Epsilon Euskadi back in style!
Epsilon Euskadi achieved an impressive one-two here today at the Nurburgring. After starting from good positions on the starting grid, Davide Valsecchi and Filipe Albuquerque treated the German fans to a thrilling duel. Miguel Molina (Pons Racing), who had started from pole position, took his first World Series podium spot!
Guillaume Moreau (KTR) got off to a better start than Miguel Molina, but both of them were taken unawares by Davide Valsecchi, who came through from the second row to outbrake them into turn one! The Italian completed lap one ahead of Molina, Albuquerque, Moreau, Barba and the Hanley / Vettel duo who were already at it hammer-and-tongs! Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport) and Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) became the race's first victims on lap one.
With two laps gone, the lead five had opened up a gap over the rest of the field. Pavlovic, who had suffered damage to his front wing after a collision on lap one, was forced to come into the pits and abandon, leaving eighth place to Yelmer Buurman (Fortec Motorsport). Charlie Kimball (Victory Engineering) and Daniil Move (Interwetten.com) were the other drivers in the top ten at this stage. Pushed back to 18th on the grid after running into Aleshin at the start of race one, Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) was by now already back up into 11th.
Filipe Albuquerque finally found a way past Miguel Molina on lap four. This put the two Epsilon Euskadis out front, a sight reminiscent of the good ol' days of Robert Kubica and Felix Porteiro! It was then down to Molina to watch his mirrors for Moreau and Barba behind him.
On lap six, Hanley and Vettel reestablished contact with the Molina / Moreau / Barba group. On every lap, Barba was attempting a move on Moreau at the end of the straight, but to no avail.
Clearly quicker than his teammate, Filipe Albuquerque was starting to look dangerous. At the mid-point in the race, the leaders were separated by only 4/10ths of a second. A little further back, the battle for tenth between Move, Parente and NuÃ±ez was just as enthralling! Parente finally found a way through on lap sixteen.
At this stage of the race, a number of drivers for whom the race was already as good as all over started to come into the pits to switch to fresh tyres and have a go at setting the fastest race lap: Fairuz Fauzy, Clivio Piccione, Salvador Duran and Milos Pavlovic. In the end, it was the Draco Racing driver who prevailed in this "mini-qualifying" challenge.
With five laps left, Vettel moved up into sixth ahead of Hanley, while Kimball snatched eighth place away from Buurman. At the front, Albuquerque was apparently not about to settle for second: the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winner was clearly attacking his teammate! But Valsecchi held firm to march on to his first victory.
On the final lap, Sebastian Vettel then tried to wrestle fifth place away from Alvaro Barba. The two cars came into contact, but there was no change in the race order before the chequered flag.
Davide Valsecchi: "I made sure I warmed up my tyres well on the formation lap and then I got off to a fantastic start. From there everything went to plan and I'm obviously very happy to take my first win in the category."
Filipe Albuquerque: "I spent the entire race on the attack to try and stay in touch with Davide. I may have been quicker but it would have been very difficult to get past. He drove an excellent race and it's a great result for the team as a whole."
Miguel Molina: "It was a very difficult race. Davide and Filipe opened up a gap right from the start. I also made a slight error which allowed Guillaume Moreau to come back up to me. But this podium finish is very satisfying both for me and the team. I hope we can continue in the same vein in Monaco!"