Sacha Fenestraz edged closer to the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title as he took a superb victory in the third and final race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Josef Kaufmann Racing driver did everything he needed to do on Sunday morning in the Ardennes Forest, but Will Palmer remains in contention after finishing a close second.
Fenestraz retained the lead from pole position, with Palmer jumping ahead of Robert Shwartzman as those in the pack following went two or three cars wide down the Kemmel Straight, but everyone survived the initial run, only for Charles Milesi to lose control of his R-ace GP car at the exit of turn eleven.
The Frenchman ran across the kerbs on the exit of the corner and spun back across the track, collecting the innocent Luis Leeds, with both drivers then hitting the wall on the other side of the circuit, with the safety car being deployed so to recover the heavily damaged cars.
Fenestraz retained the lead at the restart, but was unable to shake off Palmer, but the Briton was not able to get close enough throughout the remainder of the race to attack for the win, and as such will head into the season finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the end of October with a 52.5 point deficit with only 75 points available.
The final podium spot looked to have gone to Renault Sport Academy star Max Fewtrell after the Tech 1 Racing driver got the better of R-ace GP’s Max Defourny, but a post-race ten-second time penalty for a jump start relegated him to ninth, allowing the Belgian to score his second podium of the weekend.
Race two winner Gabriel Aubry ended up fourth for Tech 1 Racing ahead of MP Motorsport duo Neil Verhagen and Jarno Opmeer, with Daniel Ticktum getting the better of fellow rookie Yifei Ye for what ultimately turned out to be seventh position.
Alex Peroni enjoyed a close tussle with fellow Australian Thomas Randle for the final point, although their battle is under investigation from the stewards, with the Fortec Motorsports driver hoping no action is taken so he can score his first point since the round in Monaco back in May.
Randle also fell behind Aleksandr Vartanyan before the chequered flag as the pace of the AVF by Adrian Vallés driver appeared to disappear, but he was able to stay ahead of his countrymen Thomas Maxwell and Zane Goddard until the chequered flag.
Shwartzman’s hopes of taking the title ended in retirement after making contact with Richard Verschoor at the end of the fourth lap as the duo battled for fifth position, with both drivers retiring with damage. It concludes another disappointing weekend for the Russian, who has only score one half-points second place in the last five races to drop from second place in the championship to fourth.
UPDATE: Peroni was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty after stewards deemed he went off track and gained an advantage. The Australian has lost the final point, with Vartanyan inheriting it for JD Motorsport.
Northern European Cup
The quintet fighting for honours in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup were reduced to four early on following Milesi’s demise, but after his race two retirement, Gilles Magnus was able to claim victory, despite finishing eighteenth on the road.
The Belgian had been given clearance to race by medical officials pre-race following his high speed crash at Raidillon on Saturday afternoon, and was untroubled by his rivals to move five points clear of R-ace GP team-mate Michael Benyahia in the championship standings with only the double header at the Hockenheimring to come in two weeks time.
Benyahia ended second on Sunday, while another R-ace GP racer, Theo Coicaud, completed the podium after coming out on top of a battle with BM Racing Team’s Bartlomiej Mirecki.
Spa-Francorchamps Race 3 Result
|1||11||Sacha Fenestraz||FRA||Josef Kaufmann Racing||11 Laps|
|2||8||Will Palmer||GBR||R-ace GP||+0.847s|
|3||9||Max Defourny||BEL||R-ace GP||+5.972s|
|4||4||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+7.752s|
|5||31||Neil Verhagen||USA||MP Motorsport||+10.515s|
|6||30||Jarno Opmeer||NED||MP Motorsport||+12.215s|
|7||33||Daniel Ticktum||GBR||Arden Motorsport||+12.698s|
|8||1||Yifei Ye||CHN||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+13.381s|
|9||7||Max Fewtrell||GBR||Tech 1 Racing||+15.011s|
|10||17||Alex Peroni||AUS||Fortec Motorsports||+16.881s|
|11||23||Aleksandr Vartanyan||RUS||JD Motorsport||+18.397s|
|12||16||Thomas Randle||AUS||AVF by Adrian Valles||+19.988s|
|13||5||Thomas Maxwell||AUS||Tech 1 Racing||+20.506s|
|14||93||Zane Goddard||AUS||Arden Motorsport||+21.254s|
|15||13||Henrique Chaves||POR||AVF by Adrian Valles||+23.170s|
|16||12||Raul Guzman||MEX||R-ace GP||+24.285s|
|17||26||Presley Martono||INO||Mark Burdett Motorsport||+24.456s|
|18||44||Gilles Magnus||BEL||R-ace GP||+25.944s|
|19||15||Axel Matus||MEX||AVF by Adrian Valles||+28.068s|
|20||19||Frank Bird||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||+28.965s|
|21||18||Aleksey Korneev||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||+31.913s|
|22||14||Xavier Lloveras||ESP||AVF by Adrian Valles||+32.412s|
|23||42||Michael Benyahia||MOR||R-ace GP||+33.162s|
|24||22||Jean Baptiste Simmenauer||FRA||JD Motorsport||+33.172s|
|25||41||Theo Coicaud||FRA||R-ace GP||+33.766s|
|26||96||Bartlomiej Mirecki||POL||BM Racing Team||+34.294s|
|27||20||Najiy Ayyad bin Abd Razak||MAL||Fortec Motorsports||+35.174s|
|28||25||Julia Pankiewicz||POL||Mark Burdett Motorsport||+41.087s|
|29/RET||6||Thomas Neubauer||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+1 Lap|
|RET||21||Sun Yue Yang||CHN||JD Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||10||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||R-ace GP||Retired|
|RET||29||Richard Verschoor||NED||MP Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||40||Charles Milesi||FRA||R-ace GP||Retired|
|RET||2||Luis Leeds||AUS||Josef Kaufmann Racing||Retired|