Since its presentation, the Renault Sport R.S. 01 has generated real enthusiasm, and the track debut of the Renault Sport Trophy created a buzz in the motor racing community. The latest creation from the Ulis engineers allowed Andrea Pizzitola (ART Junior Team), Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team) and David Fumanelli (Oregon Team) to stand out. The future of the Renault Sport R.S. 01 looks to be even more radiant with its arrival in several GT categories.
ANDREA PIZZITOLA TRIUMPHS IN ELITE
Among the Elite drivers, Steijn Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) got off to a perfect start to the season. The Dutch driver dominated the collective tests, and then confirmed his strong form in the first three races. Against him, his brother Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur), Roy Geerts (V8 Racing), Indy Dontje (ART Junior Team) and David Fumanelli (Oregon Team) all did well, but his former team mate in Formula Renault 2.0 Andrea Pizzitola turned out to be the most serious threat.
Winner at the Nürburgring and extremely consistent at the front of the field, the French driver came into the season finale at Jerez in the lead even though his rival still had a slight advantage with the dropping of a driver’s worst result. Victorious in the intermediate endurance classification thanks to a superb move, Andrea Pizzitola reduced the gap to one point before the last race. The Montpellier native made the right choice going with rain tyres in contrast to Steijn Schothorst. Despite contact and a 25-second penalty, the Frenchman claimed the title by just two seconds !
Claiming his first major title, Andrea Pizzitola could now concentrate on his prize : the official NISMO team driver selection for a seat in Super GT up for grabs. After heading to Fuji for a few days, the Frenchman now awaits to see what his future will hold.
PRESTIGE CATEGORY GOES TO DARIO CAPITANIO
One of the revelations of the inaugural season of the Renault Sport Trophy was, without doubt, Dario Capitanio. While Richard Gonda (ART Junior Team) and Diederik Sijthoff (V8 Racing) were the quickest at Spa- Francorchamps and the Hungaroring, as was Niccolò Naliò (Oregon Team) at Silverstone, and while Toni Forné (ART Junior Team) was often a front-runner, it was Dario Capitanio who impressed with his regularity on the podiums, that allowed him to be right at the top of the general classification.
At the Nürburgring, the Oregon Team driver picked up his pace to take his first win in the discipline. He did it again at Le Mans where he clinched the title at the same time, after a bitter battle with his closest rival, Richard Gonda, who he managed to overtake.
While he could have had a drive in next year’s 24-Hours of Le Mans as reward for his title, the Roman preferred to bet on the long term by joining the professional category of the Renault Sport Trophy in 2016 !
FUMANELLI-CAPITANIO, OREGON TEAM’S WINNING DUO
At Spa-Francorchamps, the first ever race in the history of the Renault Sport Trophy went to the duo of David Fumanelli and Dario Capitanio. While the two Italians didn’t win again, their series of second places was god enough for them to clinch the title before the season finale at Jerez.
Meanwhile, the incredible competitiveness of the Renault Sport Trophy saw other teams win. Wolfgang Reip and David Cebrian (Monlau Competicion) were victorious in Hungary, as was Luciano Bacheta and Niccolò Naliò (Oregon Team) in Great Britain, Max Braams and Roy Geerts (V8 Racing) in Germany, as well as Richard Gonda and Andrea Pizzitola (ART Junior Team) in France and Andalusia. But none of these pairings could match the metronome like regularity of the Italian duo, in which Dario Capitanio won a second crown.
AN EVEN BIGGER CV
Just one week after the debut of the Renault Sport Trophy at Spa-Francorchamps, a Renault Sport R.S. 01 won on the Belgian circuit in the Supercar Challenge. Subsequently, the Ulis engineers contacted different promoters to establish a balance of performance and adequate GT3 kit. This allowed the car to make its debut in the GT Tour at Circuit Paul Ricard in the Open Challenge category. The Renault Sport R.S. 01 pedigree expanded with a choice performance in GT Open in Barcelona, then by a prestigious success in the Zandvoort 500 kilometres, as well as the pole position for the Rome 6 Hours.
On Sunday 11 December, the Renault Sport R.S. 01 will have another chance to add it to its CV in participating in the 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi, before competing in other competitions in 2016.