Morgan makes impressive SEAT León Eurocup debut
Alex Morgan made an impressive debut in the SEAT León Eurocup as the championship got underway at Paul Ricard in France for the first two races of the year. A fifth and eighth place finish for Alex saw his season get off to a solid start with two points scoring results.
Bridgend-born Alex, who lives in Reading and was the 2013 UK Renault Clio Cup Vice-Champion, embarks on a new international challenge for 2015 with his entry into the SEAT León Eurocup. The championship calendar features seven weekends at some of Europe’s most famous racetracks, including the Nurburging, Silverstone and Monza, while the season finale takes place in Barcelona, the home of SEAT.
In a 28-strong grid, Alex started out well in his Boporo Motorsport car, setting the sixth fastest time in free practice 1, which was his first time out on track against what are to be his season long competitors. In Saturday morning’s wet qualifying session, he ran in the top ten for much of the session despite it being his first experience of wet conditions in the car. With four minutes left in the session, Alex moved up to sixth but due to a fuel surge on the critical last lap, he fell down the order and finished up the session in ninth place, securing a fifth row grid slot for both of the weekend’s races.
In the first 11-lap race, Alex was immediately able to move up to seventh making the most of the dry conditions, and then gained a further position on the first lap to sixth. He settled into sixth over the next six laps, gradually distancing himself from the drivers behind and then, on lap seven, seized his opportunity to advance further and overtook Julien Briché for fifth place, where he finished the race.
Starting once again from ninth in race two, Alex was able to move up on the first lap to eighth, but then slipped back into ninth a lap later following a collision with Lucile Cypriano in the chicane which damaged the steering on Alex’s car. On lap three Hernandez and Cypriano collided and, amongst the action that followed, Alex was able to move up to sixth place despite experiencing a lack of front grip from the damage. After a mid-race safety car period, which closed up the field, Mario Dablander and Stian Paulsen moved ahead of Alex in the closing stages. He finished in eighth place and secured the last points scoring position of Sunday’s race.
All in all it was a good start to the season, especially as it was only my third time in the car. The SEAT León is a lot more technical than previous cars I have driven and so there is a lot to learn. Qualifying was difficult as it was my first experience of wet weather conditions; I was happy to qualify in the top 10 but frustrated to miss out on the reverse grid positions which apply to the top 8. I was really happy with race 1 and I managed to show how quick we were in the dry by moving up to 5th. I was hopeful of the same in race 2, but suffered heavy damage from a collision on lap 2. I was pretty pleased to cling on to a points scoring position considering the front end issues and so I’ll be looking to build on this solid start at the next race weekend at Estoril in Portugal!”
After the first two races of the season, Alex is in seventh in the championship with five points, with the top seven drivers separated by just 13 points. Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2015 SEAT León Eurocup will take place on 9-10 May at Estoril, Portugal.