The Renault Sport Trophy begins the second half of the season this weekend, sharing the billl with the European Le Mans Series and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at Circuit Paul Ricard. The competitors will compete on a new track at a crucial meeting for the titles and the prizes at stake.

For the first time in its history, the Renault Sport Trophy will be in action at Circuit Paul Ricard. On a track with a reputation of posing a physical challenge, the drivers will have three collective tests before they battle for pole positions and victories.

It is wide-open in PRO

After running the table in Austria, Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) closed the gap to two points from leader Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP). In the absence of Markus Palttala, who will be replaced by Belgium’s Renaud Kuppens (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0), who competed in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy, the two would like to make up the difference to take up an option for the selection test with the official NISMO team in Super GT.

Yet, they will have to keep an eye on David Fumanelli (Oregon Team).Twice a podium finisher, the Italian, who won the Endurance title last year, is aiming for a victory to join the leading trio. This will also be the objective of Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) after his maiden podium result at the Red Bull Ring, as well as Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing) and Bruno Bonifacio (Oregon Team), who left Speilberg empty-handed.

To maintain their hopes, Jordan Grogor (V8 Racing), Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team) and Raoul Owens (R-ace GP) will look to at least take their respective first top three finish of the year. Outsider Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing) will bravely try his luck, while Lonni Martins (Duqueine Engineering) hopes to build on his good debut in Austria. Former World Series by Renault competitors, Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) and Nelson Panciatici (Duqueine Engineering) will also be in action in France.

An important round in AM ?

In the AM category, 50 points will be on offer because these drivers will also start the Endurance race. Despite 30kg of success ballast, 50 less than in Austria, Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) could take a first step toward the title, but his rivals will do everything to stop him.

After stopping the run of his team mate, Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) will try to do it again with a 45kg handicap, while also keeping Andrés Méndez (Oregon Team), who will carry an additional 10kg, at bay. The Columbian will try to continue the momentum after his first podium result in Sprint AM to pull away from Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP), who will have 5kg of ballast, and Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur, whose Austrian performances will cost him 50kg in France.

Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) and Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing), respectively handicapped with 10 and 25 kg of ballast are among the many outsiders that will do all they can to move up the general classification. Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing), Carmen Jorda (V8 Racing), Due (Oregon Team) and Christophe Hamon (Duqueine Engineering) will try to make the most of any opportunity that comes their way, as will Davide Roda (Oregon Team) and newcomer Gilles Duqueine (Duqueine Engineering).

An Endurance race full of unknowns

Markus Palttala and Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) retook command of the category with their triumph in Austria, but with the absence of the Finn, the German will have to quickly gel with Renaud Kuppens to fend off Kevin Korjus and Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP).

Behind them, Tanart Sathienthirakul and Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) will hope for another top three finish like Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) and Mike Verschuur. Raoul Owens and his new team mate (R-ace GP) will aim for their maiden podium, but Pieter and Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur have the same goal while the duo of Bruno Bonifacio and Andrés Mendez (Oregon Team) would like to get another taste of the bubbly.

To keep their title hopes alive, the crews of David Fumanelli and Due (Oregon Team), Jordan Grogor and Carmen Jorda (V8 Racing), Dario Capitanio – Davide Roda (Oregon Team) and Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing) will have to come up big. The tandems of Nicky Pastorelli and Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing) and Lonni Martins and Christophe Hamon (Duqueine Engineering) will try to score their first points of the season. And finally, the pair of Nelson Panciatici and Gilles Duqueine (Duqueine Engineering) will try to be the spoilers in their home round.

Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Racing Director of Customer Competition Programs : “The competitors have recharged their batteries and will all be very motivated to begin the final sprint in the best way. For this fourth meeting, it is another new circuit that awaits the drivers and teams entered in the Renault Sport Trophy. They will begin on equal footing on one of the most technically and physically challenging tracks on the calendar. The weekend promises to be more open than ever after the turnaround seen in Austria and we look forward to seeing the Renault Sport R.S. 01s deliver some great battles on a legendary track in French motor racing !”

Programme and TV

Spectators will have free access to the Village where the Clio R.S. 16 and Twingo GT will be on display alongside the Renault range. A Dacia roadshow and other activities, including the Freestyl’air Show, pit-stop challenge and Big Jump will complete the weekend’s activities.

The three rounds of the weekend will be streamed in the Youtube Renault Sport channel before a highlight show will be aired on a delayed basis on the Eurosport group channels.

Friday 26 August 2016
09h10 – 10h05 Collective tests 1
12h35 – 13h30 Collective tests 2
17h50 – 18h45 Collective tests 3

Saturday 27 August 2016
09h55 – 10h15 Qualifying PRO
12h10 – 12h30 Qualifying AM
15h10 – 16h35 Endurance Race

Sunday 28 August 2016
09h15 – 09h45 AM Sprint Race
12h30 – 13h00 PRO Sprint Race

Schedule - pdf

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