Nürburgring: one podium and a bug haul of points
Race after race Pierre Gasly and Nyck de Vries, currently fifth and sixth in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, are proving that they’re the two best rookies of the 2012 season, while Andréa Pizzitola consolidates his place in the NEC and is only four points behind the driver in the no. 2 spot.
A week before the Nürburgring round of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup, the R-Ace GP team was already at the circuit for the German round of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. The three drivers shone on the DTM layout, which is shorter than the one used for the Eurocup, and took it in turns to climb up onto the podium. Pierre Gasly came third in the first race, while Nyck de Vries and Andréa Pizzitola finished second and third in race 2 giving R-Ace GP its first double podium of the season.
Thus the whole team and its drivers were already well prepared and arrived in Germany full of confidence for the Eurocup round. The orders were clear: they had already proved that they had the speed and the aim was to turn it into results on the race track.
Thibaut de Mérindol : “Since the start of the season, Pierre, Andréa and Nyck have shown their potential in terms of performance so we’re now working on their consistency and reliability. Their current objective is to score points in both the weekend’s races. We also have to be in the top five on a regular basis, match the pace of the leaders, and gather experience among the front-runners to master all those little details that make up a good race. Then it’ll be time to push harder with the aim of breaking our duck and scoring our first victory.”
“During the NEC meeting last weekend our three drivers scored a big haul of points in each race. In the Eurocup even if they haven’t managed to finish each race in the points, they’ve made good progress by scoring a total of 29 points making R-Ace GP the second-best team at the Nürburging despite the execrable weather conditions.”
Pierre Gasly scored a podium at Spa, followed this up with another at the Nürburging in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup NEC, and his aim was to continue in the same vein this weekend. On Saturday when he went out to do five quick laps he was caught out by a red flag at the end of the session. He ended up in the middle of the pack and lost his front wing when he was tagged by another car. He pitted to have it replaced and when the FFSA Equipe de France driver rejoined he was lapping in the same times as the leaders.
He showed his ability to hit back on Sunday after spending time analyzing data with his engineer. Gasly qualified third and bolted on slicks even though the track was still damp at the start. Slicks were the right option as proved after a couple of tricky laps. He crossed the line in third place and his second podium has catapulted him up into fifth place in the championship ratings.
He was in the same group as Pierre Gasly in the first qualifying session and was also caught out by the red flag. He got bogged down in the mid-field battle and after a solid race he saw the flag in thirteenth place.
On Sunday, he messed up his qualifying session, but the FFSA Equipe de France driver put on a great performance in the race. He started from twenty-seventh spot on slicks like his team-mates and managed to avoid all the traps as cars were on slicks and wet rubber causing all sorts of chaos. He drove an intelligent steady race and finished ninth scoring his first point of the season in the FR 2.0 Eurocup.
NYCK DE VRIES
Nyck de Vries’s weekend got off to a flying start as in qualifying he finished second only 8/100s off the quickest time. His mission for the race was to be among the front-runners basing his speed on that of the leaders. He finished fourth only four seconds behind the leader fulfilling what was expected of him scoring points, and above all gathering precious experience.
On Sunday despite rain perturbing the end of the session he qualified third in his group demonstrating his consistency in this very specific exercise. He lined up on the right-hand side of the track (the wettest) for the start and was overwhelmed by the field after fluffing his start. Another driver ran into the back of his car and his race was over before the end of lap one.