NEC 2.0: Oschersleben summary

Meijer, Kechele win at Oschersleben In atrocious conditions, Dutch driver Paul Meijer won the eleventh season round of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. At the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the AR Motorsport...

Meijer, Kechele win at Oschersleben

In atrocious conditions, Dutch driver Paul Meijer won the eleventh season round of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. At the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, the AR Motorsport driver won from Motopark Academy's Frank Kechele and Synsam Racing's Pierre Selander . On Sunday, Kechele won from Meijer and Valterri Bottas, whose third place for Koirainen Bros. was a welcome consolation after having spun into retirement on the day before.

Race 1: Torrential rain made it particularly difficult for all competitors, as this was the first totally wet race of the season so far. Because of the avid conditions and the packed programme on the first day of racing at Oschersleben, the clerk of the course decided to shorten the duration of all the races on the Saturday by five minutes each. Pole-sitter Tobias Hegewald took the lead at the start, but soon was deprived of his chances as he was called into the pitlane for a drive-through penalty because of jumping the start. A little further down the order, Russian David Sigacev was given the same penalty for a similar infringement. That handed the lead to Dutchman Paul Meijer, who made his debut in the series after a long absence from motor racing. Once in the lead, he motored on to his first victory of the season and the first success of the year for his team AR Motorsport.

A lot of drivers had a difficult time staying on the track, which was extremely slippery. Most excursions were seen coming out of Oschersleben's notorious triple left-hander. Victims of this corner included Valterri Bottas (Koirainen Bros.), Johan Jokinen (KEO Racing) and Kyrill Ovcharenko (Motopark Academy). On the more positive side, there was a nice battle between Kechele, Selander, Quaife and Hegewald. Kechele finished second from Pierre Selander, whose third place was his best result of the season to date by far. A remarkable performance was shown by Adrian Quaife-Hobbs, who had qualified sixth and finished a creditable fourth in which was only his second-ever race in the Formula Renault 2.0. Hegewald came home fifth after his penalty, followed by the Dutch pairing of Nicky Catsburg (MP Motorsport) and Dennis Swart (Van Amersfoort Racing).

Paul Meijer: "I really enjoyed this race. At the start I was a bit nervous. After all, it had been three years since I drove my last race here. As Hegewald had to come in for his penalty, I was happy to slide to the front because of the enormous spray. I could pull away and stopped pushing when I had a margin of about ten seconds. During the last three laps I drove very cautiously as I really wanted to be back on the top step of the podium."

Frank Kechele: "Qualifying was difficult in the rain. In both qualifying sessions, I damaged my car. During the race I started fourth, I had a good start and could move up into third place as Hegewald came in for his penalty. Then I gained another position as Bottas went into the gravel trap. I pushed hard but also drove a safe race as I wanted to avoid making any mistakes."

Pierre Selander: "I am so happy! This is a wonderful result! I started fifth and had a good

start. When Hegewald and Bottas were no longer in front of me I started pushing a bit because I could see Quaife in my mirror. I have had the best qualifying result and the finish this year and I had a lot of fun driving in the rain. Apparently, the rain really suits me. I am really, really happy!"

Race 2: Other than on the day before, it was completely dry for the second race of the weekend, which even had some sunny spells. Tobias Hegewald couldn't make much out of his pole position as he spun at the start, dropping back to fifth. Frank Kechele, who started second, benefited and took the lead, immediately pulling a gap over the rest of the field. That was also due to Meijer, Bottas and Catsburg losing time while trying to avoid Hegewald's car after his spin. This allowed Kechele a comfortable lead: two laps into the race, he was already seven seconds clear of the rest of the field. After that, he cruised to a safe victory with Meijer second.

The most action in the field was seen from third through ninth place with spirited position fights all the way through the race. Dutch driver, Nick Catsburg, had high hopes after starting fourth, but ran out of luck as he lost control of his car after hitting a kerbstone. He spun and damaged the front section of his car, which forced him into the pits for a replacement. After that, he finished only 21st, but still maintains his sixth place in the championship standings as the best-placed Dutchman. Some young drivers really had a steep learning curve this weekend, driving in very different circumstances in each of the two races. David Sigacev (Lohmann Motorsport), Philip Forsman (Trackstar Racing AB) and Mateusz Adamski (MP Motorsport) all scored personal best results.

Frank Kechele: "At the start, everything just came together, perfect! Hegewald was on the inside and he spun so I could push really hard to make the gap as big as possible. That went very well, even to the extend that after two laps I could not see the rest of the field in my mirror. With a seven seconds' gap I drove a safe race. The only problem I had was that the steering wheel wasn't straight, so I had to keep my mind on the track."

Paul Meijer: "I started third and as Hegewald spun, I moved up one place. However,the gap was too large to keep up with Kechele. I had to keep a safe race pace to maintain my position. Compared to yesterday's race, this one was much more difficult, although yesterday it was very wet. Today, there was significantly more pressure."

Valterri Bottas: "I had a good start but I lost a couple of as Hegewald spun. However, I quickly caught up again. The car felt very good, a little bit of oversteer, but not too much to worry about. I had a mixed weekend. Yesterday I went off and today I am on the podium and did the quickest lap. I am learning that the life of a driver has lots of ups and down and I am dealing with it."

Next races: October 13-14, Spa-Francorchamps (B)

-credit: nec

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Paul Meijer , Johan Jokinen , David Sigacev , Frank Kechele