Albert Costa head and shoulders above his rivals! Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) dominated the streets of Pau leaving his rivals no chance. The Spaniard set two poles and scored two victories, his first two in the Formula Renault 2.0 West...
Albert Costa head and shoulders above his rivals!
Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) dominated the streets of Pau leaving his rivals no chance. The Spaniard set two poles and scored two victories, his first two in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Just a stone's throw away from the Basque country, the Epsilon Euskadi team racked up two triples, which have left the championship wide open.
Albert Costa tamed the Pau circuit very quickly and dominated qualifying. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 14.798s, being the only driver to break the 1m 15s barrier. By setting the second-quickest time he took pole for the second race as well. Second was bitterly disputed by Julien Abelli (SG Drivers Project), Nathanael Berthon, Arthur Pic (SG Formula) and Carlos Munoz (Epsilon Euskadi) who shone by besting his rivals! He shared the front row with Costa in both races over the weekend. Jean-Eric Vergne, who had a shunt in free practice, was unable to fight his corner due to electrical problems. He ended up in thirteenth place for both rounds.
Costa made a perfect start from pole and took the lead from his team-mates Munoz and Berthon who had taken advantage of Pic fluffing his getaway. The SG driver found himself in fourth place being monstered by Abelli. The cars tagged each other and Pic kissed the guardrail ruining his race.
Up front, Costa drew away from Munoz and Berthon who had his hands full fighting off Abelli, Miki Monras and Luciano Bacheta (Epsilon Sport). Vergne began his comeback from his thirteenth place on the grid. He caught Kevin Breysse (SG Drivers Project) and Hugo Valante (SG Formula) battling for eighth place. Vergne took advanatge of a mistake by Breysse at the Lycee hairpin to split the two drivers. But a lap later his car suddenly ground to a halt, and he retired at the start of the straight bringing out the safety car. The restart saw no changes and Costa won from his team-mates Munoz and Berthon.
On Sunday, Costa made another perfect start and shot into the lead from Munoz and Berthon. The Frenchman did all he could to fight off the attacks of Abelli who was determined to break the Epsilon Euskadi cars' stranglehold on the first three places. Bacheta in fifth spot was under threat from Pic and Monras. On lap 4, Monras got past Pic for sixth place on the inside at the station.
While Costa and Munoz pulled away Berthon was holding up Abelli, Bacheta, Monras and Pic. At half-distance Benjamin Lariche (Pole Services) hit the guardrail after Foch bringing out the safety car. The race restarted in the same order. Costa and Munoz pulled away while Berthon had to cope with Abelli who was crawling all over him. The SG Project driver was looking for the gap and although Julien was quicker than Berthon he was unable to find a way past. And that was how they finished, with Costa winning again from Munoz, Berthon and Abelli.
Costa's first time out in Pau was crowned by two victories, and for Epsilon Euskadi its debut in the city of King Henri IV was rewarded by two triples. "The two races were fantastic," exulted a delighted Costa. "We've worked hard for this result and it puts us right back in the title chase. There's nothing more exciting than fighting for the championship. We want to win the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. We'll do everything we can to achieve this aim." Thanks to his perfect weekend, Costa leaves Pau leading the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup with three points in hand over Jean-Eric Vergne.
Costa's team-mates shared his delight. " I needed those podiums for my confidence," smiled Munoz. "In each of the two races I paid attention to make sure I didn't make any mistakes, and above all not to collide with Albert. It's great to finish on the podium twice!" Berthon who scored a brace of third places drove his heart out over the weekend. He was the highest-placed Frenchman on two occasions giving him the lead in the FFSA Formula Renault 2.0 Championship.
Overall classification: 1. Costa 63 pts -- 2. Vergne 60 pts -- 3. Abelli 53 pts -- 4. Monras 52 pts -- 5. Berthon 41 pts -- 6. Pic 32 pts -- 7. Munoz 28 pts -- 8. Azzam 22 pts -- 9. Breysse 14 pts -- 10. Larcihe 12 pts
-credit: fr wec