R-ace GP racks up the pole positions!
The second World Series by Renault meeting took place last weekend on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. On one of the most demanding tracks in the world the R-ace GP team demonstrated its high level of performance by clinching the two pole positions in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. Pierre Gasly finished on the podium on Saturday putting him among the front-runners in the overall classification.
R-ace GP arrived in the Belgian Ardennes determined to confirm the potential the team had shown the previous weeks in the FR 2.NEC at Hockenheim, the opening round of the WSR in Motorland Aragon and the collective test session in Navarra (all in less than a month).
Pierre Gasly and Andréa Pizzitola gave the team its first pole positions in the Formula 2.0 Eurocup on a circuit on which both drivers had already raced. Gasly was also battling with the title contenders during the first race and scored his first podium in the championship. Nyck de Vries, a Spa rookie, had a more difficult weekend, but the experience he gathered will be very useful to him in the events to come.
Thibaut de Mérindol: “After showing a good level of performance at Motorland with two of our drivers qualifying on the front rows, we confirmed our potential at Spa. Setting a pole in the dry and another in the wet shows that we were able to master the difficult weather conditions, and that’s very encouraging for the future. The only hiccup is that we didn’t quite manage to make the most of this performance in the races, mainly because of fluffed starts. Even if we could have hoped for better things by starting from pole I’m satisfied with Pierre’s podium: he drove an intelligent race and was on the pace of the top guys in the championship. Although our drivers made mistakes, it should be remembered that they’re in their first season in Formula Renault unlike their direct rivals. Our job as a team is to back them up in moments like these. Even if they’re disappointed at the time, we’re working with them to gain insights and cross new hurdles together in their apprenticeship. We’re going to take advantage of the next two weeks to get down to the nitty gritty in the workshops, fine-tune the details and tackle the Nürburgring with the aim of being even quicker.”
The Equipe de France FFSA driver confirmed his qualifying skills by setting pole for the first race. At the start Pierre was overtaken by Norman Nato and Stoffel Vandoorne, but he hung on in there and stuck to the leaders’ gearboxes waiting for the slightest opportunity to pounce. Despite being under threat from Daniil Kvyat in the closing laps he held on to his third place.
Sunday was very different. He qualified at the back of the grid as he was unable to get in a clean lap between the interruptions of the session by the red flag. He was fighting in the mid field in pouring rain and finished in twenty-fifth place.
It just needed that little bit extra and Andréa’s weekend would have been completely different. The Frenchman set the fastest time in his group in qualifying, but Race Control cancelled it after an error by a marshal who showed the yellow flag to other drivers. He was put back from first to eighth without having made the slightest mistake. Then he got bogged down in traffic in the first race, and his hopes of scoring points were dashed when another car made a mistake in front of him.
The Equipe de France FFSA driver took his revenge the next day. He was dominant in the rain and started by clinching pole. Daniil Kvyat attacked him at the start and Pizzitola spun at the top of the Raidillon. He restarted in the middle of the squabbling Eurocup pack finishing thirteenth.
NYCK DE VRIES
The double kart world champion had a difficult time on his maiden outing on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. He went off in Friday’s practice and he tacked qualifying not really feeling at home on a track on which a driver has to get into the groove. Nyck qualified in twenty-third place and retired after a collision on lap 9.
The Dutchman didn’t have much better luck on Sunday. He was eighteenth on the grid and saw the flag in sixteenth place.