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Formula Renault 2.0

RC Formula’s Norman Nato continued his strong run of form by leading Race 1 from start to finish. The Frenchman clinched his maiden win in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, just a few weeks after securing his first victories in the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps. The battle for second place between Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Pierre Gasly (R-Ace GP) raged to the end, with Vandoorne ultimately getting the better of Gasly.

After a hard-fought qualifying session, Pierre Gasly scored the first pole position of his career in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. He duly lined up for the first race on pole ahead of Norman Nato, with Stoffen Vandoorne and Timmy Hansen Interwetten.com Racing making up the second row.

Pierre Gasly did not react perfectly as the lights went out, and Norman Nato and Stoffel Vandoorne took full advantage. Nato, driving for RC Formula, took control of the race, with Stoffel Vandoorne, Timmy Hansen and Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufmann Racing) behind him. Riberas, for his part, lost fifth place to Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) during the second lap. Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), meanwhile, was one of the drivers to suffer in the action-packed early stages, slipping from seventh down to 12th.

Out in front, Norman Nato, Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Gasly began to pull away from the chasing pack. Timmy Hansen was left to fend off the resurgent Daniil Kvyat, who recorded the fastest laps of the race to claw back his deficit.

The safety car then came out on lap four after a collision between Steijn Schothorst (Manor MP Motorsport), Josh Hill (Fortec Motorsports) and Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports), cancelling out the advantage of the leading trio. At the restart, the order at the front remained unchanged. Meanwhile in the chasing pack, Ed Jones (Fortec Motorsports) was pushing for an opportunity to pass Alex Riberas into sixth place, but the Spaniard held firm. Stefan Wackerbauer (Koiranen Motorsport) then tried to take advantage of the situation by attacking Jones at the braking zone at Les Combes.

The final laps were fast and furious, with Pierre Gasly snapping at the heels of Stoffel Vandoorne. But the Belgian fought hard to defend his position, despite the daring efforts of the chasing Frenchman. Norman Nato, meanwhile, took advantage and extended his lead. Behind him, Daniil Kvyat moved up into fourth place at the expense of Timmy Hansen. Swedish driver Hansen later received a ten-second penalty after the race for a false start, as did Ed Jones.

At the end of an exciting and keenly contested race, Norman Nato took the chequered flag for his – and RC Formula’s – maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 victory. Stoffel Vandoorne and Pierre Galsy completed the top three, with Galsy making the podium for the first time. By finishing fourth, Daniil Kvyat maintains his lead at the top of the overall standings with a 10-point advantage over Norman Nato.

What they said:

Norman Nato: “It wasn’t easy, as Stoffel and Pierre stayed in contact with me for the whole race. It’s my first victory in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, so it’s obviously an important moment. I need to do just as well tomorrow, as it would be perfect for the championship.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “It’s a good result! I put the necessary pressure on Norman but I made the break too soon, so I couldn’t do anything. I now need to win tomorrow! That’s important for me.”

Pierre Gasly: “It’s my first podium in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, after claiming my first pole. After only three races, that’s very positive. I need to gain more experience in order to improve.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 02 June 2012
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