NEC: Series Nurburgring race report

Bottas on top in Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at the 'Ring Valtteri Bottas had a magnificent weekend in the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at the Nurburgring. On Saturday, he won the race from his two Motopark ...

Bottas on top in Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at the 'Ring

Valtteri Bottas had a magnificent weekend in the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at the Nurburgring. On Saturday, he won the race from his two Motopark Academy team-mates Kuba Giermaziak and Tobias Hegewald. On Sunday, he scored his tenth victory of the season, finishing ahead of Hegewald and Johan Jokinen, which almost secured him the title. He crowned his success with a second place and a win in the two Eurocup rounds at the Nurburgring as well. Three victories on one day is quite an outstanding performance for any race driver! The penultimate race weekend of the season on the support package of the Renault World Series at the Nurburgring, with a total weekend crowd of 90,000 spectators, was a great success.

Qualifying:

Qualifying for the first race saw drivers from the Motopark Academy locking out the first two rows of the starting grid, with Valtteri Bottas claiming pole position with a fastest lap time of 1.58.230 minutes at the 5.148 kilometres long circuit. He had a comfortable margin of 0.505 seconds over his Danish team-mate Johan Jokinen, who, in turn, was followed by German Tobias Hegewald and Pole Kuba Giermaziak. Van Amersfoort Racing's pairing of Stef Dusseldorp and Nigel Melker did well by qualifying fifth and seventh respectively, with Finnish driver Daniel Aho in between them for Koirainen bros. Motopark Academy drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Vinicius Samarone and KEO Racing's Kevin Kleveros completed the top ten.

In qualifying for the second race, Bottas was even more commanding, setting a fastest lap time of 1.58.024 minutes, which was enough for him to claim pole with a margin of no less than 1.048 seconds over second-placed Antonio Felix da Costa. With Tobias Hegewald, Johan Jokinen and Kuba Giermaziak in third to fifth place, the Motopark Academy team claimed the top five places on the grid. Daniel Aho qualified sixth, followed by Stef Dusseldorp, Vinicius Samarone (Motopark Academy), Nigel Melker and British guest driver Alexander Morgan (Double M Racing).

Race 1:

The first race saw Valtteri Bottas leading all the way from lights to flag. He made the most out of his pole position, took the lead at the start and never looked back on his way to his ninth victory of the season. With Bottas comfortably in the lead, the battle for the other two podium positions was among the highlights of the race. Initially, Johan Jokinen looked set for a podium finish, but he dropped back later in the race. Kuba Giermaziak retained his second place. Hegewald struggled a little bit as the lights went out but still managed to defend his third place from Jokinen. Giermaziak eventually came home second with the German third.

Stef Dusseldorp, who scored his maiden win in the category at Zolder three weeks ago, was among the contenders for a podium finish as well. He battled with Jokinen and Hegewald and eventually came home in fourth place, followed by Johan Jokinen.

Newcomer Arnold Neveling drove a very good race and gained a total of eight places. Hylkema, who still has some difficulties in qualifying, impressed during the race with some very good overtaking actions. The same can be said for the youngest driver in the field, 16-year old Daniel de Jong, who started from 18th position but finished in the top 10, coming home ninth.

Guest driver Robert 'Bob' Siska from San Francisco, had a highly enjoyable race, too. 65-year old drove a strong race and scored his first point for finishing 20th.

Post-race quotes Race 1:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place, Motopark Academy):

"It was a bit of a lonely race. I had a good start and needed to get to the inside of the first corner. I knew this from yesterday's Eurocup race. I pushed for about five laps and then drove the limit but without making mistakes. The car was better then yesterday in the Eurocup race. In that race, I had a little oversteer but today the car was good.."

Kuba Giermaziak (2nd place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a good start and could overtake Tobias Hegewald before the first corner. I knew I was faster than Johan (Jokinen) so I tried to overtake him earlier in the race so I could start pushing. I pushed for about 95% as I wanted to avoid making mistakes. I drove very steady laptimes and am very happy with second place."

Tobias Hegewald (3rd place, Motopark Academy.):

"I did not have a good start but could keep my place and could overtake Jokinen as I was a bit faster. But I had to let Kuba (Giermaziak) go. Dusseldorp and Aho were pushing from behind but I had a good race pace and the gap was big enough to keep them behind me."

Race 2:

Antonio Felix da Costa overtook Bottas in the first corner. The Finn even dropped back to fourth place, but quickly moved up again, making up two places on the second lap and was second behind Hegewald. Later on, Bottas dealt with Hegewald too and went on to claim his tenth season win with Hegewald second and Johan Jokinen third after a spirited fight with Kuba Giermaziak.

Felix da Costa's hopes of a good race result were blown when he became involved in a collision, resulting into a flat left rear tyre. After an unplanned pit stop and a tyre change, he managed to make it to the finish but failed to score any points.

There was also bad luck for Koirainen bros. driver Bart Hylkema, who lost the front of his car after half a lap and landed in the gravel trap. MP Motorsport's Nigel de Jong had some nice overtaking actions and made up from 19th on the grid to 14th at the finish. Lady racer Marlene Dietrich (SL Formula Racing) made up from 22nd to finish 17th and there were again championship points for 65-year old guest driver Robert Siska from the USA, who took the chequered flag in 19th place.

Post-race quotes Race 2:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place, Motopark Academy):

"My start was not ok. Antonio Felix da Costa overtook me and I dropped back to fourth but could reclaim two places again on the second lap. I had a hard time focusing after the two races I already had this morning. Three races in one day is a lot and there was a lot of time between the Eurocup race and this one. But I am just very happy to have won three races in one day."

Tobias Hegewald (2nd place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a good start and could find space inside of the car of Antonio. I had a good couple of laps. Then I had some trouble with understeer which got worse and I also had to defend my position from Bottas who pushed and pushed. So I had to let Bottas pass me as I was not able to keep up the pace. But it was a really good race and I am happy with the result."

Johan Jokinen (3rd place, Motopark Academy):

"It was hectic from lap 1 onwards. I got through the first corner with Antonio, was passed by Kuba Giermaziak who pulled away. But about three laps before the end I found a good braking point and could overtake Kuba again. I had a lot of fun fighting. This morning, the car was slightly difficult to drive but this afternoon I had a great car."

-credit: necup.com

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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Robert Siska , Tobias Hegewald , Valtteri Bottas , Antonio Felix da Costa , Johan Jokinen , Stef Dusseldorp , Nigel Melker , Bart Hylkema , Jakub Giermaziak
Teams Formula Racing