Starting from pole for the eighth time this year, Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) took a first step towards the Formula Renault Eurocup title this Sunday with the win at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Second place Will Palmer (R-ace GP) is now the only driver who stands in the way of the Frenchman taking the crown next month in Barcelona. Max Defourny (R-ace GP) completes the podium while Red Bull Junior driver Neil Verhagen (MP Motorsport) is victorious in the rookie category.
On Friday, the second qualifying session saw Sacha Fenestraz claim his eighth pole of the season. The leader in the general classification started ahead of Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP), Will Palmer, Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing) and Renault Sport Academy member Max Fewtrell (Tech 1 Racing).
Fenestraz seals win number six of the season
Sacha Fenestraz led from pole before Robert Shwartzman, Will Palmer and Gabriel Aubry all posed a threat at Combes. While the leader stayed in front, Will Palmer overtook Robert Shwartzman. Further back, Max Defourny, Max Fewtrell and Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) all surprised Gabriel Aubry before the safety car came out following the incident between Luis Leeds (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Charles Milesi (R-ace GP).
After the restart at the end of lap three, Sacha Fenestraz held Will Palmer at bay. On the following lap, Robert Shwartzman lost all hope of winning the title when he made contact with Richard Verschoor. Max Defourny inherited third place before being passed by Max Fewtrell on the penultimate lap.
In the lead, Sacha Fenestraz pulled away from Will Palmer to take the win ahead of the Briton. Third place finisher Max Fewtrell was penalized ten seconds and dropped to ninth place for moving before the race start signal was given.
Max Defourny moved up to third ahead of Gabriel Aubry and rookie Neil Verhagen (MP Motorsport). Jarno Opmeer (MP Motorsport) finished a season best sixth ahead of Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport) and Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing). Initially tenth, Alex Peroni (Fortec Motorsports) received a five-second penalty as he left the track and gained an advantage. Alexander Vartanyan (JD Motorsport) inherited the final point on offer.
Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “It was a pretty difficult race to be fair! The safety car didn’t help because it reduced my small lead. After the restart, Will was very fast and he could have made the most of the smallest error to get by me. At half-distance, I was able to break away from the slip stream to be out of striking distance, although I still had to look after my tyres. I have a rather comfortable lead in the general classification and we will try to do our best in Barcelona. It was fantastic to have such a successful weekend at Spa!”
“I have a rather comfortable lead in the general classification and we will try to do our best in Barcelona. It was fantastic to have such a successful weekend at Spa!”
Will Palmer (R-ace GP): “It has been a long time since I last stepped on to the podium. I inherited a podium at Circuit Paul Ricard, but it’s not the same. This weekend, we were fast in practice, but we didn’t do a very good job in the first qualifying session. We then got our act together, but yesterday I had to start ninth twice and it wasn’t easy to move up the order. Today, it was a good race with a nice move at the start of the opening lap! After the safety car period, I attacked hard and closed up to Sacha at Combes. Unfortunately, it was never close enough to try to overtake. Now, Sacha is far ahead in the general classification. I won’t say it is over, but all I can do is my best and see what happens. In any case, it will be tough!”
Neil Verhagen (MP Motorsport): “It has been a very positive weekend for both the team and I. We put in some good qualifying runs and scored points in all three races. Winning the rookie category in the last race is one more bonus. I am really pleased and hope that we can keep the momentum going in Barcelona.”
|1. Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing)||312.5|
|2. Will Palmer (R-ace GP)||260|
|3. Max Defourny (R-ace GP)||232|
|4. Robert Shwartzman (R-ace GP)||217|
|5. Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing)||209|
*Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications