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Formula Renault 2.0

No sooner had Albert Costa (Epic Racing) notched his first Formula Renault 3.5 Series win, than his 17-year-old compatriot Alex Riberas (Epic Racing) followed suit in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, the young Spaniard ending the campaign on a high after beating Carlos Sainz Jr. (Koiranen Motorsport) and Norman Nato (R-Ace Grand Prix) to the line.

Riberas took his maiden pole in the competition by just one thousandth of a second from Nato and the Koiranen Motorsport tandem of Daniil Kvyat and Sainz Jr.

Making a flawless start, Riberas went through turn one in the lead, while Nato successfully held off the Red Bull Junior Team duo behind him, with Robin Frijns (Josef Kaufmann Racing) completing the top five on lap one.

Nato was powerless to resist Sainz Jr. on lap three, however, the Spaniard passing him at the end of the pit straight and setting off in pursuit of Riberas. Kvyat then retired after pulling into the pits with variable camshaft phasing problems.

While Riberas and Sainz Jr fought it out, with never more than a second between them, Nato and Frijns crept back into contention for the race win. Running fifth was Javier Tarancon (Tech 1 Racing), ahead of a chasing pack formed by Stoffel Vandoorne (KTR), Will Stevens (Forte Motorsports), Timmy Hansen (Interwetten.com Junior Team) and Paul-Loup Chatin (Tech 1 Racing).

Nato sought to take advantage as the tussle between Riberas and Sainz Jr intensified, and Tarancon closed right up on Frijns, the Tech 1 Racing man exploiting an opening on the long pit straight on lap 11 to move into fourth.

The leading quartet remained unchanged all the way to the chequered flag, Riberas holding off Sainz Jr’s incessant attacks to close out his first ever Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 win, and Nato taking third.

What they said:

Alex Riberas: “It’s an epic day for us. To get my first win at home is something I’ll never forget and I wanted the warm-down lap to go on forever. I’m dedicating this win to Joan Villadelprat, who persuaded me to make my debut last year and who’s taught me everything. I’ve got several options open for next year. I was focusing 100% on the last weekend of the season and now we’re going to start work on 2012.”

Carlos Sainz Jr: “Alex is a very good friend of mine but there’s no such thing as friendship when you’re out on the track. I did all I could to get past him but he deserved the win. Well done to him and his team. On a personal note I won the Formula Renault NEC and came second here in the Eurocup so it’s been a good season. I’ve now got a new adventure ahead of me in F3. I’ll be driving in the International British F3 Series with Carlin in a totally new car, and prior to that there’s the race in Macau. There won’t be any pressure on me there because I’ll be a rookie.”

Norman Nato: “I’ve made progress throughout the season. We were in the leading bunch this weekend and to finish with a podium placing is just perfect. The season’s over now, but just like everyone else negotiations are getting under way. I need to find a budget, choose the right competition and the right team. There’s a whole new season starting tonight.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 09 October 2011
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