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Formula Renault 2.0

Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) came up with the perfect riposte to Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing), as he matched the Belgian’s win in Race 1 at Paul Ricard with a victory of his own in the weekend’s second race. That leaves the two men separated by 11 points in the standings, the same gap that was between them when they arrived in the south of France. Behind them Esteban Ocon (Koiranen Motorsport) notched a career-first podium finish.

Stoffel Vandoorne was in a class of his own again in qualifying as he registered his sixth pole of the campaign. Appearing on the front row alongside the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 leader was his championship rival Daniil Kvyat, with French pair Esteban Ocon and Paul-Loup Chatin (Tech 1 Racing) on row two.

No sooner had the competitors taken their places on the grid than the rain started to come down, though all the drivers at the head of the field opted to stay on slicks, with the exception of Nyck de Vries (R-ace GP) and Pieter Schothorst (Josef Kaufmann Racing), the latter changing his tyres after the time limit and picking up a drive-through, as did Guilherme Silva (Interwetten.com Racing), Aurelien Panis (RC Formula) and Cristof von Grunigen (Epic Racing).

Daniil Kvyat got a jump on Stoffel Vandoorne at the lights, the Belgian them compounding his faltering start by spinning off as he went into the straight and dropping down to 12th. Up ahead, his Russian title rival led the way from Paul-Loup Chatin, Esteban Ocon, Nyck de Vries and Stefan Wackerbauer (Koiranen Motorsport).

Within two laps Stoffel Vandoorne was back up to eighth, a position he improved on by two more places the following lap. Daniil Kvyat continued to hold Paul-Loup Chatin at bay, while Melville McKee (Interwetten.com Racing) pulled up on third-placed Esteban Ocon after Nyck de Vries encountered problems on his wet-weather tyres.

Stefan Wackerbauer and Melville McKee were the next drivers to succumb to the surging Stoffel Vandoorne, with Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) also on the charge, the Briton clambering up to sixth from 21st after five laps.

Paul-Loup Chatin poured the pressure Daniil Kvyat as the race neared its conclusion only to make an error that allowed Esteban Ocon to close right up. The iRace Professional driver did not let the opportunity slip and nipped past his compatriot and into second. Both were powerless to hold off Stoffel Vandoorne, however, the Belgian finding a way past Paul-Loup Chatin on lap nine and then accounting for Esteban Ocon with two laps to go.

There was no catching Daniil Kvyat, though, as the Russian made it seven wins for the year. Stoffel Vandoorne took second and Esteban Ocon secured the first top-three finish of his career, with Paul-Loup Chatin and William Vermont (Arta Engineering) completing the top five. Victory moved Daniil Kvyat back to within 11 points of Stoffel Vandoorne, the same advantage the Belgian had held going into the French leg of the World Series by Renault season.

What they said:

Daniil Kvyat: “That worked out well for me today. I moved into the lead at the start and then they told me Stoffel had made a mistake. Then I had to hold off Paul-Loup Chatin until he also made an error. After that I just concentrated on holding my lead. It’s all going to go down to Barcelona, and I can’t afford to mess it up there. Eleven points, that’s nothing.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “I had a bad start and then I spun, which is the worst thing you can possibly do. But then I went and had what I think is the best race of my career. I got past a lot of drivers and I was quicker than Daniil, though there was point in taking any silly risks at the end. It’s the best result I could have got.”

Esteban Ocon: “This is my first podium in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. I would have liked to have done better but the track conditions didn’t make for any easy race. All the same, I’m happy with the result.”

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 30 September 2012
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