SG Formula takes French title, to the echos of the Song of the Italians! For the third time in three weeks rival teams SG Formula and Epsilon Euskadi stood neck and neck, with one victory each. Italian driver Andrea Caldarelli delighted the La...
SG Formula takes French title, to the echos of the Song of the Italians!
For the third time in three weeks rival teams SG Formula and Epsilon Euskadi stood neck and neck, with one victory each. Italian driver Andrea Caldarelli delighted the La Rochelle outfit by snatching victory in the very last chicane in Sunday's race! We have to wait another week before we know if Daniel Ricciardo will become the first ever West European Cup winner in Formula Renault 2.0. In the meantime, the season's first trophy was awarded in Magny-Cours (in the Nièvre region of France) when Jean-Eric Vergne was crowned FFSA Champion of France. He takes over the mantle from last year's winner Jules Bianchi, also racing for SG Formula.
Team-manager Stephane Guerin still felt that the team ought to have done much better. "In pure performance terms our cars were up to scratch but our top drivers didn't deliver the goods during qualifying, that was the problem. We are more determined than ever as we head off to Barcelona, where both the West European Cup and the Eurocup will be decided."
SG had four drivers in the Top 6 on the Race 1 grid at Magny Cours and seven in the first twelve in Race 2. However, only Andrea Caldarelli managed to get on the front row. "Whatever happened to championship leader Daniel Ricciardo?" you might ask. After all, he has seven wins under his belt this season. Well, he did qualify 3rd for the Saturday but slipped back down to 6th place in the opening lap of Race 1. He might have salvaged the day when title rival Roberto Mehri made a spectacular exit from the race due to a wheel nut problem-- but the red flag saved the Spaniard's blushes when the result was declared on the basis of the positions at the end of the penultimate lap, which meant he got his win. Mehri was again in trouble on Sunday, this time with a loose steering rod. Despite the handicap, he pulled all the tricks in the book to hold off the SG Formula driver, who had to make do with 4th place. At the final count Daniel Ricciardo is just three points behind Mehri going into a mouth-watering final in Barcelona.
4th on Saturday, Andrea Caldarelli fluffed the start of Sunday's Race 2. He spent much of the race tailing Mehri and Costa. But when Mehri started having steering problems Andrea eventually found an opening and then went on to complete an incredible overtaking manoeuvre to take Costa on the last lap. The trap was set as the drivers braked in front of the Lycee and sprung going into the final chicane. This was the Toyota Driver Program driver's second win of the season.
Jean-Eric Vergne achieved one of his goals at Magny-Cours when third spot on the Race 1 podium saw him take the FFSA French Championship crown. The next day he came 7th, bang in the middle of a compact group of eight cars which included no fewer than six SG Formula cars. Tristan Vautier came 5th, as he had done on Saturday. Ramez Azzam drove his best race of the season on Sunday. After qualifying an excellent 10th he held his own in the chasing pack, finishing the race 8th, ahead of Anton Nebilitskyi who was delighted to be back in the points. Race 2 saw Miki Monras struggling with a sticky clutch which prevented him doing any better than 11th place.
Rendezvous next October 18-19 in Barcelona for the climax of the West European Cup and Eurocup seasons.