Defourny Inherits Paul Ricard Victory after Fenestraz/Shwartzman Clash

by Paul Hensby

Max Defourny inherited his first victory of the 2017 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series season at Paul Ricard after on-track winner Robert Shwartzman was handed a post-race drive-through penalty for causing a collision with Sacha Fenestraz that ended with the French-Argentine driver upside down.

Fenestraz had led for the whole race, but had found the gap to his rivals cut to nothing when a late race safety car was deployed, caused when Najiy Razak and Julia Pankiewicz collided at the chicane mid-way down the Mistral Straight, with the latter making an optimistic move on the former that pitched the Malaysian into a spin with a broken suspension.

The marshals did a great job to clear the cars away in time to allow a one-lap shootout, and it was this one lap that defined the race, with Shwartzman attacking Fenestraz in the same place that Razak and Pankiewicz came to blows.

Shwartzman’s move on his championship rival looked optimistic at best, and it ended up with the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver rolling onto his roll hoop and coming to rest upside down. He was able to get out of the car unaided, but it was his first no-score since retiring from race two at Silverstone back in May.

The post-race penalty for Shwartzman saw the R-ace GP driver relegated him from the top step of the podium all the way down to twenty-third!

Defourny, who had run second early on before losing out to team-mate Shwartzman, ultimately inherited the win, his first of a year where he was expected to be the man to beat for the championship, but the Belgian’s win, coupled with the no-scores for both Shwartzman and Fenestraz, puts him firmly back into contention.

Yifei Ye secured his best result of the season with second place for Josef Kaufmann Racing, while Will Palmer took the final spot on the podium for R-ace GP to close the gap on Fenestraz at the head of the championship to just fourteen points.

Richard Verschoor broke a run of seven races without scoring with a seasons best fourth place for MP Motorsport ahead of fellow rookie Max Fewtrell of Tech 1 Racing, while wild card entrant Charles Milesi was an excellent sixth for R-ace GP, even though he was not eligible for points.

Neil Verhagen was seventh for MP Motorsport ahead of Aleksandr Vartanyan of JD Motorsport, while Thomas Randle, Zane Goddard and Jarno Opmeer completed the points scorers.

There was disappointment for Gabriel Aubry and Daniel Ticktum, with the duo clashing at the final corner at the end of lap eight, with the latter retiring while the former dropped out of a points-paying position to fifteenth at the chequered flag.

Circuit Paul Ricard Race 1 Result

19Max DefournyBELR-ace GP28:41.132s
21Yifei YeCHNJosef Kaufmann Racing+0.439s
38Will PalmerGBRR-ace GP+1.066s
429Richard VerschoorNEDMP Motorsport+1.663s
57Max FewtrellGBRTech 1 Racing+2.379s
640Charles MilesiFRAR-ace GP+2.906s
731Neil VerhagenUSAMP Motorsport+3.647s
823Aleksandr VartanyanRUSJD Motorsport+3.886s
916Thomas RandleAUSAVF by Adrian Valles+4.050s
1093Zane GoddardAUSArden Motorsport+4.463s
1130Jarno OpmeerNEDMP Motorsport+4.861s
1212Raul GuzmanMEXR-ace GP+6.554s
135Thomas MaxwellAUSTech 1 Racing+6.713s
1442Michael BenyahiaMORR-ace GP+6.946s
154Gabriel AubryFRATech 1 Racing+7.531s
166Thomas NeubauerFRATech 1 Racing+8.217s
1741Theo CoicaudFRAR-ace GP+8.649s
182Luis LeedsAUSJosef Kaufmann Racing+9.325s
1914Xavier LloverasESPAVF by Adrian Valles+9.851s
2022Jean Baptiste SimmenauerFRAJD Motorsport+10.716s
2121Sun Yue YangCHNJD Motorsport+10.926s
2219Frank BirdGBRFortec Motorsports+21.739s
2310Robert ShwartzmanRUSR-ace GP+24.584s
24/RET11Sacha FenestrazFRAJosef Kaufmann Racing+1 Lap
25/RET17Alex PeroniAUSFortec Motorsports+1 Lap
RET20Najiy Ayyad bin Abd RazakMALFortec MotorsportsRetired
RET25Julia PankiewiczPOLMark Burdett MotorsportRetired
RET33Daniel TicktumGBRArden MotorsportRetired
RET13Henrique ChavesPORAVF by Adrian VallesRetired
RET26Presley MartonoINOMark Burdett MotorsportRetired
RET15Axel MatusMEXAVF by Adrian VallesRetired
DNS18Aleksey KorneevRUSFortec MotorsportsDid Not Start

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