This morning, Steijn Schothorst and Fabian Schiller dominated their respective qualifying sessions. The Dutchman started the Endurance race from pole ahead of Markus Palttala, Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP #3) and Pieter Schothorst.
Game, set and match for Pieter Schothorst
While Steijn Schothorst held on to the lead, Kevin Korjus profited from the woes of Markus Palttala before retiring just after the intervention of the safety car to remove the #2 R-ace GP car of Raoul Owens, who had a run in with Lonni Martins (Duqueine Engineering #17) on lap one.
Despite a second safety car period provoked by Dario Capitanio (Oregon Team #1), Steijn Schothorst had a comfortable lead ahead of his brother Pieter Schothorst. Steijn is not eligible to score points and thus Pieter scored the 25 points in the intermediate classification that assures him the title in the PRO category ahead of the Sunday Sprint Race.
Penalised as he overtook another car before the line at a restart, Nelson Panciatici (Duqueine Engineering #16) dropped from third to eighth, behind Josh Webster (V8 Racing #6), Markus Palttala, Lonni Martins, Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing #11), Tanart Sathienthirakul et David Fumanelli (Oregon Team #4). Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing #7) was next.
Ramos wins on home soil, titles for Schiller-Palttala and Team Marc VDS EG 0,0
The driver change window shuffled the order and Fabian Schiller quickly put his team into the lead. Following the incidents of their closest rivals for the Endurance crown, the 2016 Renault Sport Trophy AM champion managed the lead before a minor excursion into the gravel trap on lap 30. Miguel Ramos took advantage and held on to the lead to score his maiden victory in the category in front of his home crowd.
After fending off Fran Rueda, Fabian Schiller finished second and clinched the Endurance crown for his team mate. Oliver Freymuth (V8 Racing #6) was fourth ahead of Christophe Hamon (Duqueine Engineering #17), Andrés Mendéz (Oregon Team #4), Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing #7), Thierry Soave (Duqueine Engineering #16) and Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing #11).
Steijn Schothorst : “Everything was under control during my stint. Starting from pole helped in this sense. Our early pace was solid enough to create a gap before the safety car was called into service and created more work for Miguel later on, and he did a great job ! Congratulations as well to my brother who managed to do what I couldn’t do last year.”
Miguel Ramos : “I am very happy to win for the first time in the Renault Sport Trophy. And it happened in Portugal, so I couldn’t possibly be happier. My stint was very difficult with a track that was still damp in some sections. I took too much time to adapt, but I preferred to limit my risk taking and I made the most of the mistake made by Fabian. That’s life !”
Markus Palttala : “The first three corners were complicated in the pack, but it didn’t have an impact on our season. I was able to make up places and Fabian did the same in his stint. The goal was to take the Endurance title. We managed to do so and I am delighted because it could have been worse when we saw that Fredrik Blomstedt was unable to defend his chances.”
Fabian Schiller : “I quickly adapted to the conditions to take the lead as soon as I could. I then tried to stay calm and maintain the gap, but I lost a bit of concentration and went off in a corner where the track was wet on the inside. It is a shame because I wanted to win the race for the team. I can take solace with the Endurance title that now goes with the AM crown I clinched at Spa-Francorchamps !”
Pieter Schothorst : “It is fantastic to win the championship ! Winning the title was the objective at the debut of the season, and after a difficult start, we made a turnaround in becoming more competitive. It is a shame Kevin couldn’t defend his chances because I would have loved to battle him on the track. I want to really thank the Verschuur team for its work and its approach throughout the year. I also want to congratulate Fabian and Markus who were a solid tandem in Endurance.”
Provisional General Classification Endurance*
1. M. Palttala - F. Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 87
2. Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 82
3. Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) 78
4. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP) 67
5. T. Sathienthirakul - F. Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 63
Provisional General Classification PRO*
1. Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) 141
2. Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 93
3. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP) 86
4. David Fumanelli (Oregon Team) 77
5. Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 50
Provisional General Classification AM*
1. Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 153
2. Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 123 (129)
3. Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 115
4. Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) 91
5. Andres Mendez (Oregon Team) 64
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications