No pressure on Hartley The dominant force in the competition since the start of the season, Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) has been assisted by his rivals' inconsistency. The New Zealander has every chance of sewing up the title at Estoril.
No pressure on Hartley
The dominant force in the competition since the start of the season, Brendon Hartley (Epsilon Red Bull) has been assisted by his rivals' inconsistency. The New Zealander has every chance of sewing up the title at Estoril. The battle for second place in the final standings, however, promises to be hard-fought, with just five points separating the next four drivers!
Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 is unquestionably the highest-quality, most closely-contested junior single-seater championship there is. Qualifying sessions frequently see twenty or so drivers separated by less than a second, and a third decimal place is often required to determine the placings on the grid!
Which makes Brendon Hartley's performance this season all the more impressive. The Epsilon Red Bull driver has won four of his ten races and it seems like he has not given his rivals a sniff. They failed to capitalize on his two slip-ups at the Nurburgring -- when he was driving with a broken finger -- and Magny-Cours. And with an incredible number of drivers sharing the minor places, the Kiwi driver has been able to continue his march towards the title unimpeded.
With a handsome 44-point advantage over Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy), Brendon can afford to drop as many as ten points and still be crowned champion before the season's finale at Barcelona.
Kechele, in contrast, has no such luxury! The German driver claimed his first podium finish at Magny-Cours and has notched up an impressive collection of points finishes, as has Oliver Turvey (Jenzer Motorsport). Between these two men lie Stefano Coletti (Epsilon Red Bull) and Charles Pic (SG Formula), who have both won one race but been hampered by a number of DNFs.
Four other drivers may have their word to say in the battle for the second and third places on the podium. Nelson Panciatici (Boutsen Energy Racing) will be aiming to salvage a race win from a season that has not gone as he might have hoped, while the rookie Jon Lancaster (SG Formula) will want a second victory to add to his success at Donington.
Two more worth keeping an eye on will be Jaime Alguersuari (Epsilon Red Bull) and Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Powerteam), who both started the season with higher aspirations than a top-ten finish.
Mihai Marinescu (District Racing), Tobias Hegewald (Motorsport Arena) and Mika MÃ¤ki (Epsilon Red Bull) have all had their moments, producing the occasional brilliant performance. They will be keen to produce the goods again and finish the season on a high. Fabio Leimer, Roberto Merhi (Jenzer Motorsport) and Alexandre Marsoin (SG Formula) will have the same idea in mind.
Most of the competitors have had the opportunity to keep their eye in since the last meeting. Participants in the Italian and French Championships and the North European Cup will all be in action this weekend, at Monza, Magny-Cours and Spa-Francorchamps respectively.