Three men have broken away at the head of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings with four races of the 2012 season gone. A podium-topper on three occasions so far, Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) leads the way ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Norman Nato (RC Formula), and the experienced trio will be intent on collecting more points at the Nürburgring. Four rookies who will be hoping to have something to say about that are Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), Pierre Gasly (R-Ace Grand Prix), Jake Dennis (Fortec Motorsports) and Nick de Vries (R-Ace Grand Prix), all of whom already have top-10 finishes to their names this year.
Kvyat’s intentions have been clear since the start of the season, the Red Bull Junior Team driver has made a blistering start in a bid to put enough distance between himself and the rest of the field and pave the way to the title. His three victories and a fourth place in the first four races have allowed him to open out a 27-point lead over his closest challenger, Vandoorne, all of which sets the Russian up nicely for the forthcoming meeting at the Nürburgring, where he notched a race win in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 last season.
Three times on the podium so far but still looking for his first victory of the campaign, Vandoorne will be racing twice at the German track this coming weekend in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, albeit in the shorter DTM series, while the drivers in the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS field will be in action at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Belgian, along with his Josef Kaufmann Racing team-mates and the KTR, R-Ace Grand Prix, MP Manor Motorsport, Interwetten.com Racing and Fortec Motorsport drivers, will thus have an excellent opportunity to find their bearings on the German track, as will Eurocup FR 2.0 debutants Pierre Gasly, Nick de Vries and Jake Dennis, who have each had one top-three finish to date.
Third in the overall standings, 35 points adrift of the leader, Nato stepped up a level in earning his first win in the event at Spa-Francorchamps and has enjoyed a fine run of results both in Eurocup FR 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS. The Frenchman will need to keep it going if he is to close the gap, however, especially after retiring in race two in Belgium. Nato secured his maiden podium finish in the class at the Nürburgring last year, and will need to better that performance next weekend if he is to start making inroads into Kvyat’s commanding lead.
For their part, Tech 1 Racing duo Paul-Loup Chatin and Oscar Andres Tunjo will be eyeing an improvement after their faltering starts to the season, while Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufmann Racing), Javier Tarancon (RC Formula) and Miki Weckstrom (KTR) have similar objectives. All five have shown plenty of pace so far, but urgently need to start stringing the results together if they are to figure in the title battle and stake a claim for the €500,000 award that will go towards the 2012 champion’s participation in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series next season.