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Led for most of the way, Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) held his cool to post his fourth win of the season at Paul Ricard and extend his lead in the standings to seven points from Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport), who took second. The two championship adversaries were joined on the podium for the first time by Guilherme Silva (Interwetten.com Racing).

On a damp but drying track it was Stoffel Vandoorne who posted the fastest qualifying time in Group A, while Javier Tarancon (RC Formula) was quickest in Group B to claim his maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 pole. The duo lined up on the front row of the grid ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Ed Jones (Fortec Motorsports).

Though Javier Tarancon was quickest away, the Spaniard soon had Stoffel Vandoorne and Daniil Kvyat breathing down his neck. Steijn Schothorst (Manor MP Motorsport) also put a good first lap in, moving into fourth ahead of Guilherme Silva, Ed Jones and Oscar Tunjo (Tech 1 Racing).

Stoffel Vandoorne heaped the pressure on Javier Tarancon but the race leader held firm, and there was no shortage of tension as Steijn Schothorst and Guilherme Silva battled it out, with the Brazilian doing everything he could in a bid to get past the Dutchman. Behind them, Oscar Tunjo got the better of Ed Jones to move into sixth, and Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) made a move of his own to take ninth from Andrea Pizzitola (R-ace GP).

Stoffel Vandoorne launched another concerted attack on Javier Tarancon with ten minutes remaining and got his reward when the Spaniard ran wide and cut a chicane, a manoeuvre that kept him ahead of his pursuer but ultimately cost him a ten-second penalty for gaining an advantage by going off the track. That left Stoffel Vandoorne in the lead with just five minutes remaining, the Dutch holding on to his advantage all the way to the line.

Javier Tarancon’s penalty left Steijn Schothorst, Oscar Tunjo and Guilherme Silva to battle it out for third, an intense duel that was eventually won by the Brazilian, who clinched his first podium finish behind Daniil Kvyat, with Oscar Tunjo taking fourth and Oliver Rowland fifth.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s fourth victory of the year extended his lead over the Russian to 18 points, the same cushion Robin Frijns enjoys over Jules Bianchi in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.

What they said:

Stoffel Vandoorne: “The start didn’t go too badly but you had to be careful because there were still a lot of puddles around. I was faster than Tarancon and he went wide on one of my attacks. The important thing for me was to win. I’m 18 points ahead of Daniil, which is neither a lot nor a little, and I need to keep it going.”

Daniil Kvyat: “The conditions made it a bit of a frustrating race. You couldn’t really overtake as there was just the one dry line. I absolutely had to finish in the points and when my race engineer told me about Javier’s penalty, I decided to settle for what I had. It’s the first time this season that I’ve finished on the podium without winning.”

Guilherme Silva: “It was an eventful and competitive race and I’m delighted to come away with my first podium finish. My objective is to come back for a second season in the category next year.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 29 September 2012
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