Yes WEC can! We all know how important the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup championship is for nurturing young motor racing talent so the opening round of the new season was keenly awaited. Overall, the weekend's results fell short of expectations...
Yes WEC can!
We all know how important the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup championship is for nurturing young motor racing talent so the opening round of the new season was keenly awaited. Overall, the weekend's results fell short of expectations for SG Formula, apart from Miki Monras' first podium place at this level, which takes him to third place in the provisional standings, level on points with the 2nd-placed driver. On the other hand, the La Rochelle team tightened its stranglehold over the West European Cup, or `WEC' as it's known, with two pole positions and two wins. Eurocup: Monras into the top three
All five SG Formula cars entered in the Eurocup qualified for the Superpole. Jean-Eric Vergne was quickest in Group A and rookie Arthur Pic clocked the 3rd fastest time in Group B. However, only Miki Monras managed to get into the Top 10 during the deciding Superpole session. After setting off 6th for Race 1's grid, the Spaniard had to make do with 5th place at the finish. The team engineered a recovery in Sunday's race. Starting 3rd on the grid, Miki Monras held onto his place to take third place on the podium. Arthur Pic made up ten places to finish 7th, and the team's youngest driver, Hugo Valente, leapt up a full thirteen places to win his first European point by finishing 10th. Jean-Eric Vergne was moving up well through the field as well, only to have his race spoilt by a collision when a top five finish seemed on the cards.
As in previous seasons, we fought it out with top-quality competition with only a few hundredths of a second and some last minute technical adjustments differentiating the teams. Except that this year one driver - Albert Costa - literally stole the show, finishing both races comfortably in the lead. Mind you, he got himself disqualified from Race 1 for non- compliance, just as he had in qualifying at Nogaro. The main thing I take from this meeting is that Miki Monras is now lying 3rd in the championship after working extremely hard to get Sunday's result. Our team is very attached to Spain. It's a country that loves its motor racing, and one that produces winners! Jean-Eric Vergne deserves a special mention. He had a medical condition that saw him doubled up with pain in the truck, just 15 minutes before he was due to get in the car for qualifying. Despite this he drove a great Race 2. True he came away from Barcelona empty handed, but it's not the end of the world. There is a long season ahead and lots of drivers are in the running. No-one is on top, except perhaps this weekend's show stealer, although maybe he won't get away with it all season. Also, let's not forget that Jean-Eric picked up his third WEC win here.» WEC: What a story
SG Formula repeated the feat it achieved in Nogaro by qualifying six out of its eight drivers on the front three lines on both Barcelona WEC's starting grids. Rookie Arthur Pic was poleman on the Sunday morning but Jean-Eric Vergne dug deep to make it three wins in three races. He took the race ahead of Epsilon Euskadi driver Albert Costa and Arthur Pic, the latter celebrating his first Formula Renault 2.0 podium place and second leading rookie victory. Julien Abelli was in pole position as the meeting drew to a close on Sunday evening and he managed to hold off Jean-Eric Vergne to take the race. Miki Monras and rookie Arthur Pic made it a magic foursome for SG Formula.
Julien's victory was one of the big events of the weekend. It sends out a big message of encouragement to all those drivers who, like him, find it tough going to finance their racing. It was a long shot with Julien, who we were able to assess in 2008 thanks to a deal with his old team. Yannick Hubert, our operations manager, was convinced that it would be a worthwhile operation, so we put together a programme which was tailored to his means but which was intense enough for him to stay the pace with his team-mates. He did well in Nogaro and here he picked up a win off pole position on a Formula 1 racetrack.
The next round of the Eurocup takes place on Belgian soil, at Spa, next May 2-3. Two weeks later the West European Cup will be heading off to the heady atmosphere of the Pau Grand Prix.