Hugo de Sadeleer stormed to his maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 victory at Spa-Francorchamps, but Lando Norris’ podium finish moved him closer to the title on Saturday.
After Max Defourny was penalised for jumping the start, de Sadeleer swept into the lead having moved through from sixth on the grid, and was never threatened as the Tech 1 Racing driver won by 1.417 seconds from team-mate Dorian Boccolacci.
Defourny, who went into the race sitting second in the championship, jumped into the lead from third on the grid at the start, but only after moving well before the lights went out, and was rightfully handed a drive-through penalty that saw him fall out of contention not only for the win but also points.
De Sadeleer had worked his way up to second by this point, with his start enabling him to run third before a pass on the Kemmel Straight saw him pass Norris before inheriting the lead when Defourny took his trip through the pit lane.
Norris had already survived a first lap clash with fellow Briton Will Palmer, who broke his front wing against the rear tyre of the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver and fell to the back of the pack before retiring in the pits at the end of the lap.
Norris kept Boccolacci honest throughout the twelve lap race, but despite threatening to pass the Frenchman was forced to settle for third, but the fifteen points puts him 53.5 ahead of Defourny with three races of the season to go, and can clinch the title on Sunday.
Sacha Fenestraz made it three Tech 1 Racing drivers inside the top four, while James Allen drove one of his strongest drives of the season to take fifth for JD Motorsport, passing another Tech 1 driver in the form of Gabriel Aubry in the closing laps.
Ferdinand Habsburg was seventh for Fortec Motorsports ahead of team-mate Nikita Troitskiy, with Jehan Daruvala ninth for Josef Kaufmann Racing having found himself disposed in the closing laps by Troitskiy.
Julien Falchero was tenth for R-ace GP, while his team-mate Defourny could only recover to eleventh, which gave him a solitary point with wildcard racer Troitskiy eligible for points.
It was also a disappointing day for Harrison Scott, who failed to score points after a mid-race clash with Robert Shwartzman that resulted in the former taking to the pit lane for a new front wing and the latter retiring with a left rear puncture.
Spa-Francorchamps Race 1 Result
|1||10||Hugo de Sadeleer||SWI||Tech 1 Racing||27:57.292|
|2||9||Dorian Boccolacci||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+1.417|
|3||2||Lando Norris||GBR||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+2.204|
|4||11||Sacha Fenestraz||SWI||Tech 1 Racing||+5.367|
|5||18||James Allen||AUS||JD Motorsport||+7.333|
|6||12||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+8.492|
|7||62||Ferdinand Habsburg||AUT||Fortec Motorsports||+11.760|
|8||7||Nikita Troitskiy||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||+15.325|
|9||1||Jehan Daruvala||IND||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+16.774|
|10||16||Julien Falchero||FRA||R-Ace GP||+17.455|
|11||33||Max Defourny||BEL||R-Ace GP||+20.557|
|12||17||Alexey Korneev||RUS||JD Motorsport||+30.305|
|13||45||Guislain Cordeel||BEL||GMMA Formula Racing||+31.284|
|14||22||Harrison Scott||GBR||AVF by Adrian Valles||+2:08.278|
|15/RET||6||Bruno Baptista||BRZ||Fortec Motorsports||+2 Laps|
|16/RET||35||Alessandro Perullo||ITA||Technorace||+3 Laps|
|17/RET||21||Henrique Chaves||POR||AVF by Adrian Valles||+3 Laps|
|RET||3||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||Josef Kaufmann Racing||Retired|
|RET||14||Will Palmer||GBR||R-Ace GP||Retired|