A fresh start at Donington For Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0's rising stars, the UK meeting marks the season's midway point. So, everything is still to play for, even for New Zealander Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon), who heads to...
A fresh start at Donington
For Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0's rising stars, the UK meeting marks the season's midway point. So, everything is still to play for, even for New Zealander Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon), who heads to Derbyshire with a comfortable lead in the overall standings. With just five points separating them, Frank Kechele, Oliver Turvey, Charles Pic and Henki Waldschmidt will all be hoping to make up some ground.
In six races, Brendon Hartley has really made his mark on the Eurocup. His three race wins have given him a handsome lead at the top of the overall standings. If he hadn't broken a finger at the Nurburgring, his rivals might be really staring down the barrel! Well supported by the Red Bull Epsilon team, considered among the best in the category, the New Zealander is the clear favourite for the title as the second half of the season begins. And his excellent fourth place in the F3 Masters at Zolder will have done his confidence no harm at all...
Twenty points or so behind the leader, four drivers are battling it out for the runner-up spot. At the moment, Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy) is Hartley's closest challenger. Kechele is consistency personified, having made it into the points on six occasions, but has yet to grab a podium spot. Since the Hungaroring meeting, the German driver has excelled in the North European Cup, winning three of his six races at Assen, Zolder and the Nurburgring. Third-placed Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport), too, owes his position to unwavering consistency. The British driver has been short on podium finishes, but has made it in to the top ten in every race. On home soil, the McLaren Autosport BRDC young driver of the year will be keen to show some panache at last.
Charles Pic (SG Formula), on the other hand, owes his position more to his explosive speed than to consistency. The Frenchman won a race in Germany, but missed out in Hungary after picking up penalties in qualifying. Having spent nearly two months out of action, he will no doubt have put that disappointment behind him and be ready for a fresh start. Completing the top five is Dutchman Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Powerteam), who will be striving to repeat the kind of performances he produced at Zolder and the Nurburgring.
Further down the field are five other drivers who may be out of contention for the title, but remain regular candidates to win races. They are Mika MÃ¤ki, Stefano Coletti and Jaime Alguersuari (Red Bull Epsilon) and Mihai Marinescu (District Racing).
Some new faces have also made their mark this season, particularly Roberto Merhi (Jenzer Motorsport) and Tobias Hegewald (Motorsport Arena), who have shone in the Italian Championship and the North European Cup respectively.
Apart from Oliver Turvey, three other drivers are competing in their first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season. Jon Lancaster (SG Formula) made it onto the podium for the first time in Budapest and will be keen to repeat the feat in the heart of the English countryside. A regular points finisher, Oliver Oakes (Motorsport Academy) is another driver with his eye on the podium, while Martin Plowman (Prema Powerteam) will try to open his points tally after a disappointing start to the season.