Palmer inherits maiden Eurocup win as leaders collide

Will Palmer - Credit: Clement Luck / DPPI

Will Palmer took a remarkable maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 victory at Estoril as race leaders Lando Norris and Max Defourny collided at the first turn on the final lap.

The R-ace GP driver was a few seconds behind the battle for the lead between series champion Norris and his big rival Defourny, when, after battling hard on the previous couple of laps, the pair tangled.

Defourny had made a move on the inside heading down to turn one, but on a damp track following earlier rain, the two clashed, turning Norris around and breaking Defourny’s front suspension.

Palmer, who had run second earlier in the race before being deposed by R-ace GP team-mate Defourny, gratefully inherited the position and took the chequered flag for his first Eurocup triumph.

The Briton was joined on the podium by Swiss driver Hugo de Sadeleer, who climbed from thirteenth on the grid to finish second for Tech 1 Racing despite running for much of the race with an element missing from his front wing, while a surprise podium finish went to debutant wildcard racer Alexander Peroni of TS Corse.

Many drivers found the damp conditions tricky, with two early safety car periods to remove stricken cars from the sidelines, the first of which came on the opening lap when James Allen ended up in the gravel trap, while a few laps later the safety car was needed again as Aleksandr Vartanyan stopped at the side of the circuit.

Robert Shwartzman had finished third on the road, but a twenty-five second time penalty for passing behind the safety car relegated him down to thirteenth, promoting Peroni to his amazing debut podium, while fourth place despite a mid-race mistake went to Dorian Boccolacci of Tech 1 Racing, just ahead of Harrison Scott of AVF by Adrian Vallés, who moved up from seventeenth on the grid.

Another driver to spin was Sacha Fenestraz of Tech 1 Racing, but the chaos and penalties ahead of him promoted him back up to sixth ahead of Fortec MotorsportsBruno Baptista and R-ace GP’s Marcus Armstrong. The New Zealander was battling hard with team-mate’s Palmer and Defourny in the early stages but was delayed by the latter that fall as low as twelfth.

The top ten was completed by Jehan Daruvala of Josef Kaufmann Racing and Nikita Troitskiy of Fortec Motorsports, while with Peroni, Armstrong and Troitskiy all ineligible for points, Julien Falchero, Alexey Korneev and Shwartzman claimed the final points.

Ferdinand Habsburg was another driver to see a points finish disappear on the final lap when the Fortec Motorsports driver ended up in the gravel trap, while his team-mate Frank Bird saw the chequered flag in fifteenth despite a couple of off-track moments of his own.

Estoril Race 1 Result

114Will PalmerGBRR-Ace GP15 Laps
210Hugo de SadeleerSWITech 1 Racing+6.184
348Alexander PeroniAUSTS Corse+7.776
49Dorian BoccolacciFRATech 1 Racing+8.581
522Harrison ScottGBRAVF by Adrian Valles+9.483
611Sacha FenestrazSWITech 1 Racing+9.916
76Bruno BaptistaBRZFortec Motorsports+15.117
847Marcus ArmstrongNZLR-Ace GP+15.752
91Jehan DaruvalaINDJosef Kaufmann Racing+15.998
107Nikita TroitskiyRUSFortec Motorsports+16.616
1116Julien FalcheroFRAR-Ace GP+22.997
1217Alexey KorneevRUSJD Motorsport+30.982
133Robert ShwartzmanRUSJosef Kaufmann Racing+31.882
1445Guislain CordeelBELGMMA Formula Racing+40.477
1549Frank BirdGBRFortec Motorsports+49.513
162Lando NorrisGBRJosef Kaufmann Racing+1:10.422
1721Henrique ChavesPORAVF by Adrian Valles+1:40.065
18/RET33Max DefournyBELR-Ace GP+1 Lap
19/RET62Ferdinand HabsburgAUTFortec Motorsports+1 Lap
RET5Aleksandr VartanyanRUSFortec MotorsportsRetired
RET12Gabriel AubryFRATech 1 RacingRetired
RET18James AllenAUSJD MotorsportRetired