Can anyone stop Hartley? Winner of four out of the eight races so far, Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) is well on his way to claiming the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title. In front of their home fans, Charles Pic, Alexandre Marsoin ...
Can anyone stop Hartley?
Winner of four out of the eight races so far, Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) is well on his way to claiming the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title. In front of their home fans, Charles Pic, Alexandre Marsoin (SG Formula) and Nelson Panciatici (Boutsen Energy Racing) will all be doing their level best to knock the New Zealander off his stride.
The Donington meeting provided further evidence that Brendon Hartley is the boss of this year's Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0! Second on Saturday and winner of Sunday's race, Hartley racked up the points whilst his main rivals floundered. With a mighty 42-point lead over his nearest challenger, the New Zealander is in a good position, but he would do well to remember that former champions Kamui Kobayashi (2005) and Filipe Albuquerque (2006) turned around seemingly desperate situations at the halfway stage of the season to go on to win the title! Hartley comes to Magny-Cours with limited knowledge of the track, but the eight hours of collective testing scheduled for Thursday and Friday should give him a chance to make up some ground on the more experienced drivers.
A good way back from the leader, seven drivers are separated by only eleven points. Currently lying second is one of Hartley's team-mates, Monaco driver Stefano Coletti, who has collected three consecutive podium finishes, including a win in Budapest. Coletti is level on points with Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy), who only collected a handful of few points during the trip to England.
Two other drivers are also level on points in fourth place: French team SG Formula drivers Charles Pic and Jon Lancaster. Pic has been off the pace since his impressive performance at the N0x00fcrburgring in May. The young Englishman, however, has gone from strength to strength, culminating in a win on home soil at Donington. Sixth spot is shared by Nelson Panciatici (Boutsen Energy Racing) and Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport). Although unlikely to win the title his early promise had suggested, the former will be looking cause as many upsets as he can and come back stronger in 2008. Conversely, Turvey will need to put a frustrating weekend at the UK meeting behind him.
Believed by many to be Hartley's main rival at the start of the season, Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Powerteam) has been disappointing since the start of the summer. He came away from the UK empty-handed and has now dropped back to a lowly eighth place in the standings.
The top 10 is rounded off by two outsiders who are more than capable of competing for a win: Jaime Alguersuari (Epsilon Red Bull) and Mihai Marinescu (District Racing). Other challengers worth monitoring include Alexandre Marsoin (SG Formula), Mika M0x00e4ki (Epsilon Red Bull), Roberto Merhi and Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport). Let's hope that the last two give their mechanics a bit less work to do than at Donington...
Drivers from the French championship will also be competing, starting with Tristan Vautier (Graff Racing), who made two appearances on the podium during the opening meeting of the season at Zolder.