For SG Formula, two heads are better than one in the Eurocup standings! We have an unprecedented situation in the 2008 edition of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, with Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli - both entered by SG Formula - jointly...
For SG Formula, two heads are better than one in the Eurocup standings!
We have an unprecedented situation in the 2008 edition of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, with Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli - both entered by SG Formula - jointly taking the lead in the championship. Le Mans also hosted a West European Cup race during the weekend, in which the team from La Rochelle notched up yet another 1-2.
Eurocup: Caldarelli picks up where he left off at the Ring Italian Andrea Caldarelli put himself back in the running with his performance at the Nurburgring, and he continued his revival at Le Mans. His two second place finishes put him ex-aequo at the top of the standings with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo from Australia. Highlight of the weekend for him was the way he got past Bottas and Ramos in
After qualifying 5th and 3rd respectively for the two main races, Daniel was frustrated on the Saturday when a dodgy throttle cable put him out of the running during the warmup lap. Then on the Sunday he got off to a poor start and could only manage 6th place past the flag. Jean-Eric Vergne was flying during open practice and then clocked the fastest time in his qualifying group. Unfortunately things didn't go as well when it came to the Superpole decider. He made up for his mistake with two splendid drives in the two main races, climbing from 12th to 7th on the Saturday and from 10th to 5th on the Sunday. These results moved him up a slot in the championship standings, in which the Red Bull Junior driver now occupies 7th place. He is the leading rookie in the overall table.
Two out of the team's six single-seater racers were written off in a gigantic crash at the start of Race 1. Fortunately no-one was injured! It was for this reason that Ramez Azzam had to drop out after the satisfaction of getting amongst the 24 Superpole qualifiers in weather conditions he doesn't particularly like. Anton Nebylitskyi was another of SG Formula's Superpole qualifiers to got caught up in the crash but luckily the team managed to rebuild a car for him during the night. He says he drove a very careful race in recognition of the work done by the mechanics, eventually coming home 15th in race 2.
On the other hand, there was much satisfaction for guest driver Alexander Sims from the UK. On a circuit he was discovering for the first time, he drove two faultless races. He picked up points as he climbed from 10th to 6th in the first race and from 11th to 9th in the second.
WEC: Ricciardo's fifth win and Vergne's maiden podium finish!
SG Formula drivers occupied the first three places on the grid for the start of Sunday's race. As the lights went out, Jean-Eric Vergne managed to get past Daniel Ricciardo, who was in pole, and Andrea Caldarelli, and he led the race until the 10th lap. The lead changed hands after Jean-Eric and Daniel had treated the crowd to some wheel-to-wheel stuff through several corners. Once past Jean- Eric, Daniel went on to notch his 5th success in the West European Cup. So for top rookie finisher and best-placed French championship driver Jean-Eric Vergne, it was second place on his maiden podium.
Andrea missed out on a possible podium place after a mistake put him back in 8th position. Driving a car that had been completely rebuilt after the Eurocup crash, Anton Nebylitskyi was lying 7th when another car ploughed straight into him. Finally, it wasn't an easy drive for Tristan Vautier because this was his only race, whereas the other drivers came into it with Eurocup miles under their belts! He came away with a useful 6th place.
Stephane Guerin's assessment
There is nothing to lament over when we have a 1-2 in the WEC, six out of six drivers qualified through the Eurocup Superpole and two drivers leading the European championship! However, their lead over Bottas and Mehri has been cut to under 10 points, so team-manager Stephane Guerin returned to La Rochelle with mixed feelings: "I'm happy with Andrea Caldarelli's performance. He's consistently amongst the leaders. His confidence is growing and he's always highly motivated. But I'm disappointed with Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne missing out in the Superpole. The race conditions were difficult as the track was drying out. But we had a fighter pilot as our very special VIP guest and he gave us weather updates in real time! Sadly, Daniel and Jean-Eric didn't make the most of their tyres at the right moment, although we were in great shape setup-wise to go looking for two pole positions, as our 1-2-3 in the WEC qualifiers proved. But mistakes soon get punished when you are up against good opposition; we've got to be on top form all the time! In Jean-Eric's case, we mustn't forget his good starts and his first podium place, which should spur him on to greater things."