Da Costa makes his ambitions clear Antonio Felix da Costa (Motopark Academy) has perfectly assumed the mantle of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader and made the ideal start to this weekend in Le Mans by putting in the best performance in ...
Da Costa makes his ambitions clear
Antonio Felix da Costa (Motopark Academy) has perfectly assumed the mantle of Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader and made the ideal start to this weekend in Le Mans by putting in the best performance in collective testing, ahead of his main rival, Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi). The Motopark Academy seems to have got things just right for this last meeting ahead of the summer break, with Adrian Quaife-Hobbs in third and Kevin Magnussen in fourth.
As the first competitors to take to the track, the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 drivers did not take long to get up to speed, being familiar with the circuit after having driven here in off-season testing. The French drivers Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula), Arthur Pic (SG Formula) and Hugo Valente (SG Formula) made the most of home advantage to set the early pace.
However, it was an Italian who was the first to stand out from the crowd. Improving lap-on-lap, Daniel Mancinelli (One Racing) took his place at the top of the timing screens with a lap in 1'37''867. The One Racing driver was able to hold onto this position for quite a while, until Albert Costa initiated the first wave of improvements of the morning. The Spaniard had to battle it out with Nathanael Berthon (Epsilon Euskadi) and Oliver Webb (Fortec Motorsport). In the end, it was Webb, the current leader of the Formula Renault 2.0 UK series, who set the fastest lap of the morning with a time of 1'36''887. He was fastest ahead of Albert Costa, Daniel Mancinelli, Antonio Felix da Costa and Arthur Pic.
In the afternoon, the drivers went back out on track after a sudden downpour. This meant that they had to make the choice between wet-weather and slick tyres. Slick tyres very quickly proved to be the right choice and the times started to come down little by little. Jean-Eric Vergne went quicker than Albert Costa with a lap in 1'38''505.
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs then upped the pace, with a little over ten minutes of the session left to run, to put his name at the top of the time sheet. He put in a lap in 1'37''318 to go faster than Albert Costa and Antonio Felix da Costa. However, Jean-Eric Vergne, who was clearly at ease on this track, then took control of proceedings with just a few minutes of the session left. He put in a lap in 1'36''199 to become the first driver to go quicker than the fastest time of the morning session set by Oliver Webb.
This set the tone for the closing minutes and his rivals duly took it in turns to go one better. Kevin Magnussen was first to come round fastest, but his teammate Adrian Quaife-Hobbs and Antonio Felix da Costa were quick to improve on his time. This meant the best time of the day went to Antonio Felix da Costa with a lap in 1'35''873. He was followed by Albert Costa, who managed to slot in between the Motopark Academy drivers in the final seconds of the session. Adrian Quaife-Hobbs ended up in third as a result, ahead of Kevin Magnussen. Patrick Kronenberger (Iquick Valencia) completed the top five.
Antonio Felix da Costa: "In the morning, we checked that everything was working well on the car. In the afternoon, we started to put in some very good performances and things got even better we switched to fresh rubber. After the incident in Silverstone, I talked things over with Albert Costa. It was just one of those incidents that happen in the heat of the race and there's no problem between us. We've put it behind us. This weekend I need to take my first pole position, to try and take another win. I need to get another good result before we go into the summer break."
Oliver Webb: "This weekend, the pressure is off for me, in contrast to the Formula Renault 2.0 UK series, where I'm leading the overall standings. I'm not familiar with this track, so it was good to set the fastest time here this morning. I didn't drive so well in the afternoon. The standard is very high here and it's very competitive, so it's important to do well in qualifying. In the race, I will then be able to try and make things happen, as I've really got nothing to lose."