Ricciardo wins the WEC
Australian Daniel Ricciardo's (SG Formula) victory in the first race on the Barcelona circuit followed by second place in race no.2 in the final round of the season assured him of the first title in the Formula Renault West European Cup. Victory in the second race (last one of the season) went to his team-mate Andrea Caldarelli.
In qualifying Daniel Ricciardo earned himself another point by setting pole yet again. Alongside him on the front row was his SG Formula team-mate Andrea Caldarelli with Jean-Eric Vergne and Roberto Mehri on row 2.
Ricciardo went into the lead straight away from Caldarelli and Mehri who got past Vergne on the exit from the first corner. Tristan Vautier moved up a place to fifth by passing Nico Muller (Jenzer Motorsport). The Australian began to draw away from his pursuers Caldarelli and Mehri. On lap 3 Vautier made a mistake in the chicane and Muller and Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) drew level with him looking for a gap. They then collided on the pit straight and hit the pit wall after which Costa ran into Antony Tardieu (Pole Service) bringing out the safety car.
Ricciardo held on to his lead at the restart with Caldarelli and Mehri on his gearbox. The Australian upped the pace and drew away from his rivals. Behind these three there was a lively scrap going on mid field leading to a collision between Benjamin Lariche (Pole Services) and Miguel Ortegui (1Quick).
Riciardo went on to score his eight victory of the season from Caldarelli, and Mehri. This result put the man from down under back in the lead in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Before the last race of the year 5 points separated the 2 drivers. The double gave SG Signature the teams' title.
Jean-Eric Vergne saw the flag in fourth place, the first of the rookies, and this result earned him the title of Best Rookie of the Year. It was his second success just a week after winning the FFSA Formula Renault 2.0 Championship.
Ricciardo was on pole for this decisive race. He had to increase his 5-point lead to make sure of winning the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Mehri was in fifth slot on the grid and had to his utmost to make up lost ground.
Caldarelli made a perfect start to shoot into the lead from Muller (Jenzer Motorsport), Ricciardo and Mehri who quickly overtook Muller to slot into second and third places. Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) who had started from seventh place on the grid was up into fifth.
Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the race and pulled in Caldarelli with Mehri not far behind. To win the title the Spaniard had to pass both SG Formula drivers. Muller in fourth was coming under pressure from Costa, Vautier and Vergne (SG Formula). The positions then stabilised as the Italian and the Australian fended off Mehri's attacks. Behind these three Muller had the measure of his pursuers led by Costa.
Caldarelli finished on a high note with his third victory of the season. Ricciardo's second place was good enough to give him the first title in the history of the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup, no matter what the outcome of the protest lodged by Epsilon Euskadi after the second race at Magny-Cours will be.
Ricciardo's team SG Formula won the teams' classification. Vergne was the best rookie of the year and FFSA French Champion, while Max Lefèvre won the Challenger Cup.
Daniel Ricciardo: "Winning here has been a great reward. It makes up for my disappointment in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. It's been a very positive season with eight victories in the WEC and six in the Eurocup. Today I didn't make a great start and luckily I was able to get past Muller very quickly. I knew I had to set the fastest lap in the race to feel comfortable. The car was perfect. I lifted off towards the end. It wasn't possible to go quicker than Andea here today. I'm over the moon this evening!"
Andrea Caldarelli: "Finishing the season with a victory is very positive. That'll help me prepare for next season in a calm state of mind. This year I've proved that I'm a steady consistent driver."
Roberto Mehri: "I had to win today's race, but it didn't work out that way. We lost the title in qualifying. We made a few mistakes and the car wasn't at its best; it improved in the last race. Overall, it's been a very positive season for me, and I think I've proved a lot. It's always a good sign when you're fighting for the title right till the very end!"