Renault Sport Academy Driver Christian Lundgaard recovered from the back of the field to finish in sixth place at the Virtual Dutch Grand Prix held at Interlagos, with Renault DP World F1 Team team-mate Petter Solberg ending his Formula 1 debut in twelfth.
After finishing second in the Virtual Vietnam Grand Prix in April, Christian was looking to add to the team’s impressive start to the series after collecting podium finishes from each of the first three events.
Christian made a solid start to the evening after qualifying fourth on the grid, narrowly off a front row start.
A huge collision off the line involving a number of cars meant Christian spun at Turn 1 and fell towards the rear of the field. But he kept his head down and worked his way through the pack, eventually finishing in sixth place after a race-long fight with Ferrari’s Enzo Fittipaldi.
Petter, the 2003 world rally champion and two-time world rallycross champion, was making his first appearance in a Formula 1 Virtual Grand Prix, joining the team as a guest driver through his ambassadorial role with the team’s sponsor Castrol.
The Norwegian switched his home simulator - normally used for rallying games - into a Formula 1 set-up for the event.
In the build-up, Petter enjoyed some tips and tricks from current race driver Esteban Ocon on how to negotiate the twisting, 15-turn circuit on the Formula 1 2019 Codemasters game.
Petter qualified fourteenth and finished in twelfth place with only drivers who race Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula 3 ahead of him.
In the professional exhibition race, Renault Sport Team Vitality’s Nicolas Longuet finished ninth and Fabrizio Donoso in sixteenth.
Virtual Grand Prix racing returns next week for the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona with the team aiming to add to its three podiums picked up in the series from the first four races.
Christian Lundgaard: “Overall I’m happy with the race. I definitely had the pace for pole in qualifying, but I made a mistake by not changing my tyres on the final run! Turn one was a disaster at the start and I got caught up at the apex in some chaos and slipped to last place. So, to finish sixth after that is satisfying. It was great racing with Petter, we had some nice conversations throughout. That was quite cool. He was so into it and wanted to do well. We both wanted better results, but I think we can be happy with the outcome.”
Petter Solberg: “That was so much fun! I really enjoyed it, but it was so, so intense. I was probably too hard on the tyres. I was pushing, but I was taking a lot of understeer at the end of the first stint. It was a great race and I was really fighting with some of the other drivers. I want to say a big thanks to the Renault DP World F1 Team and everybody behind the Formula 1 Esports series, it’s a great thing they’re doing for drivers and fans all around the world. Right now, there’s not always so much for a lot of people to smile about, but this racing is really giving people some fun.”