Ricciardo takes the lead Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) won the two races on the Dijon-Prenois circuit putting him into the lead in the West European Formula Renault 2.0 Cup. The Australian has already staked a claim on the title by winning three...
Ricciardo takes the lead
Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) won the two races on the Dijon-Prenois circuit putting him into the lead in the West European Formula Renault 2.0 Cup. The Australian has already staked a claim on the title by winning three out of the four races held so far. Roberto Mehri's (Epsilon Euskadi) two second places in Burgundy give him second place in the Cup just in front of Andrea Caldarelli (SF Formula).
As soon as the red lights went out, pole-sitter Roberto Mehri managed to stay in front of his team-mate Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi). Behind these two Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) were unable to fend off Andrea Caldarelli.
After 9 laps, Mehri was 1.5s in front of Costa. The outcome of the race, though, was far from being decided as Ricciardo was gradually edging closer to the leading duo. A fair way behind the leading trio was a group consisting of three other SG Formula drivers: Caldarelli, Vergne and Nebilitskiy.
At the start of lap 13, Ricciardo took second place and set off after Mehri and a lap later was right on his gearbox. Caldarelli had slashed the gap between himself and Costa and was harrying the SG driver.
Mehri was struggling with his worn tyres and was unable to fight off Ricciardo who muscled by into the lead on lap 15. The cars touched and Mehri suffered a puncture on one of his rear tyres. Costa was battling with the same problem as Mehri and could not prevent Caldarelli from taking second.
The abrasive track surface combined with the scorching heat led to premature tyre wear. Race Control decided to stop the race after 18 laps to avoid punctures that could have led to accidents, and in compliance with the regulations the classification after 16 laps was the final one. Ricciardo won from Mehri, Costa (1st rookie) Caldarelli and Vergne.
It was still scorching hot in Burgundy and as a safety measure the duration of race 2 was reduced to 20 minutes plus 1 lap to prevent excessive tyre wear. Ricciardo suffered a little wheelspin at the start but managed to hold on to the lead in the first corner from Mehri, Caldarelli and Costa. Costa went wide, took a brief trip through the gravel trap losing several places in the process.
At the end of lap 1 Ricciardo led from Mehri, Nebilitskiy, Vergne and Caldarelli.
The two leaders opened up a gap over their pursuers with Ricciardo still in front of Mehri. Behind, a no-holds battle raged between the SG drivers for third place. The Russian Nebilitskiy tried as best he could to fend off his team-mates Vergne and Caldarelli. At the start of lap 8, Caldarelli got the better of Vergne for fourth place and homed in on Nebilitskiy.
With fifteen minutes gone the positions were stable. The gap between Ricciardo and Mehri remained the same until the finish. The struggle for third place between Nebilitskiy and Caldarelli was far from over, though. The Italian launched a final attack on the Russian but was unable to get past. Vergne's fifth place gave him the title of first rookie.
Daniel Ricciardo: "It's been a perfect weekend. I've harvested the maximum number of points and I'm leading the WEC. Today, I was a little bit too cautious at the start although I managed to stay in front but it was close. Then I kept up a good pace and opened up a gap. At the end Roberto seemed to be a bit quicker so I was pretty happy to see the chequered flag! I'll have to continue like that in Valencia, a circuit I know well and like very much."
Roberto Mehri: "Overall, it's been a good weekend as I've scored points. The WEC is leaving France and we're off to Spain. On home turf in Valencia I hope I'll be able to take the initiative."
-credit: fr wec