Robert Shwartzwan took a dominant lights-to-flag victory in race one of the final weekend of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday, while Will Palmer ensured the title battle will go down to the final day of the season with second place.
However R-ace GP may rue not allowing Palmer to pass Shwartzman and collect the seven additional points towards the championship, meaning Sacha Fenestraz now only needs an eighth place finish in race two on Sunday morning to clinch the title.
Shwartzman, who earlier this week became the latest member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, had taken pole position earlier in the day, and the young Russian made a good start to defend his position from Palmer heading into turn one, while Gabriel Aubry managed to squeeze ahead of Fenestraz into third.
The battle for the race win soon became a stroll in the park for Shwartzman, who was able to edge away from his team-mate, and brought his car home for his fifth win of the season, winning by 3.273 seconds from Palmer, who in turn was more than five seconds ahead of Tech 1 Racing’s Aubry at the chequered flag.
Fenestraz, the winner of three of the previous races in the championship, was left to fight for fourth place, and the French-Argentine driver managed to withstand pressure from Max Defourny and Richard Verschoor to claim the place.
Defourny however saw fifth place disappear on the final lap, with the R-ace GP driver passed into turn one by MP Motorsport’s Verschoor, who had one of his strongest performances of the season following changes to his car between Friday’s practice sessions and Saturday’s Qualifying.
Verschoor’s team-mate and fellow Red Bull Junior Neil Verhagen showed that MP Motorsport had a strong car on Saturday by claiming seventh, whilst guest drivers Logan Sargeant and Charles Milesi finished eighth and ninth for R-ace GP ahead of their team-mate Raul Guzman, while Thomas Randle and Aleksandr Vartanyan claimed the final points.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Race 1 Result
|1||10||Robert Shwartzman||RUS||R-ace GP||27:51.529s|
|2||8||Will Palmer||GBR||R-ace GP||+3.273s|
|3||4||Gabriel Aubry||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+8.485s|
|4||11||Sacha Fenestraz||FRA||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+10.394s|
|5||29||Richard Verschoor||NED||MP Motorsport||+11.448s|
|6||9||Max Defourny||BEL||R-ace GP||+12.909s|
|7||31||Neil Verhagen||USA||MP Motorsport||+14.890s|
|8||43||Logan Sargeant||USA||R-ace GP||+18.878s|
|9||40||Charles Milesi||FRA||R-ace GP||+19.297s|
|10||12||Raul Guzman||MEX||R-ace GP||+22.040s|
|11||16||Thomas Randle||AUS||AVF by Adrian Valles||+22.590s|
|12||23||Aleksandr Vartanyan||RUS||JD Motorsport||+23.275s|
|13||13||Henrique Chaves||POR||AVF by Adrian Valles||+23.681s|
|14||1||Yifei Ye||CHN||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+25.071s|
|15||5||Thomas Maxwell||AUS||Tech 1 Racing||+25.292s|
|16||15||Axel Matus||MEX||AVF by Adrian Valles||+29.729s|
|17||93||Zane Goddard||AUS||Arden Motorsport||+30.076s|
|18||30||Jarno Opmeer||NED||MP Motorsport||+31.242s|
|19||18||Aleksey Korneev||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||+31.411s|
|20||17||Alex Peroni||AUS||Fortec Motorsports||+31.780s|
|21||14||Xavier Lloveras||ESP||AVF by Adrian Valles||+35.264s|
|22||33||Daniel Ticktum||GBR||Arden Motorsport||+36.170s|
|23||22||Jean Baptiste Simmenauer||FRA||JD Motorsport||+39.256s|
|24||26||Presley Martono||INO||Mark Burdett Motorsport||+42.098s|
|25||34||Ghislain Cordeel||BEL||Arden Motorsport||+44.204s|
|26||19||Frank Bird||GBR||Fortec Motorsports||+44.676s|
|27||21||Sun Yue Yang||CHN||JD Motorsport||+44.733s|
|28||20||Najiy Ayyad bin Abd Razak||MAL||Fortec Motorsports||+52.385s|
|29||25||Julia Pankiewicz||POL||Mark Burdett Motorsport||+52.678s|
|30||2||Luis Leeds||AUS||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+52.764s|
|RET||7||Max Fewtrell||GBR||Tech 1 Racing||Retired|
|RET||6||Thomas Neubauer||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||Retired|