EFREN: Eurocup Formula Renault V6 Estoril preview

After two events in the north of Europe, the LG Super Racing Weekend series will be moving southwards for the final two rounds of the 2003 season, first to the Portuguese track of Estoril, on the Atlantic coast, and then to the historic circuit of...

After two events in the north of Europe, the LG Super Racing Weekend series will be moving southwards for the final two rounds of the 2003 season, first to the Portuguese track of Estoril, on the Atlantic coast, and then to the historic circuit of Monza, close to Milan, Italy. With just two weekends of action remaining, a lot remains to be decided in the FIA GT Championship, the FIA European Touring Car Championship and the Eurocup Formula Renault V6.

In the Eurocup Formula Renault V6, Jose Maria Lopez of Argentina and Japan's Kosuke Matsuura were the dominant drivers in Germany, with Matsuura taking his second win of the season in the Grand Race, while Lopez dominated the Super Sprint. With Gommendy failing to finish the first race, and claiming third in the second, the Frenchman has been deposed from the lead of the Eurocup by Lopez. However, the situation is still close, and with four races remain, everything is still to play for. Last year, Neel Jani dominated the Estoril meeting, and a similar result could put him back in the title fight for this season.

The Estoril, 4.182 km long, has a good blend of fast and slow corners, with changes of elevation and a long pit straight making it generally popular with the drivers.

The LG Super Racing Weekend in Oschersleben will also include the Renault Sport Speed Trophy, the Renault Sport Clio Elf International Cup,as well as the Honda BPI Cup.


Experienced driver Pedro Chaves has been competing this season alongside two of his compatriots, Ni Amorim and Miguel Ramos, in the nr 8 Graham Nash Motorsport Saleen S7-R.

"Estoril is a very nice circuit. It was even better in the old days, before they changed the corners and slowed it down, but it is still very good. It's a Grand Prix circuit, with a very good surface, two very challenging corners and with modern, good facilities. It gives me special pleasure to drive there, as it is my own country, and also because I started racing back there in 1985, and it gives me a nice feeling to be racing there again."


After the two races held at Oschersleben, Jose Maria Lopez, from Argentina, has become the fourth driver to head the Formula Renault V6 Eurocup. A win and a second place in Germany allowed him to dislodge Tristan Gommendy of France from the top of the classification, following in the footsteps of Neel Jani and Jaime Melo before them. Lopez, who claimed extra points for pole and fastest lap in the second race, now has a lead of 34 points over the French driver, with Jani a further 10 points behind. However, with four races remaining, in each of which a maximum of 34 points being available, the season is far from over. And it should not be forgotten that Neel Jani, in Estoril last year, claimed pole position, fastest lap and the win, to finish as runner up in the Renault Formula 2000 Eurocup. A similar result this year could close up the field considerably.


Jose Maria Lopez is in fine form at the moment, and the statistics prove it. The young member of the Renault Driver Development Program now has a lead of 34 points over his rivals in the Eurocup Formula Renault V6, and has importantly claimed a psychological advantage, after claiming four consecutive pole positions.

The driver from Argentina has also managed four wins this season, in Donington, Spa, Anderstorp and Oschersleben, 7 pole-positions (2 in Barcelona, Donington, 2 in Anderstorp and 2 in Oschersleben). Six fastest race laps should be added to these eloquent figures - all explaining why he is now leading the Eurocup ahead of Gommendy and Jani.


Tristan Gommendy had a difficult weekend in Oschersleben, with a huge crash completely destroying his single-seater during the free practice sessions. At the wheel of a totally rebuilt car, he managed to qualifying fourth for both races, and claimed a podium finish in the second race, to salvage some points although he lost the lead in the classification. "But I do not intend to give up," Gommendy explained. "Not before the end of the final race in Monza. I am still thinking in terms of the title. There are four races remaining, which means four potential wins !"


It has been confirmed that Belgian driver Vanina Ickx, daughter of six-times Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx, will be taking the wheel of a Formula Renault V6 car for the two races at Estoril. Ickx is an experienced driver, and has taken the wheel of a Chrysler Viper and a Porsche 996 GT3-RS in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as driving one of the Larbre Competition Chrysler Viper cars in this year's Proximus 24 Hours of Spa. The 28-year old Belgian will be driving for SRTS, having tested the car privately at the technical Oschersleben circuit two weeks ago


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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Ni Amorim , Vanina Ickx , Jacky Ickx , Jaime Melo , Kosuke Matsuura , Pedro Chaves , Neel Jani , Tristan Gommendy , Miguel Ramos , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams Larbre Competition