SG Formula takes five crowns out of a possible six! Last weekend in Magny-Cours, SG Formula driver Jean-Eric Vergne was crowned FFSA Champion of France. In Barcelona this week the team added four more Formula Renault 2.0 titles to trophy cabinet.
SG Formula takes five crowns out of a possible six!
Last weekend in Magny-Cours, SG Formula driver Jean-Eric Vergne was crowned FFSA Champion of France. In Barcelona this week the team added four more Formula Renault 2.0 titles to trophy cabinet. The Drivers, Teams, and Rookies crowns in the West European Cup all went to SG Formula as did the Eurocup Teams title. A shower of rain at the right time and Daniel Ricciardo might have made up his three point deficit to take the European title but it was not to be. Still, the La Rochelle outfit can be proud of what it has achieved in the 2008 campaign. Whichever way you look the results, the team has made great strides since last season.
Eurocup: Fighting all the way
SG Formula's single-seaters were a cut above the rest in Barcelona, both in the wet and the dry. Saturday morning's qualifying sessions took place on a track that rain had turned into a skating rink but the team's six drivers slid gracefully into the 24 qualifiers. Then in the Superpole session, with the track still wet, SG Formula won the four front places on the grid in both main races. At that point in time, Daniel Ricciardo and direct rival Valtteri Bottas, who started 11th, were equal on points, thanks to the point Ricciardo picked up for clocking the fastest time.
Rain tyres had to be used at the start of Race 1 because the track was still damp. Everything went fine for SG Formula until the half-way marker. Andrea Caldarelli was in the lead ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, but after the rain stopped both drivers found the final laps tough going. It was clear that the setup of their cars was not working well on a drying track. Valtteri Bottas came striding back into contention and took the race. Andrea had to make do with third place on the podium, and Daniel sunk to 5th.
The sun was back out for Sunday's race and SG Formula finished the season with what turned into something of a demonstration. Daniel Ricciardo, Andrea Caldarelli and Jean-Eric Vergne came home 1-2-3, providing a fine illustration of the form that has swept the team to its second European title. However, 4th place was just enough to ensure Finn Valtteri Bottas the top driver crown, with a short but sufficient three point margin.
SG Formula drivers turned in some remarkable performances during this final round of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, not least Jean-Eric Vergne with his 2nd and 3rd fastest times during qualifying, and the final podium place that saw him firmly ensconced as the championship's top rookie. Anton Nebilitskyi astonished everybody with his 4th and 7th times in the Superpole before going on to win points in the main races. Miki Monras deserved the plaudits that came his way too, with a 4th place on Sunday's grid.
2008 has proved to be a fruitful season. Daniel Ricciardo ended up with a silver medal and Andrea Caldarelli pipped Epsilon driver Euskadi Roberto Mehri to the bronze. Never has SG Formula been as close to taking the European driver's title, with the suspense enduring right up to the end, only to miss out by not even a handful of points. SG Formula finished the 2008 season with more wins and pole positions than any other team.
West European Cup: Powering peerlessly to the title
The final round of the West European Cup took place in Barcelona on the same World Series by Renault billing as the Eurocup, and SG Formula drivers were in full control.
Fastest man during qualifying Daniel Ricciardo raced to victory in Race 1 ahead of team-mate Andrea Caldarelli. SG Formula picked up its second 1-2 of the weekend as the meeting drew to a close, this time with Andrea coming home ahead of new champion Daniel.
2008 Champion driver of France Jean-Eric Vergne added the Rookie crown to his results tally. 3rd in qualifying, he finished 4th then 7th in the main races. Tristan Vautier finished his season with two creditable 6th-placed finishes, while Anton Nebilitskyi and Miki Monras also pocketed points on the Catalan circuit.
In the final drivers' standings of a West European Cup worth at least half a Eurocup, Daniel came 1st, Andrea 3rd, Jean-Eric 4th, Tristan 6th, Anton 7th, Miki 8th and SG Formula topped the team standings.
Stephane Guerin takes stock of the season
"Obviously we didn't miss out on the Eurocup champion drivers title in just this one meeting. Our strategy for Race 1 was to get as far ahead as we could at the start, but both Daniel and Andrea suffered as their cars became progressively less competitive as the track dried out faster than anticipated. It's a pity it didn't rain again! What we have achieved in 2008 gives us great heart to take things further forward next season. Daniel's WEC title was amply deserved - he was head and shoulders above the rest. Andrea finished the season strongly and I understand Toyota have big plans for him. Jean-Eric has been learning fast this season and I predict great things for him, he'll be one of the favourites for the Eurocup in 2009. Considering he only raced in the WEC, Tristan turned in some good performances despite the deficit of miles compared to his rivals. Miki has shown enormous potential for a 16-year old. The way he resisted Bottas in Race 2 in the Eurocup was admirable. Anton had a very good meeting, despite some over-exuberance at times. Ramez continues to progress, too. My appreciation also goes to our 30-strong technical team; they've been working non-stop away from home for over a month now! Their professionalism has been exemplary."