Win caps perfect day for Stoffel Vandoorne…
Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) recorded his third victory of the season to round off an ideal day in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0. The Belgian took advantage of the retirement of his closest title rival, Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport), to seize control of the championship and move 24 points clear of the Russian. Mikko Pakari (Fortec Motorsports) and Jordan King (Manor MP Motorsport) came second and third respectively to secure career-first podium finishes.
Stoffel Vandoorne kicked off the day by claiming his fifth consecutive pole position. In doing so, the RACB National Team driver set the fastest Formula Renault 2.0 lap on the circuit with a time of 1:42.411. The Belgian shared the front row with surprise package Mikko Pakari (Fortec Motorsports), with Jordan King (Manor MP Motorsports) and Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport) starting on the second row.
Stoffel Vandoorne got away perfectly to lead from Mikko Pakari. Behind them, however, Daniil Kvyat and Oliver Rowland enjoyed a less than ideal start, with the pair colliding before the end of the first lap. Russia’s Kvyat was forced to retire as a result, but his British rival was able to rejoin the race, albeit at the back of the field. The safety car then came out to allow the stewards to intervene. Stoffel Vandoorne led at this stage, followed by Mikko Pakari, Jordan King, Nyck de Vries (R-Ace GP) and Alex Riberas (Josef Kaufmann Racing).
The race order remained unchanged when the action resumed, with Stoffel Vandoorne upping the tempo and recording the fastest laps of the race to pull away from his rivals. With the race leader out of sight, Mikko Pakari turned his attention to containing Jordan King, Nyck de Vries and Alex Riberas. Further back, Norman Nato (RC Formula) headed up a second group, followed by Oscar Tunjo (Tech 1 Racing) and Melville McKee (Interwetten.com Racing).
Without ever really looking troubled, Stoffel Vandoorne cruised home to take his third win of the season. The victory, combined with Daniil Kvyat’s retirement, means he now holds a 24-point lead at the top of the championship. Mikko Pakari finished second for his first podium finish in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, an experience shared by Jordan King, who came third. Nyck de Vries and Alex Riberas completed the top five.
What they said:
Stoffel Vandoorne: “I knew after collective testing that we were capable of taking pole position. I succeeded and, what’s more, Mikko Pakari qualified ahead of Daniil Kvyat. After that, all I had to do was start well, as Daniil was going to have to take risks. During the race, I chose my pace and stayed consistent. Twenty-four points may seem like a lot, but you mustn’t forget that Daniil Kvyat had a 27-point lead before the Nürburgring, and I finished that weekend at the top of the championship. So it can all change very quickly.”
Mikko Pakari: “It’s my first year in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and I’m learning with every race. I’m very happy with my qualifying performance. I couldn’t get near Stoffel in the race, so my goal was to hold on to second place, which was important for the team and for me.”
Jordan King: “I had too much wheel spin at the start. So I found myself in a very lively group, and Kvyat and Rowland both overtook me. I moved back into third after their collision. After that I caught up with Mikko, but I never had even the slightest chance to overtake him. I’m just pleased with this first podium finish.”