Perfect weekend for Hartley Following in the footsteps of Ammermuller in 2005 and Groppi in 2006, Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) won the two opening races of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at the Zolder circuit. The New Zealander ...
Perfect weekend for Hartley
Following in the footsteps of Ammermuller in 2005 and Groppi in 2006, Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) won the two opening races of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 season at the Zolder circuit. The New Zealander dominated Henki Waldschmidt (Prema Power Team) and Tristan Vautier (Graff Racing).
Having finished third in race 1, Henki Waldschmidt was disqualified after scrutineering revealed an unauthorized finishing seal between the chassis and the undertray of his car. Prema Power Team has appealed against this decision.
Yesterday's winner Brendon Hartley (Red Bull Epsilon) was again in pole position on the starting grid for race 2. Charles Pic (SG Formula) joined the New Zealander on the front row.
Hartley took advantage of his position, going into the first bend in the lead. He was followed by Waldschmidt, who got off to a storming start from the second row. Pic tried to reclaim his spot as the traditional jostling for position on the first lap saw Facundo Crovo and Pedro Nunes eliminated.
Pic quickly overtook Waldschmidt and then set about chasing Hartley. Jaime Alguersuari (Red Bull Epsilon) also started well, lying in fourth ahead of Tristan Vautier (Graff Racing). The top 10 was completed by Turvey, Oakes, Coletti, Kechele and Lapenna.
After five laps, Pic was handed a drive-through penalty for overtaking Waldschmidt while the yellow flag was out. A few seconds later, the two District Racing cars were involved in an incident that covered the track in kilos of gravel. Aleix Alcaraz was forced to retire, but Mihai Marinescu was able to continue. The safety car came out during lap 6 to allow the race marshals to clear the circuit. Racing resumed at the end of lap 10.
Pic served his penalty after lap 11, which enabled Waldschmidt to reclaim second place, and Markus Niemela (BVM Minardi Team) to move up into the top ten. In the closing laps, Jaime Alguersuari made up ground on Waldschmidt. But the Spaniard's hopes evaporated in the final lap, when a problem with his gearshift forced him to retire. This handed Tristan Vautier an unexpected place on the podium ahead of Turvey, Coletti, Kechele and Oakes, the latter also having a disappointing final lap.
Brendon Hartley: «This weekend really couldn't have gone better. We were the fastest in all conditions. After a difficult 2006 season, this has been a perfect start for me."
Henki Waldschmidt: "I'm glad to have shown how fast we can be by finishing second. I got off to a good start, but then Pic passed me while the yellow flags were out. After that I recovered and managed to hold on to second place."
Tristan Vautier: "The start was difficult because I got boxed in. I was fifth before the safety car came out, then fourth after Pic's penalty. I feel sorry for Jaime, who had a problem on the final lap, but I'm happy to be here!"