2017 Rookie of the Year, Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) claimed the pole position at the conclusion of the first qualifying session of the Formula Renault Eurocup season. At Circuit Paul Ricard, the Renault Sport Academy driver set a best time of 2:02.531s that will see him start Sunday ahead of Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and fellow member of the Renault Sport Academy, rookie Victor Martins (R-ace GP).
On Friday, the field had two collective test sessions to prepare for qualifying to determine the starting grid for race 2 on Sunday from 10:05am.
Lundgaard leads in practice
On a damp track surface this morning, Max Fewtrell and Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP) led early on before Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport) took over with a time of 2:13.391s. Meanwhile, his rivals tried, unsuccessfully, to run on slick tyres. The Danish member of the Renault Sport Academy stayed on top ahead of Max Fewtrell and Logan Sargeant.
Due to a technical problem affecting the circuit’s fuel station, the second session was delayed and shortened. On his second flying lap, Logan Sargeant moved to the sharp end of the order with a lap of 2:15.350s and remained there as the conditions worsened. At the conclusion of the session, the American led from Max Fewtrell and Oscar Piastri (Arden Motorsport).
Fewtrell takes the pole for Sunday
Late in the day, the track was dry for qualifying. In the first group, Max Fewtrell was in a league of his own with a time of 2:02.531s. The Briton was followed by Victor Martins et Christian Lundgaard to make it a Renault Sport Academy sweep of the top three positions.
Group B was more indecisive with Yifei Ye getting the nod ahead of Logan Sargeant. While he dominated with a time of 2:02.594s against the American and Oscar Piastri, the Chinese driver came up short of taking the pole from Max Fewtrell.
On Sunday, Max Fewtrell will start ahead of Yifei Ye, Victor Martins and Logan Sargeant. Christian Lundgaard and Oscar Piastri will share row three with Alex Peroni, Thomas Maxwell (JD Motorsport), Richard Verschoor and Max Defourny (MP Motorsport) lining up behind.
Tomorrow, the field will battle in their second qualifying session at 11am that will set the grid for the first race of the season at 2:55pm.
Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP): “Practice went well and we stayed calm. We knew we could do it and I just had to drive without overdriving like I did sometimes last year. I have learned from my past mistakes to put it together. As the pole winner usually comes from the second group on track, I have to put in the same performance tomorrow and we will keep our heads down to do it!”
Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “I made a few mistakes that cost me the pole. I didn’t perfectly adapt to the conditions with the headwinds, which created a lot of downforce in the braking zone at the Mistral Chicane, but also a tailwind with oversteer at turn one. It was still a good showing to begin the season that is looking very promising. I came up just a few hundreds short, but Max put in an excellent lap. My approach in the race will be to avoid unnecessary risks to rack up a lot of championship points.”
Victor Martins (R-ace GP): “All winter, the team worked to be totally ready for this first meeting. We have seen the results today and I want to thank R-ace GP and the Renault Sport Academy for accompanying me in this preparation. It was a tricky day. After the rain in practice, it was a big challenge to get into qualifying on slick tyres and dry track! I didn’t expect to do as well as third and top rookie on the grid in my first go in the Formula Renault Eurocup. In the race, I will stay patient, while I try to gain as much experience as possible. I am not going to put any undue pressure on myself and I can’t wait to see how everything goes!”