Following the weekend at the Red Bull Ring, the Formula Renault Eurocup now begins the second half of the season this Wednesday at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Organised as a support race for the 24 Hours of Spa, meeting six of the year promises to deliver fantastic battles while the fight for the title is as wide open as ever!
As one of the circuits in the motor racing pantheon, Spa-Francorchamps remains a must do venue for all quality championships. The longest track on the calendar is also one of the most challenging and can allow each driver to make the difference through their race craft, slipstreaming management and the ability to adapt to changing weather. All of this offers the contenders an ideal opportunity to make a strong statement ahead of the summer break!
Battles at the top
Since the start of the season, seven drivers have stepped on to the top step of the Formula Renault Eurocup podium. Winner at Monza, Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) still leads the general classification, but his rivals have closed the gap and he needs to react. However, on the track where he was best among the rookies last year, the Chinese driver hopes to score his first podium finish since Silverstone in May.
Behind him, the chase is led by three members of the Renault Sport Academy! While the goal of Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport) is to master the subtleties of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as soon as possible, Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) will look to add to his three victories so far in 2018, while Victor Martins (R-ace GP) intends to show that his first win at the Red Bull Ring had given him wings.
Still in the hunt, Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP) will both try to forget about their difficult weekends in Austria. While the French driver returns to the track where he scored his first triumph in Formula Renault NEC, the American wants to restart his season after only scoring three points in the last four races.
With three podium finishes to date, Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport) still has the same goal of becoming the eighth different winner this season… which would equal the record for number of winning drivers in a season in the Formula Renault Eurocup single-make era!
More work to do before the summer holiday!
While there are six who could dislodge Yifei Ye from the lead of the general classification, Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport) could still rejoin the chase group. The hard-charging Australian should be a contender at Spa, which is a track tailor-made for the brave like him… or newcomer Alexander Smolyar (Tech 1 Racing)!
The battle in the top ten continues to rage on. Consistently in the points, Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport) has a slight lead from, but all the same must pay attention to Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) and Richard Verschoor (Josef Kaufmann Racing), who seemed to have kick-started their campaigns in posting their best finishes of the year at the Spielberg circuit.
At Spa-Francorchamps, experience can also play a role. Having scored points at every venue so far this season, Thomas Maxwell (JD Motorsport) will look for more of the same. Thomas Neubauer (Tech 1 Racing), Raúl Guzmán (Fortec Motorsports) and Frank Bird (Tech 1 Racing) will also count on past experience at the Belgian track to show well.
On borrowed time
While it is too early to name the drivers mathematically eliminated from the title chase, some must react in Belgium if they want to be able to play an important role in the remaining races of the season.
After coming close to scoring their first points in Austria, Arthur Rougier (Fortec Motorsports) and Axel Matus (AVF by Adrián Vallés) hope to get over the hump on the track nestled in the Belgian Ardenne Forest. Against them, Eliseo Martinez (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Xavier Lloveras (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Najiy Razak (JD Motorsport) want to rely on their experience to also score their first points of the year.
The task will be tougher for Sami Taoufik (Arden Motorsport), Christian Muñoz (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Vladimir Tziortzis (Fortec Motorsports), who are all Spa newcomers, or Nikita Volegov (Arden Motorsport) who will be competing in just his second Formula Renault Eurocup meeting. Jarno Opmeer (MP Motorsport), who made his return in Austria, will try to show he deserves a chance for the rest of the season.
The field will be completed by drivers from the Formula Renault NEC, who will be racing in a separate classification. In addition to leader Doureid Ghattas (Anders Motorsport), itwill be interesting to watch the progress of Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP), Phil Hill (Anders Motorsport) and Sharon Scolari (Scorace Team).
3 Last year at Spa, Sacha Fenestraz became the first driver to post three pole positions at the same Formula Renault Eurocup meeting.
7 With seven drivers having already won a race this year, the 2018 class is ready to equal the record of different winners in a season (eight in 2004, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2017).
8 Since 2000, polemen have only won eight times at Spa!
25 In the Formula Renault Eurocup single-make era, 25 races have been held at Francorchamps.
7004 metres The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the longest on the 2018 calendar.
Wednesday July 25, 2018
9:00–12:00 Private tests
13:00–13:50 Collective tests 1
Thursday July 26, 2018
13:55–14:45 Collective tests 2
17:25–18:00 Qualifying 1
Friday July 27, 2018
11:55–12:30 Qualifying 2
16:05–16:40 Race 1
Saturday July 28, 2018
11:45–12:20 Race 2