One point is all that separates championship leader Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) from Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) after eight races. And with six races remaining, the latter stages of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 promise to be highly unpredictable. Both Kvyat and Vandoorne arrive in Hungary with plenty of race sharpness, with the former having spent the summer competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps and the latter in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. But with several other drivers also keen to shine in the second half of the season, the pair will have to work hard for victory.
The tussle for top spot has been a particular highlight of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 this season. Stoffel Vandoorne had a perfect weekend at the Nürburgring, claiming two pole positions and two race victories to finish the German round as championship leader. However, in front of his home crowd, it was Russia’s Daniil Kvyat who took the maximum 50 points at Moscow Raceway after winning both of the weekend’s races. The Red Bull Junior Team driver’s performance saw him regain the championship lead from RACB National Team’s Vandoorne, who finished second in both races.
The pair showed contrasting approaches in the first half of the season, with Daniil Kvyat’s displays full of panache and Stoffel Vandoorne’s performances marked by consistency. Kvyat’s five victories would suggest that he has been the dominant force. However, when the Russian fails to win, he also tends to miss out on the podium places altogether.
Stoffel Vandoorne, for his part, has only won twice this season. But the Belgian has yet to finish lower than fourth, and has three second-places and two third-place finishes to his name. He also has a strong record in qualifying so far, with four pole positions to Kvyat’s one.
Daniil Kvyat arrives at the Hungaroring in fine form, having secured two victories at the Red Bull Ring in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps in early September. However, the undulating Hungarian circuit is one that Stoffel Vandoorne particularly enjoys, having achieved his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 podium finish there last season.
Behind the leading pair, in third, is Norman Nato (RC Formula). The Frenchman is the only driver apart from Kvyat and Vandoorne to have won a race this season. He will be hoping for further success in Hungary, particularly with rivals Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) and Paul-Loup Chatin (Tech 1 Racing) breathing down his neck, and with rookies Nyck de Vries (R-Ace GP) and Pierre Gasly (R-Ace GP) also hot on his trail.
Nyck De Vries impressed earlier this summer, winning his first race aboard the Formula Renault 2.0 at Assen in the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC in early August. The 17-year-old Dutchman, who is a member of the McLaren Driver Development Programme, will now be aiming to repeat the feat in the Eurocup.
Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufman Racing) also won his first race of the season in the NEC this summer, at the Red Bull Ring. Having passed his high school exams brilliantly, the Barcelona native – who had been studying alongside his racing commitments – will now be able to concentrate fully on motorsport in the closing stages of the season. Riberas is currently ninth in the overall standings, and he needs victories if he is to achieve his goal of a top-five finish.
Finally, in the Teams’ championship, there is little to separate leaders Josef Kaufmann Racing from Koiranen Motorsport in second. At present, the German team are just 10 points ahead of their Finnish rivals. The race for third place is also very close, with just 13 points separating RC Formula, R-Ace Grand Prix, Fortec Motorsports and Tech 1 Racing.