EU 2000: Le Mans preview

A change or more of the same? Results to date have been resounding: four wins in four races for Michael Ammermauller (Jenzer Motorsport). Clear leader in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, whatever happens this weekend the German driver will ...

A change or more of the same?

Results to date have been resounding: four wins in four races for Michael Ammermauller (Jenzer Motorsport). Clear leader in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, whatever happens this weekend the German driver will still lead the championship on Sunday evening! But the French contingent, led by Yann Clairay who will be racing on his home circuit, is determined to make life difficult for him.

Michael Ammermauller genuinely believed he would find it hard to reproduce the perfect performance he managed at Zolder in Valencia. However, the German recorded two further pole positions, allowing him to pocket another two victories. Victories which mean that he now has comfortable lead of 38 points over Romain Grosjean (SG Formula).

Although Grosjean will indeed be racing at Le Mans, it will not be to defend his second place in the Eurocup; he has decided to give total priority to pursuing the French championship title. Due to calendar conflicts, several other drivers will miss this third meeting. The Italian championship is being held at Mugello this weekend, whilst competitors in the German championship will be fighting it out in Assen (The Netherlands). Motopark Oschersleben team and Lukoil Racing Team will also be absent this weekend.

Third in the overall standings, Austrian driver Reinhard Kofler will also be absent. Hit by budgetary difficulties, he has handed his place with Cram Comp0x00e9tition to the young driver, Tom Dilllann.

In order to find some competition for Ammermauller, look no further than the dozen or so drivers who will be looking to get as many points as possible, after a below par start to the season. This is particularly true for Kamui Kobayashi, leader of the Prema Powerteam team. Always quick during free practice, the Japanese driver has to catch up the points he lost at Zolder.

A native of Laval, Yann Clairay (SG Formula) will be racing on home soil on the Bugatti circuit. The runner-up in last year's French championship looked to be on top form last week during the joint practice sessions organized in Estoril, recording the quickest time. All of which should serve as a serious morale booster for the weekend! Still at SG Formula, Carlo Van Dam also put in some excellent times in Portugal. The Dutchman will be looking for his first podium finish of the season

British driver Westley Barber will be looking forward to returning to a circuit that he knows like the back of his hand, having raced there in Formula Renault Campus just a few years ago.

Other contenders for a top three finish include the likes of Brazilian Alan Hellmeister (AR Motorsport), Belgian Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi), Japanese driver Hiroyuki Matsumura (Graff Racing) and South African Adrian Zaugg (Jenzer Motorsport). And let's not forget about Dutch drivers Junior Strous and Xavier Maasen, who have not been among the leaders very often since the start of the season, but who are still a threat!

Among the French drivers, Julien Canal (Graff Racing) will be trying to get in the points again. SG Formula is entering three additional cars for Franck Mailleux, Julien Jousse and Johan Charpilienne -- all from nearby Rennes. The other local driver for this round is Franck Mailleux, from Caen, who drives for the Le Mans-based team, Epsilon Sport, managed by Michel Leconte.

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Westley Barber , Junior Strous , Yann Clairay , Alan Hellmeister , Julien Canal , Kamui Kobayashi , Xavier Maassen , Johan Charpilienne , Bertrand Baguette , Adrian Zaugg , Julien Jousse , Romain Grosjean , Franck Mailleux , Carlo Va , Reinhard Kofler
Teams Jenzer Motorsport