After an 11-year absence, the Monza Temple of Speed returns to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 calendar. On this emblematic F1 circuit, Kamui Kobayashi starred back in the day in taking the title only four years before joining the motor racing cream of the crop. In 2016, it is as wide-open as it could be especially since the drivers had a day of private testing to prepare for the challenge that awaits them.
For this third meeting of the season, the new qualifying format tried at Monaco will return. Offering more track time as well as being more fair-play, the formula of one unique group proved itself and the pole position will now be decided at the end of one 30-minute session.
Game on at the sharp end
Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) saw his lead in the general classification shrink after his point-less run in Monaco. He quickly bounced back winning in Budapest last week in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC, the Briton hopes to keep the momentum going on a track where he has already tasted the bubbly both in F4 Italy and in the NEC.
Victorious at Monza in the first meeting of the NEC in April, Max Defourny (R-ace GP) and Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing) figure among the favourites for the win. Monaco winner, Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing) will be another to keep a close eye on as will Ferdinand Habsburg (Fortec Motorsports), who has a current seven-race, all categories, podium streak he’d like to keep going.
Several competitors would like to make the most of their experience at Monza. Among them is most notably Sahara Force India Academy driver, Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing), who is new leader in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC after scoring his maiden win in the category last weekend.
Vasily Romanov (Fortec Motorsports) returns to the track where he claimed his first-ever open-wheel win last year in the ALPS. Fellow Russian and SMP Racing protégé, Robert Shwartzman (Josef Kaufmann Racing), but also Will Palmer (R-ace GP) will have similar ambitions following their respective podium results in F4 Italy and NEC.
Others like Bruno Baptista (Fortec Motorsports), Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés), Julien Falchero (R-ace GP), Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing), Nikita Mazepin (AVF by Adrián Vallés) and Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing) will try to make up ground to the championship leaders.
One driver and three teams will be competing close to home. After taking second place in Formula Abarth in 2014, Italian Alex Perullo (Technorace) returns to Monza. The JD Motorsport duo of Alexey Korneev and James Allen will try to climb up the general classification order, while Cram Motorsport will try to break its duck with David Richert and Rodrigo Pflucker, one of the newcomers making his Monza debut.
Newcomers and wild-cards to watch
As was the case in Monaco, third overall, Harrison Scott (AVF by Adrián Vallés), will have to quickly learn a new circuit while battling for the title. It is the same situation for rookies David Porcelli (MGR Motorsport) and Petru Florescu (AVF by Adrián Vallés), while they aim for their first points of the season.
Two wild-card entries will join the field : Nikita Troitskiy (Fortec Motorsports) and Nerses Isaakyan (AVF by Adrián Vallés). Last April, the former won the rookie honours during the opening race in the NEC during a meeting where the latter was also on hand.
Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Racing Customer Racing Program Director : “After Monaco, it is a real pleasure to return to Monza to offer a new opportunity to our drivers to battle for the win on a circuit that is on the F1 calendar. The season enters a critical phase, one where the competitors will begin to detach in the fight for the title. Now it is up to them to show what they’ve got on a track where drafting his crucial. The show promises to be massive !”
Friday 1 July 2016
10:10 – 11:00 Collective test 1
15:30 – 16:20 Collective test 2
Saturday 2 July 2016
9:00 – 9:30 Qualifying 1
13:31 – 13:58 Race 1
17:41 – 18:08 Race 2
Sunday 3 July 2016
8:30 – 9:00 Qualifying 2
14:26 – 14:53 Race 3