Kechele takes early title at Spa, race wins for Kechele and Meijer The famous Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps hosted the penultimate season meeting of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. Dutch driver Paul Meijer (AR...
Kechele takes early title at Spa, race wins for Kechele and Meijer
The famous Grand Prix circuit of Spa-Francorchamps hosted the penultimate season meeting of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0. Dutch driver Paul Meijer (AR Motorsport) scored his second win of the year after having made his return to motor racing only a few weeks ago. In the first race, he was followed home by German Frank Kechele (Motopark Academy), whose second place was enough to claim the title. Third place went to Adrian Quaife Hobbs (Motorsport Arena). The second race saw Kechele winning from Meijer and Motorsport Arena's Tobias Hegewald.
Race 1: In crisp, but sunny conditions, a field of 22 drivers took on the 7.004 kilometres long circuit, beautifully located in the Belgian Ardennes region. The start went well, but at the famous Eau Rouge, Valterri Bottas (Koirainen Bros.) tangled with Tobias Hegewald, ran wide and dropped back seven places. After that, he quickly recovered and made up one place per lap, eventually finishing fifth.
For Kechele, the race was particularly important as he could already claim the title, and he duly did so. He finished second behind race winner Paul Meijer, which was enough for Kechele to claim the title. There was a lot of excitement further down the field with great racing action involving Nicky Catsburg (MP Motorsport), Dimitri Raihklin (SL Formula Racing), Kirill Ovcharenko (Motopark Academy), Steffen Moller (Team Formula Sport) and Jakub Giermaziak (Motopark Academy).
Tobias Hegewald ran in third, but made an error and ended up in the gravel trap on lap 6. This handed third place to Adrian Quaife-Hobbs who scored his best season result in what was only his third-ever race in Formula Renault. There were also best season results for Raikhlin in sixth place and Gwendolyn Hertzberger (AR Motorsport) in 15th place.
Paul Meijer: "It was a very good race. I remembered from the last time I raced here, three years ago, that is important to drive consistently and keep the lap times at the same level. It worked again this time. I really enjoy driving here at Spa, the circuit is marvellous."
Frank Kechele: "I had a good start but I had a little bit of oversteer in the fast corners. I had quite a heavy fuel load on board, which was necessary as Spa is such a long circuit. I had to drive without taking too many risks as I did not want to make any mistakes. I am
very, very happy being the champion, it feels wonderful!"
Adrian Quaife Hobbs: "I did not have such a good start so during the rest of the race I tried not to make too many mistakes. When I saw Hegewald going off I drove fast but very
carefully. I am really happy as this is only my third race in Formula Renault and I am already on the podium! Opening the bottle of champagne was a little bit difficult, though, as I have never done it before. After all, I am too young to drink!"
Race 2: In bright sunshine and in beautiful autumn weather, the race got underway on Sunday afternoon. Dennis Swart (Van Amersfoort Racing) saw all his hopes of a good race result destroyed as he was a little bit too optimistic at the first corner, came off the track and retired. Kechele had a good start and took the lead from Hegewald. For Valterri Bottas, the start was a little bit too good: he had problems with the clutch of his car and jumped the start, for which he was given an drive through penalty later on in the race. A similar penalty was given to David Sigacev (Lohmann Motorsport) for illegally crossing the white line while trying to overtake another competitor. Drivers running out of luck were Philip Forsman (Trackstar Racing), who was sidelined with a flat tyre and Dimitri Raikhlin (SL Formula Racing), who retired because of a rare gearbox failure.
There was plenty of action out in front with Kechele, Meijer and Hegewald racing each other hard, but fair. Paul Meijer tried to pass Kechele, but that wasn't effective: he came off the track, damaging the underfloor of his car. However, he was still able to continue. Eventually, Kechele won from Meijer and Hegewald and set also the fastest lap time underway. Valtteri Bottas was credited with ten seconds because the pit exit light was still red by mistake as he wanted to leave the pitlane after his drive through.
Frank Kechele: "I had a good start and really tried to pull away from Meijer and Hegewald. Meijer was trying to overtake but he went off, so I could pull away a
little bit more. I had some oversteer in the car but I tried not to concentrate
on that. It was not an easy race as there was always pressure from behind. I had no time to relax."
Paul Meijer: "I had to keep trying to overtake Kechele, but I had some understeer and in
the fast corners that made it a lot more difficult. I went off and broke the wooden underfloor, so the car was not in the best shape after that. But I am still
happy with 2nd place. All in all, my weekend has been quite successful."
Tobias Hegewald: "I had a good start and had some good fights in this race. I had to cope with a little oversteer as well and the others were a bit faster, but I am very happy with my third place. A good revenge for this morning's race when I made a mistake and ended up in the gravel..."
Next races: October 20-21, Hockenheim (D)