Roberto Mehri takes the championship lead! Roberto Mehri (Epsilon Euskadi) put himself in a strong position for the title after Magny-Cours where he took over first place in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Although the Spaniard led...
Roberto Mehri takes the championship lead!
Roberto Mehri (Epsilon Euskadi) put himself in a strong position for the title after Magny-Cours where he took over first place in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Although the Spaniard led both races he almost lost everything on Saturday and Sunday. The championship showdown will be on the Barcelona circuit with only three points separating Mehri and Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula).
The duel between Daniel Ricciardo and Roberto Mehri began in qualifying. The Spaniard was racing on a circuit on which he feels particularly at ease and bagged pole. When the lights went out he made a blinding start and was well protected by his team-mate Albert Costa who fended off the SG Formula drivers.
The two Spaniards led the field at the end of lap 1 from Jean-Eric Vergne, Tristan Vautier (SG Formula), Andrea Caldarelli and Daniel Ricciardo who missed his braking for Adelaide and fell from third to sixth place.
Mehri and Costa drove a perfect team race and increased their lead each time round. Jean-Eric Vergne was hanging on to third place for dear life and had to repulse the attacks of his team-mates Vautier, Caldarelli and Ricciardo. It was all the more important for him to stay in front; as by beating Vautier he was on course to win the FFSA French Formula Renault 2.0 Championship.
The race came to a dramatic end. With just a few laps to go Mehri lost it in the Nurburgring corner due to a technical failure. The nut on his left-hand rear wheel came off and cut through the rim. The Spaniard's accident forced Race Control to hang out the red flag on lap 14. As laid down in the regulations the classification was that of lap 12. This meant that Mehri won from Costa and Vergne whose third place was good enough to give him the FFSA French Formula Renault 2.0 Championship ahead of Vautier.
Mehri was on pole again on Sunday. Caldarelli made the best start but Roberto got back in front almost immediately. Costa also squeezed past the Italian on the run in to Adelaide to slot into second place.
Mehri gradually drew away from his team-mate who had his hands full staying in front of the SG drivers led by Caldarelli. The latter never gave up and maintained the pressure on Costa. The positions changed on the second-last lap. Mehri's car was becoming increasingly difficult to handle due to damaged steering and both Costa and Caldarelli overtook him. On the last lap the Spaniard managed to hold off Ricciardo, Vautier, Vergne and Bastien Borget.
In the final corner Caldarelli made a do or die attack on Costa who wasn't expecting such a move, and the Italian won his second race of the season by a whisker. Mehri crossed the line in third place and took the lead in the Formula Renault West European Cup.
The results of the race are still provisional following a protest against Caldarelli's and Ricciardo's cars.
Roberto Mehri: "Everything was going well. I was leading the race, but I don't know what happened. My steering wheel suddenly wasn't straight any more and I could hardly turn right. I'm disappointed as I should have won that race, and victory was very important in the context of the overall classification. It'll all be decided in Barcelona and I hope I'll have no more problems with my car there."