In the wake of the Silverstone weekend, the Formula Renault Eurocup heads to Pau for the third meeting of the season. Nicknamed the “little Monaco”, the urban track will be an all-new experience for many of the competitors. The streets of the southern French city will serve as a big test before taking on the Monaco circuit the following week.
Since 1933, the city of Pau has hosted motor racing legends from Tazio Nuvolari to Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari, Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, François Cevert, Patrick Depaillier, René Arnoux, Juan Pablo Montoya and Lewis Hamilton…
Not to be outdone, Formula Renault raced on this legendary circuit in the form of the Eurocup from 1973 to 1977 ! Jean Ragnotti, Didier Pironi, Romain Grosjean, Albert Costa, Nyck de Vries and Anthoine Hubert are among the names of winners in Formula Renault at Pau…While not overlooking the success of Luca Ghiotto in 2013 !
Who will stop them ?
Since the start of the season, R-ace GP has made the top step of the podium its own. Leader in the general classification, Will Palmer will look to extend his lead relying on experience gained last year in Monaco, but Robert Schwartzman will do the same to potentially wrestle away the championship lead from his team mate.
After a Silverstone weekend to forget, Max Defourny will try to make the most of his team’s momentum and his running at Pau in the ALPS two years ago to score his first win of the season. The street circuit will be new to Raúl Guzmán, but the Escudería Telmex protégé is full of confidence after taking his first top five result.
Urban specialists to watch
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) is among the favourites. Third in the general classification, the French driver is considered to be a street circuit specialist with two wins at Pau in 2015 in the French F4 Championship and his success in last year’s curtain raiser of the Monaco Grand Prix. Twice a winner at Pau a year ago in the Autosport Academy, his team mate Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) will be another to keep an eye on.
Tech 1 Racing will have ambitions of their won. Between 2011 and 2015, the team won five times at Pau and intends to capitalize on this keen knowledge of the venue to guide the learning of Thomas Maxwell, Thomas Neubauer and Renault Sport Academy driver Max Fewtrell, who currently leads the rookie standings. And Gabriel Aubry will be a serious contender following his two podium finishes in F4 France in 2015.
Another driver in the Escudería Telmex programme, Axel Matus (AVF by Adrián Vallés), beat Gabriel Aubry and Sacha Fenestraz two years ago at Pau. After their maiden podium finishes at Silverstone, Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Red Bull Junior Team driver Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport) will rely on their respective experiences at Monaco and Macao to try to move up the hierarchy. Alexey Korneev (Fortec Motorsports) and Rodrigo Pflucker (AVF by Adrián Vallés) raced in the Principality last year and share the same goal.
Make or break
In addition to the drivers mentioned, there are several who will discover there is no margin for error on this type of circuit. A regular points’ scorer since the start of the year, Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) will be aiming higher, as will fellow Red Bull Junior Team driver, Neil Verhagen (MP Motorsport), who left Silverstone empty-handed.
After breaking their respective ducks in Great Britain, Luis Leeds (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Presley Martono (Mark Burdett Motorsport) will be out for more, while Alexander Vartanyan (JD Motorsport) will look to return to the top ten.
Renault Sport Academy members, Sun Yue Yang (JD Motorsport) and Jarno Opmeer (MP Motorsport) will try to imitate the strong runs of Max Fewtrell by trying to acclimate themselves as quickly as possible to the street circuits to score their first points.
This goal is shared by Grégoire Saucy (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Zane Goddard (Arden Motorsport), Julia Pankiewicz (Mark Burdett Motorsport), Frank Bird (Fortec Motorsports), Najiy Abdul bin Abd Razak (Fortec Motorsports), Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (JD Motorsport) and Ghislain Cordeel (Arden Motorsport), who showed good speed at Silverstone in qualifying but couldn’t manage to back it up in the race.
Friday May 19 2017
09:15 – 09:55 Collective test 1
14:25 – 15:05 Collective test 2
Saturday May 20 2017
08:24 – 08:39 Qualifying 1 (Group A)
08:44 – 08:59 Qualifying 1 (Group B)
17:47 – 18:14 Race 1
Sunday May 21 2017
08:57 – 09:12 Qualifying 2 (Group B)
09:17 – 09:32 Qualifying 2 (Group A)
17:10 – 17:37 Race 2