Bottas to the fore! Three hours of collective testing was on the programme for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at Estoril today. The title-fight has reached its zenith, and Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) clearly showed he means business by...
Bottas to the fore!
Three hours of collective testing was on the programme for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 at Estoril today. The title-fight has reached its zenith, and Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) clearly showed he means business by setting the fastest time of the day. His opponents were not taking things lying down and this promises to be an explosive weekend of racing.
The Group 2 drivers were the first to take to the stage at a balmy Estoril for the penultimate meeting of the season. The competitors from the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Eurocup West European Cup were side-by-side in collective testing. And it was the Formula Renault WEC drivers who stood out, with Tristan Vautier (SG Formula) and Bastien Borget (Epsilon Sport) who took an early lead. Vautier was the first to show his stuff, with a lap of 1'40"396.
Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) however, wasted no time putting things in order take the lead. Lap on lap, he improved his times before setting the fastest lap in 1'38"503. However, two drivers managed to steal his thunder. The Dane, Johan Jokinen (Iquick) made an impression for his debut in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. He ended the morning in second place behind Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi), who set the best time with a lap of 1'38"348.
The temperature was rising for the afternoon session. This didn't stop Valtteri Bottas from improving his times. Lapping in 1'37"036, he was the fastest of the day. At the very end of the session, Michele Faccin (Jenzer Motorsport) and Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) came close to the Finn's time, but were unable to beat it.
The temperature on the track was ideal as the Group 1 drivers lined up to take their turn. Mathieu Arzeno (TCS Racing) set the ball rolling. The SG Formula drivers then took matters into their own hands. Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli all battled for the top spot. Ricciardo came out best with a fastest lap of 1'38"106, but right at the chequered flag, Vergne snatched it from him in 1'37"106.
In the afternoon, Kuba Giermaziak (Motopark Academy) stood head and shoulders above Group 1, showing off the Motorpark Academy class on the Portuguese circuit. Giermaziak took the top line on the time sheet, before taking a brief detour through the gravel trap. This did little to slow his assault on the lap-times. He finished the session with the best performance in his group with a lap of 1'37"201.
Behind the Polish driver, the battle was raging. Teammate Felix da Costa (Motorpark Academy) finally clinched second place ahead of the SG Formula drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo. With seventeen cars within one second of each other, the group nothing if not consistent.
Valtteri Bottas: "Our car is very competitive. It's encouraging for the weekend, which is certainly very important for me. I need to continue my run from the Nurburgring and Le Mans. There was no pressure for the last four races. The pressure is all on Ricciardo and Calderelli. They had a strong lead a few races back. Now, anything could happen!"