Double pole position and two wins One pole position in Hungary and two in England. One win in Hungary and one win and a podium place in Great Britain - on his home circuit at Le Mans, in front of an adoring public, SG Formula's Jean-Eric Vergne...
Double pole position and two wins
One pole position in Hungary and two in England. One win in Hungary and one win and a podium place in Great Britain - on his home circuit at Le Mans, in front of an adoring public, SG Formula's Jean-Eric Vergne swept the board or, to be exact, very nearly did, missing out only on one best lap time. He took 2nd place in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, close behind the leader, while his team mates too were achieving good results...
In qualifying practice, Jean-Eric Vergne and Arthur Pic laid down the first markers in a successful weekend's racing by recording the best two times in group B. The SG Formula team adopted the bold strategy of waiting until the end of the Superpole session before ordering its drivers onto the track despite the threat of bad weather. It is just as well that it did so since Jean-Eric and Arthur were able to use last minute optimum road-holding conditions to advantage by snatching first and third places respectively on the starting grid for the two races. Ramez Azzam continued his dizzy rise up the rankings by notching 6th and 8th place respectively. Miki Monras was not to be outdone, despite a shock absorber problem, and bagged 8th and 7th places respectively. Hugo Valente, despite an improved showing at the last two meetings, missed out on qualification for the Superpole.
Jean-Eric Vergne was victorious in race 1 having led from start to finish, although he had to fight off Costa over the final few turns. His best lap time set a new track record. The rookie Arthur Pic, although passed at the start by the Eurocup leader Da Costa, very quickly set about pressuring the Portuguese driver. Following an alteration to the geometry of his single seater caused by a rumble strip, he finished 4th, one second ahead of Miki Monras. Ramez Azzam notched up further points by finishing 9th. Hugo Valente came home in 23rd position, having moved up ten places.
The start of race 2 was a shambles and unfortunately Arthur was one of four drivers forced to abandon the race at an early stage. When the safety car released the chasing pack on the fourth lap, the driver in pole position, Jean-Eric Vergne, immediately gained a clear advantage over his Portuguese rivals sufficient for him to hold off Da Costa's final rush for the line. The SG Formula driver, supported by the Red Bull Junior Team, rounded off his day of triumph at le Mans with a fourth 2009 win: so far, no one has performed better. Ramez improved on his best Eurocup result by taking 5th place in superb style. He doubled his points total and jumped from 17th to 11th place in the championships. In finishing 7th, Miki notched up points for the ninth time in ten races, maintaining his provisional Eurocup 4th position. Hugo Valente could not expect much following his 30th position on the grid and his was more of a learning experience. Fast but careful driving saw him finish the race in 17th position.
"Le Mans 2008 was a disappointment and winning here was particularly important for us", said Team Manager Stephane Guerin on Sunday evening. "This weekend Jean-Eric was the boss. We don't keep a tally on things. We just want to preserve the state of mind acquired since Budapest and continue to rack up pole positions and wins. If things continue at the present rate, with this quality of performance Jean-Eric will end up champion. Arthur did very well to qualify and is very close to his first podium appearance. The other event of the weekend is Ramez' continuing rise up the rankings. It's only his third season in motor racing and he had no top-level Karting experience before he started. He sets a very fine example in terms of team spirit and feedback to engineers."
We now have to wait two long months before the Eurocup starts up again on 19 and 20 September at the Nurburgring. It should be well worth waiting for.