Winner of his first race in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at the Hungaroring in 2014, Jack Aitken (Koiranen GP) re-found the top step of the podium on Saturday at the same circuit. The leader of the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS won ahead of the member of the McLaren Young Driver Development Programme and Racing Steps Foundation protégé, Ben Barnicoat (Fortec Motorsports) and Louis Delétraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing). Starting from pole, the latter led the entire race, but ceded the win after being penalized for jumping the start. The Swiss driver managed to finish in the top three and increase his lead in the general classification.
In the morning, Louis Delétraz claimed his third pole position of the season in 1:41.122, ahead of Jack Aitken. Ignazio D’Agosto (Manor MP Motorsport) and Ukyo Sasahara (ART Junior Team) started from row two, followed by Ben Barnicoat.
Louis Delétraz pulls away
In the first metres of the race, Louis Delétraz pulled away from the field. Despite the pressure, Jack Aitken held on two second place ahead of Ben Barnicoat, Kevin Jörg (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Martin Kodrić (Fortec Motorsports) at the close of the opening lap that saw Ukyo Sasahara drop out. In the battle for seventh place behind Jake Hughes (Koiranen GP), Anthoine Hubert (Tech 1 Racing) and Ignazio D’Agosto there was contact and he was forced to retire.
Delétraz relegated, Jack Aitken wins
The race was then shaken up. Guilty of jumping the start, Louis Delétraz was penalized 10 seconds after the end of the race. The Swiss driver began his own race against the clock to limit the damage.
Despite all his efforts and the fastest lap in the race, it was finally Jack Aitken who took top honours ahead of Ben Barnicoat. Louis Delétraz managed to hold on for third place for just 158/1000ths of a second ahead of his team mate Kevin Jörg. Martin Kodrić completed the top five with Jake Hughes and Harrison Scott (AVF), the highest place rookie on the day next. . Anton De Pasquale (Koiranen GP), Darius Oskoui (ART Junior Team) and Simon Gachet (Tech 1 Racing) were the final point scorers.
Jack Aitken: “We’ve had several opportunities to shine, but haven’t been very lucky until now. It is super to get such a result today. At the start, I saw that Louis left before the lights went out, and very quickly the team told me about his penalty. For him, it was a qualifying session and I had to stay within 10 seconds of him. I had to push a bit late in the race because the gap was increasing lap after lap.”
Ben Barnicoat: “The season started off well in the first two races at Motorland, before we had less luck and two scoreless rounds. Today, I was able to finish second after starting from fifth on the grid, which is a good result, considering we had a brake problem in qualifying. I wasn’t aware of Louis’ penalty and my engineer told me that I had to continue to attack to get second place and a great spot on the podium.”
Louis Delétraz: “I drove a really good race, but I have no idea what happened at the start. We have to study this with the team. I am nevertheless satisfied with third place because I attacked straight away, worried more about a drive-through penalty than a time penalty. The team found the words to keep my motivation intact during the race, and we well now try to seize another opportunity tomorrow.”
Provisional general classification * : 1. L. Delétraz – 85 points, 2. A. Hubert – 64, 3. J. Hughes – 61, 4. B. Barnicoat – 58, 5. D. Olsen – 50… *Subject to confirmation of the results following the technical and sporting verifications