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Formula Renault 2.0

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) made his intentions for the weekend perfectly clear by going fastest in Friday’s collective testing. Meanwhile, technical problems denied Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) valuable time track time, with both Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and home favourite Norman Nato (RC Formula) taking the chance to shine.

The drivers in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 field were back on fairly familiar ground at Paul Ricard, having tested there in the winter, when Stoffel Vandoorne was the fastest man on day one and his championship rival Daniil Kvyat took the honours on day two.

Making their returns at this the sixth round of the season are the USA’s Gustavo Menezes (Fortec Motorsports), who appeared in the category last year, and Estonia’s Hans Villemi (Koiranen Motorsport), who was injured at the start of the campaign at Motorland Aragon.

The ongoing battle between Stoffel Vandoorne and Daniil Kvyat was rejoined right at the start of the day, as the two men swapped first place. Norman Nato (RC Formula) and Esteban Ocon (Koiranen Motorsport) then threw their hats into the ring, with the Frenchman leaving it late to post the fastest time of the morning in 2:06.362, the man from Cannes leading the way from Estabon Ocon, Daniil Kvyat and Stoffel Vandoorne.

The pace hotted up in the afternoon, though the session began with Esteban Ocon and Javier Tarancon (RC Formula) coming together. Nyck de Vries (R-ace GP) set the standard early on before team-mate Pierre Gasly (R-ace GP) stepped things up, the two R-ace GP drivers taking turns at the top of the timesheet without eclipsing Norman Nato’s morning benchmark.

Changes would come with the arrival of the new tyres at the end of the session. Clocking a time of 2:05.748, Stoffel Vandoorne took the lead ahead of Norman Nato and Melville McKee (Interwetten.com Racing), and there was yet more movement among the leaders in the closing seconds, as Alex Riberas nosed into second, in front of Mikko Pakari (Fortec Motorsports), Nyck de Vries and Norman Nato. Stoffel Vandoorne remained out front, however, while Daniil Kvyat experienced a frustrating afternoon, the Russian putting in only four laps following a fuel pump glitch.

What they said

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s always important to start the weekend well and show that you mean business. The championship’s at stake from today on so you have to get ahead and impress. This is not really my favourite track so I need to work even harder and keep it going.”

Norman Nato: “The track was dirty in the opening session and the wind was pretty strong on the straight, which is why the times weren’t that amazing. It was good to get into a good rhythm, though. The second session went pretty well too. I’m driving at home but I need to forget about that and look at this as just another weekend. I need to get good results, not just here but everywhere.”

Esteban Ocon: “It's nice when you know the track. I can get straight down to work without having to find out what the layout is, even though I tend to memorise them pretty quickly anyway. I put on some new tyres at the end of the first session and that showed in the standings. I didn’t go out in the afternoon because Javier Tarancon shunted me at the start of the session. It’s a shame to lose track time because every kilometre counts.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 28 September 2012
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