-winning ten points take Alex’s points tally to 34, elevating him two places to joint fourth in the standings. Four more races remain, with the next two held at Monza, Italy, on 3-4 October 2015, followed by the season finale on 31 October – 1 November in Barcelona, Spain.