After an eight-year absence, the Hockenheimring makes its return to the Formula Renault Eurocup calendar. On this track that alternately hosts the German F1 Grand Prix, the drivers are about to enter the last stretch before the Barcelona finale.
This year, the German circuit reappears in the category’s programme for the first time since 2010. The penultimate meeting of the season is far from an unknown with a number of the teams having competed there in Formula Renault NEC… And the drivers, who began their campaigns on this technical and legendary track during the pre-season tests!
The Famous Five
With four races remaining in the season, five drivers are still in contention for the title. Heading to the second German round on the calendar, rookie Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport) still has the advantage, but he must be wary of the return of another Renault Sport Academy driver, Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP).
Now just 13.5 points behind the leader, the man to beat since the return to action intends to keep the momentum going after the show of strength of his team, which clinched its second consecutive crown with a sweep of the top four last Sunday. Historically, one of the winners at Circuit Paul Ricard and the Hungaroring has gone on to win the title… This scenario could work for Max Fewtrell, who now wants to follow the example of Scott Speed and Kevin Korjus who won at Hockenheim before winning the championship!
Less visible since the summer break, Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) is still a challenger to be reckoned with. Last year, the Chinese driver won both races of his team’s home round in Formula Renault NEC. He then broke the Eurocup track record during the pre-season tests in March. The former leader in the general classification is now counting on making the absolute most of his experience at this crucial moment of the season.
Fourth and fifth in the general classification Victor Martins (R-ace GP) and Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP) are still in with a chance. While the Frenchman wants to confirm that Germany suits him after his return to the podium at the Nürburgring, the American is in the same situation as Max Fewtrell… But he will have to absolutely make up ground to his rivals on the circuit where he made his Formula Renault debut!
Battles up and down the order
No longer in the championship chase, Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport) looks to bounce back after leaving the Nürburgring empty-handed. The Italian is still aiming for his maiden victory in the category, which could go a long way to fend off the comeback of Charles Milesi (R-ace GP), who returned to the sharp end of the order at the Nürburgring.
Behind, the battle is intensifying. The gap continues to shrink between Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport) and Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport), but the Australians have pulled away from their countryman Thomas Maxwell (JD Motorsport). Tenth in the general classification, the Aussie is now under threat from Alexander Smolyar (Tech 1 Racing), who has been a regular top ten finisher since the return to competition.
A bit further back, Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) and Arthur Rougier (Fortec Motorsports) will try to pick up a few positions in their duel between the Red Bull Junior Team and the Renault Sport Academy. Thomas Neubauer (Tech 1 Racing), who was in the points at the Nürburgring mustn’t be overlooked either. Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing), Axel Matus (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Raúl Guzmán (Fortec Motorsports) and Sami Taoufik (Arden Motorsport) are all determined to finish the season in style.
Meanwhile, Eliseo Martinez (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Clément Novalak (Josef Kaufmann Racing), Najiy Razak (JD Motorsport), Christian Muñoz (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Nikita Volegov (Arden Motorsport) have just a few more chances to score their first points of the year. This is a goal shared by Vladimir Tziortzis (Fortec Motorsports) and Freek Schothorst (MP Motorsport), who continues his single-seater learning process.
For the last time of the season, Formula Renault NEC competitors will be in the field. On home turf, Germany’s Doureid Ghattas (Anders Motorsport) is in a good position to win the title against Phil Hill (Anders Motorsport), Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP) and Sharon Scolari (ScoRace Team), the first female driver to step on to the podium in the category last Sunday.
1 Max Fewtrell is the first driver to finish on the podium four consecutive times this season. A statistic that doesn’t guarantee the title, as Robert Shwartzman proved last year.
2 Since the single-make format of the Formula Renault Eurocup, Hockenheim has only hosted the category twice. Scott Speed (2004) and Kevin Korjus (2010) won both races on their way to winning the title.
7 Christian Lundgaard has to score seven points more than Victor Martins to clinch the rookie title. Logan Sargeant needs to score 12 more to stay in contention for top rookie honours.
7 The number of one-two finishes for R-ace GP from the 16 first races.
2004 Winner in 2004, Scott Speed made his F1 debut two years later.
Friday September 21, 2018
10:20 – 11:10 Collective tests 1
15:55 – 16:45 Collective tests 2
Saturday September 22, 2018
10:25 – 11:00 Qualifying 1
17:00 – 17:35 Race1
Sunday September 23, 2018
9:45 – 10:20 Qualifying 2
16:30 – 17:05 Race 2