Another title for Albert Costa! 2009 will be remembered as Albert Costa's year! The Epsilon Euskadi team's Spanish driver became the second Formula Renault West European Cup Champion in Portugal after bagging the Formula Renault 2.0...
Another title for Albert Costa!
2009 will be remembered as Albert Costa's year! The Epsilon Euskadi team's Spanish driver became the second Formula Renault West European Cup Champion in Portugal after bagging the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup title a few weeks earlier. He racked up a double winning both Saturday's and Sunday's races. The Epsilon Euskadi squad won the teams' championship while Arthur Pic took the Rookie award.
The first qualifying session was held in the rain, and the weekend got off to a bad start for Jean-Eric Vergne. He suffered engine failure and qualified at the back of the field. Hugo Valente (SG Formula) took advantage of the conditions to score his first pole position. Only problem was that he set his time under yellow flags so his best lap was cancelled, and pole finally went to his SG Formula team-mate, Miki Monras.
The second-last race of the season started in beautiful weather. Monras hit the front and immediately came under pressure from Albert Costa. Jean-Eric Vergne was already up into fourth place behind Benjamin Lariche (Pole Services). The latter was handed a 10-second penalty after the race for jumping the start. On lap 2, Vergne forced his way past his fellow-countryman to take third place.
He then pulled in the leading duo with Monras still in front of Costa. Hugo Valente got by Lariche and behind them Nathanael Berthon (Epsilon Euskadi) and Arthur Pic were at it hammer and tongs. Costa knew that Vergne, his main rival for the title, was a major threat, and on lap 7 he fought his way past Monras.
The Frenchman realised that he had no choice but to go for bust, and on lap 12 he too passed the SG Formula driver. Then on the final lap, it all went wrong for Vergne who was slowed by a fuel pump problem and Monras retook second place. It was all over bar the shouting! Costa took the chequered flag to score his sixth victory of the season, and followed in the footsteps of Daniel Ricciardo, the first winner of the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup, to bag his second title in a few weeks. "It's fantastic," laughed the delighted Spaniard. "But it's not yet the moment to celebrate. I want to win again tomorrow to finish the season on a high note!"
The young 19-year-old racer from Barcelona took the last pole position of the 2009 championship the next morning ahead of Vergne and Arthur Pic. Costa made a perfect start and went on to score his seventh win in the West European Cup and his twelfth of the season in Formula Renault 2.0. It was an ideal finish to the year, and in 2010 he will race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series - still with Epsilon Euskadi.
Behind, the race was a pretty hectic one. Vergne fluffed his start and Monras shot past him. The Frenchman tried to retake second immediately, but he hit the kerb losing some of his car's aerodynamic elements and rejoined in last place. Monras held on to second followed by Arthur Pic and Berthon, and that was the order at the chequered flag. Behind them there was a no-holds-barred battle between Lariche, Valente, Miguel Otegui, Carlos Munoz and Vergne. Otegui finished fifth and Vergne eighth after Lariche and Valente collided and Munoz spun.
Thanks to this result Epsilon Euskadi won the teams' championship, and 2009 finished with a series of doughnuts by all the drivers in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Next season sees the arrival of the new Formula Renault 2.0 single-seater, but the current crop of Formula Renault 2.0 WECs will still race in the F.R 2.0 Challenge.
-credit: fr wec