NEC: Series Spa and championship summary

Bottas rounds off season in style with two wins in Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at Spa Already-crowned champion Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) rounded off his season in style by winning the 15th and 16th season round of the...

Bottas rounds off season in style with two wins in Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at Spa

Already-crowned champion Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) rounded off his season in style by winning the 15th and 16th season round of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 at Spa-Francorchamps. In the first race, he led home team-mates Tobias Hegewald and Antonio Felix da Costa. In the second race, Bottas finished ahead of Alexander Morgan (Fortec) and Nicky Catsburg (MP Motorsport).

Qualifying race 1:

Fastest driver in qualifying for the first race was Motopark's Tobias Hegewald with a lap time of 2.41.580 minutes, followed by his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. Motopark's hegemony was broken by a good qualifying performance from Fortec's guest driver James Calado, who ended up third.

The weather was dry but the track was still wet, temperature 4 degrees. There was one yellow flag period. Best season qualifying result for Neveling (AR Motorsport) in seventh place. Nigel de Jong went off the track, but didn't cause too much damage Samarone crashed the car but still managed to qualify fifth.

Qualifying race 2:

With 2.40.962 minutes, Valtteri Bottas set the fastest lap time in the final qualifying session of the year, followed by Fortec pairing James Calado and Alexander Morgan.Hegewald lost control of his car on the first lap and crashed. As a result, he will start last.

Race 1:

The start of the race went well. In the first corner Calado touched Felix da Costa and came off the track. There, his car was stuck, which brought the safety-car out. Racing resumed after five minutes. There was contact between Bottas and Hegewald, after which Bottas dropped back to fourth, but soon, he recovered, overtaking Catsburg and Felix da Costa.

There were many position changes after the safety-car intervention. Neveling lost ten places, Catsburg gained six to finish fourth, Alexander Morgan moved up to seventh, but the drivers who improved most were Johan Jokinen and Nigel Melker. On lap five Daniel de Jong (MP Motorsport) went off the track, bounced back on the track and spun. Kevin Kleveros (KEO) hit de Jong and totally destroyed his car but he escaped unscathed. Then Hylkema could just avoid a collision with de Jong but hit the tyre wall. The car was damaged and Hylkema was taken to the medical center for a check- up. Fortunately, he turned out to be okay. After these incidents, the safety-car was deployed once more. Once the damaged cars were removed, racing resumed with ten minutes remaining. In the final dash to the chequered flag. Bottas passed Hegewald and once again finished the race in first position.

Post-race quotes Race 1:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place, Motopark Academy):

"I touched Tobias Hegewald in the first lap on turn 4 and spun. But the safety car saved my ... After the safety car period I overtook Catsburg and was helped by slipstreaming to overtake Tobias. After the second safety car period I pushed to make a big enough gap to finish first again."

Tobias Hegewald (2nd place, Motopark Academy):

"I had a good start and pushed really hard. After the first yellow I could pull away, but after the second Bottas was just faster."

Antonio Felix da Costa (3rd place, Motopark Academy.):

"I had a good start and moved from 4th till 3rd. But in the first corner Calado hit me and I had to drive with the sidepod touching the wheel so the car felt really weird to drive. But I am now second in the championship with nine points difference with Tobias. So tomorrow, it will be an exciting race."

Race 2:

The race started behind the safety car because the track was very wet and it had not stopped raining since the morning. Kevin Kleveros had destroyed his car during the accident he had yesterday during race 1 and therefore was sidelined for this race.

It was so wet on the track that Kuba Giermaziak spun the car behind the safety car. There was standing water in many places on the track. Finally, the green flag was given with 16 minutes to go. Because he was leading the field and wasn't affected by any spray, Bottas was able to pull clear. Antonio Felix da Costa passed Neveling, Dusseldorp won three places and NEC rookie Toomas Heikkinen, a regular driver from the Finnish series, gained two positions.

Aho passed Snoeks and Catsburg had a good fight with all three Fortec drivers. With heavy rain coming down Aho passed Jokinen, the latter not having a good weekend. Dusseldorp moved up into twelfth place and Adam Kout overtook three cars to move up to 17th position. But in Turn 8 he went off and finished in the gravel. Giermaziak also did not have a good race as he ended in the gravel as well. Tobias Hegewald started from the back of the grid because of his accident in qualifying but finished in 16th position and of all drivers, he made up the most places during the race. The race finished under yellow.

Post-race quotes Race 2 / championship:

Valtteri Bottas (1st place / 2008 champion, Motopark Academy):

"Last year I learned good racing with Koiranen Bros. and I had 2 wins at the end of the season in Hockenheim. After that Timo Rumpfkeil (Manager of Motopark Academy) asked if I wanted to test with them for 2008. In the beginning of 2008 I did testing and won the first couple of races. I knew then that I could win the season if I did not make too many mistakes. I did make mistakes in Zolder and learned from them. Now I am ahead by one point in the Eurocup and with one more race weekend to go, it would be really great to win the Eurocup as well."

Alexander Morgan (2nd place, Fortec):

"I stayed behind Bottas. After the safety car went in I did not have enough traction and I was trying to give the tyres more heat. While trying to catch Bottas I made a small mistake but pushed really hard to keep the gap with number 3, Catsburg. Lucky being number 2 you do not get a lot of spray. I did an easy lap to finish second. There was so much standing water on the circuit, before Eau Rouge and in other places."

Nicky Catsburg (3rd place, MP Motorsport):

"Because qualifying was in the rain I knew the race was going to be good in the wet as well. I had a good start and found it to my advantage to start behind the safety car. I could follow the Fortec cars comfortably and really pushed Calado in front of me. He made a little mistake and could pass him. I did try to get closer to Morgan, but there was too much spray. For next year I am focussing on the new Megane Trophy, but really enjoyed my time in Formula Renault."

Antonio Felix da Costa (2nd in the final standings and unofficial "rookie of the year", Motopark Academy):

"I had a really good year. I had to fight to end up second but I had a good pace and have to thank the whole team of Motopark Academy and my engineer and mechanics. Next year I will try to be back and have an overall win of the championship."

Tobias Hegewald (3rd in the final standings, Motopark Academy):

"My season started not so good, as I did little testing. But after a couple of races the gap with Bottas was getting closer. My speed was equal to Bottas but he was just always a little bit faster. I would have been happier with a second place. But I am looking forward to next year. I have big plans."


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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Tobias Hegewald , Adam Kout , Valtteri Bottas , Antonio Felix da Costa , Nigel Melker , James Calado , Nicky Catsburg , Toomas Heikkinen , Jakub Giermaziak
Teams MP Motorsport