NEC: Zandvoort race notes

Two victories for Frank Kechele at Zandvoort German Frank Kechele (Motopark Acadamy) won both races of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 during the season opener at Circuit Park Zandvoort. In the first race,...

Two victories for Frank Kechele at Zandvoort

German Frank Kechele (Motopark Acadamy) won both races of the Northern European Cup Formula Renault 2.0 during the season opener at Circuit Park Zandvoort. In the first race, he was followed home by his team-mates Fabio Onidi and Tobias Hegewald. The second race in wet conditions saw Kechele winning from charging Finn, Valtteri Bottas (Koiranen Bros.), with Hegewald third again.

Race 1: At the start of the race, it was Fabio Onidi who had the upper hand over his team-mate, pole-sitter Frank Kechele. Thus, the Italian led the 27 car field in the run up to the first corner, the famous "Tarzanbocht". The two quickly pulled clear and already had a margin of over two seconds after the first two race laps, with Tobias Hegewald in third and Dutchman Nick Catsburg fourth. On lap five, Kechele benefited from a slipstream under braking for the Tarzanbocht and took the lead from Onidi. Once in front, the German pulled a gap of one second. On lap 10, the safety car was deployed after three cars had collided at Scheivlak and were stuck in a dangerous location. Racing resumed after two laps, with a two lap dash towards the chequered flag. Kechele stayed in front from Onidi and Hegewald, but Catsburg lost his fourth place to Valttereri Bottas. On the same lap, Adam Christodoulou also overtook the Dutchman and claimed fifth place. The order remained like that until the finish, with Kechele winning from Onidi and Hegewald, a clean sweep of the podium for the Motorsport Arena/Motopark Academy team.

Frank Kechele: "My start wasn't too good, losing second place to Fabio, but then I looked for an opportunity to catch him and soon found out that he braked quite early before the first corner, so that was where I took my chance. Thankfully, I also managed to stay in front after the safety car period. My car was great throughout the race, I am very happy."

Fabio Onidi: "After a good start I managed to take the lead, but Frank was quicker and eventually, I couldn't keep him behind me. I hoped for a chance at the re-start but Frank made no mistake and I had to settle for second."

Tobias Hegewald: "On the first few laps, my car had too much oversteer, so I couldn't close the gap to the two guys in front. Because of the safety car, I was behind them again, but third was all I could do."

Race 2: After a heavy rain shower, the field set off behind the safety car to get used to the wet conditions. The field was released after two laps and it was Frank Kechele who took the lead, outbraking Tobias Hegewald before the first corner, with Oliver Oakes third. On lap six, Valtteri Bottas was rewarded for a charging drive with third place after overtaking Oakes. Later on, Oakes lost another position to Steffen Moller, while Hegewald and Bottas had a nice battle for second which Bottas decided in his favour after the German made a driving error on lap eleven. After that, Bottas quickly closed up to race leader Kechele, but the German stayd in front and claimed his second win of the weekend from Bottas and Hegewald.

Frank Kechele: "Two victories after one year in which I didn't do any racing at all is a great comeback for me, with which I am really happy. The start from behind the safety car was a little bit confusing, but fortunately, it all worked out."

Valtteri Bottas: "I have no secret, apart from the fact that my car was very good and the team did a tremendous job. I am happy with this result in my first weekend of racing after graduating from karting."

Tobias Hegewald: "Finishing third after having started from pole is obviously a little bit disappointing, but that was all I could do in these conditions, and two third places are not too bad to start the season."

Next races: July 7-9, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben (D)


Race 1: 1. Frank Kechele (Ger) (Motopark Academy), 14 laps in 26:23.702, 2. Fabio Onidi (Ita) (Motopark Academy), 0.942, 3. Tobias Hegewald (Ger) (Motopark Academy), 1.727, 4. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) (Koiranen Bros), 2.869, 5. Adam Christodoulou (GBr) (AKA Cobra), 5.138, 6. Nicky Catsburg (Ned) (MP Motorsport), 6.877, 7. Romano de Ruit (Ned) (MP Motorsport), 7.617, 8. Oliver Oakes (GBr) (Motopark Academy), 7.980, 9. Stef Dusseldorp (Ned) (Van Amersfoort), 8.603, 10. Dennis Retera (Ned) (AR Motorsport), 9.107.

Race 2: 1. Frank Kechele (Ger) (Motopark Academy), 12 laps in 26:12.475, 2. Valtteri Bottas (Fin) (Koiranen Bros), 0.516, 3. Tobias Hegewald (Ger) (Motopark Academy), 5.496, 4. Steffen Moller (Den) (Team Formula Sport), 7.637, 5. Oliver Oakes (GBr) (Motopark Academy), 12.116, 6. Dennis Retera (Ned) (AR Motorsport), 12.157, 7. Nicky Catsburg (Ned) (MP Motorsport), 12.314, 8. Stef Dusseldorp (Ned) (Van Amersfoort), 15.268, 9. Adam Christodoulou (GBr) (AKA Cobra), 17.829, 10. Romano de Ruit (Ned) (MP Motorsport), 18.785.

Points' standings after 2 rounds: 1. Kechele, 60 points, 2. Bottas, 41, 3. Hegewald, 40, 4. Catsburg and Oakes, both 29, 6. Christodoulou, 28, 7. Moller, 27, 8. Retera, 26, 9. De Ruit and Dusseldorp 25.


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About this article
Series Formula Renault
Drivers Fabio Onidi , Tobias Hegewald , Dennis Retera , Oliver Oakes , Valtteri Bottas , Adam Christodoulou , Stef Dusseldorp , Nicky Catsburg , Frank Kechele
Teams MP Motorsport