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Paul Ricard

World Series by Renault staged quite a show at Paul Ricard at the weekend, as 70,000 fans made light of some changeable weather over the two days to soak up some thrilling racing and enjoy everything the rugby-themed tented village had to offer. Formula One was also centre stage at the track, with Jean-Eric Vergne performing a demo drive on Saturday, Romain Grosjean doing likewise on Sunday and Jerome d’Ambrosio also taking a turn at the wheel. One of the high points on what was World Series by Renault’s second visit to Paul Ricard was the return of the great Alain Prost in two modern-day F1 cars, the Red Bull RB6 and the Lotus R30, while the new Clio Cup made its debut outing, with Renault COO Carlos Tavares in the driver’s seat.

Francoise Bohanne, South East Regional Director: “World Series by Renault’s second visit to Le Castellet has been a big success in terms of attendance, with 10,000 more people coming along than last year, despite the weather. It was great to hear the spectators giving some very positive feedback as they left the track. We organised more events and entertainment than last year. We set up an even bigger rugby village and more Renault shops, and Renault Design put in an appearance that went down very well. The Time Tunnel, a first for France, was also a success. All in all, it’s been great for us to see families having such a good day out with Renault. We were also delighted to see three Formula One cars on the track in the shape of the Lotus, the Red Bull and Ayrton Senna’s old car. For their part, the spectators have had the chance to see these cars being driven by Jean-Eric Vergne, Romain Grosjean and Jerome d’Ambrosio and then be able to meet them, which is even more amazing for the fans. It’s that kind of accessibility that makes these events a success. Finally, it was just fantastic to see Alain Prost behind the wheel of the RB6 and the R30. He’s a legend, just like Jean Ragnotti, and he’s an integral part of the history of Renault and motorsport itself. People always love to see and meet these guys. All the people we’ve met here today have been saying the same thing to us: ‘Come again next year’.”

Formula Renault 3.5 Series: Bianchi moves clear, Da Costa confirms class
The rain fell hard at Paul Ricard on Saturday, making for an exciting first Formula Renault 3.5 Series race of the weekend, in which Antonio Felix da Costa stayed out of trouble to make it two wins in his last two races. Jules Bianchi finished fourth to cut the gap on Robin Frijns, who finished a lowly seventh, by six points. “I felt I was in with a chance before the start but not at the end of the first lap, when I was running about tenth,” said the Portuguese. “The conditions on the track were terrible so I just calmed myself down and focused above all on not making a mistake.” A damp Sunday saw a change at the top of the standings as Jules Bianchi surged to victory to move five points clear of Robin Frijns, who could only finish ninth in the moist conditions. Antonio Felix da Costa maintained his fine run of form by taking second place ahead of Sam Bird, who kept his slim title hopes alive. “It’s nicer to be going to Barcelona in the lead. We know how reliable Robin Frijns is and he’ll fight all the way to the end. The stakes are high but I can’t let that get to me,” commented the Ferrari Driver Academy member.

Race 1: 1. A. Felix da Costa, POR (Arden Caterham); 2. N. Yelloly, GBR (Comtec Racing); 3. D. Move, RUS (P1 Motorsport)
Race 2: 1. J. Bianchi, FRA (Tech 1 Racing); 2. A. Felix da Costa, 3. S. Bird, GBR (ISR)

Overall standings: 1. J. Bianchi, 179 pts; 2. R. Frijns, 174; 3. S. Bird, 155

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0: As you were for Vandoorne and Kvyat
Led for most of the way in Race 1, Stoffel Vandoorne held his nerve to record his fourth win of the season from championship rival Daniil Kvyat, the Belgian extending his lead over the Russian by another seven points. Joining them on the podium for the very first time was Brazil’s Guilherme Silva. “I’m 18 points ahead of Daniil, which is neither a lot nor a little, and I need to keep it going,” said the RACB man. A day later and the deficit was back to 11 points as Daniil Kvyat hit back to take the chequered flag from Stoffel Vandoorne, who produced a storming drive after finding himself down in 12th at one stage. Taking third in Sunday’s race for the first podium of his career was Esteban Ocon. “It’s all going to go down to Barcelona, and I can’t afford to mess it up there,” said Daniil Kvyat afterwards. “Eleven points, that’s nothing.”

Race 1: 1. S. Vandoorne, BEL, (Kaufmann Racing); 2. D. Kvyat, RUS (Koiranen Motorsport); 3. G. Silva, BRA (Interwetten.com Racing)
Race 2: 1. D. Kvyat, 2. S. Vandoorne, 3. E. Ocon, FRA (Koiranen Motorsport)

Overall standings: 1. S. Vandoorne, 226 pts; 2. D. Kvyat, 215; 3. N. Nato, 96

Eurocup Megane Trophy: Costa takes command
Albert Costa made the most of some inclement weather on Saturday to storm to victory in the opening Eurocup Megane Trophy race and post his fourth successive win in the series. That put the Spaniard nine points clear in the standings ahead of Bas Schothorst (TDS Racing), who could only finish fourth. The Dutchman fared better on Sunday, taking second place on the podium behind the in-form Albert Costa, who made it six wins for the season to stretch his championship lead over his closest rival to 16 points. “Sixteen points is neither a big lead nor a small one and anything can still happen,” said the Spaniard. “I was under pressure when I was way behind Bas in the standings but I’m not now.” Meanwhile, Jean-Charles Miginiac secured the gentlemen driver title to become the first champion of the 2012 World Series by Renault season.

Race 1: 1. A. Costa, ESP (Oregon Team); 2. F. Thuner, SUI (Oregon Team); 3. N. Nalio, ITA (Oregon Team)
Race 2: 1. A. Costa, 2. B. Schothorst, NED (TDS Racing); 3. N. Nalio

Overall standings: 1. A. Costa, 226 pts; 2. B. Schothorst, 210; 3. K. Gilardoni, 142

Eurocup Clio: Tight at the top
Not for the first time, Eurocup Clio served up stacks of entertainment, with overtaking manoeuvres aplenty in Saturday’s race, won by 21 thousandths of a second by Oscar Nogues from team-mate Salvatore Arcarese and Rafael Villanueva. Victory took the 2011 Clio Cup Italy champion nine points clear of Marc Guillot in the overall standings. On Sunday it was Yoann Baziret’s turn to impress, the Frenchman wisely opting for slick tyres to clinch his maiden career win from Mike Verschuur (Equipe Verschuur) and Simone di Luca. With Marc Guillot holding a one-point lead over Oscar Nogues and Mike Verschuur just another point behind, it promises to be quite a finale in Spain in three weeks’ time.

Race 1: 1. O. Nogues, ESP (Rangoni Motorsport); 2. S. Arcarese, ROM (Rangoni Motorsport); 3. R. Villanueva, ESP (Milan Competition)
Race 2: 1. Y. Baziret, FRA (SetUp Racing); 2. M. Verschuur, NED (Equipe Verschuur); 3. S. di Luca, ITA (Rangoni Motorsport)

Overall standings: 1. M. Guillot, 91 pts; 2. O. Nogues, 90; 3. M. Verschuur, 89

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 02 October 2012
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