Yifei Ye Claims Double Race Win as Benyahia Pips Magnus to Title

Credit: Gregory Eyckmans

Yifei Ye claimed a double victory in the season finale at the Hockenheimring on Saturday, but Michael Benyahia is celebrating after becoming the 2017 Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup champion.

Ye led home two Josef Kaufmann Racing one-two finishes from team-mate Sacha Fenestraz, but two ninth place finishes were enough to give Benyahia the title ahead of R-ace GP team-mate Gilles Magnus.

Race one saw Ye retain the lead from pole position at the start, with Richard Verschoor jumping ahead of Fenestraz into second, and by the time the French-Argentine driver had worked his way back ahead of the Red Bull-backed MP Motorsport ace, he was too far off the back of Ye to challenge for the lead.

With Fenestraz now clear, Verschoor was left to defend his position on the podium from Gabriel Aubry, while the battle also allowed debutant Logan Sargeant and Aleksandr Vartanyan to close up, and after a few failed attempts on Verschoor, Aubry himself found himself shuffled down to sixth.

Jarno Opmeer finished seventh for MP Motorsport ahead of another series debutant in Oscar Piastri, with Benyahia taking ninth, and the lead of the championship, while James Pull completed the top ten for Josef Kaufmann Racing.

Bartlomiej Mirecki finished eleventh for his own BM Racing Team, ahead of R-ace GP duo Theo Coicaud and Charles Milesi, while the field was round out by Tech 1 Racing’s Thomas Neubauer and by Magnus, who had by far his worst outing of the season down in fifteenth.

Ye leads the field away in race two – Credit: Gregory Eyckmans

Race two saw Ye again maintain his lead at the start, with Fenestraz immediately slipping into second, and the two team-mates were again in a class of their own, finishing well clear of the rest of the pack.

Renault Sport Academy rising star Opmeer initially ran third ahead of Verschoor, but the Arden Motorsport machine of Vartanyan picked both of them off to claim his first Northern European Cup podium in third.

Mirecki finished behind Opmeer and Verschoor in sixth ahead of Pull, who claimed seventh despite starting down in eleventh, while Piastri again claimed eighth for Arden Motorsport.

The battle for ninth however had championship implications, with whoever would come out on top going onto being the champion, and it was Benyahia who withstood pressure from Magnus to claim both the position and the title, despite not having taken a race victory all season long.

Neubauer finished eleventh ahead of Coicaud and Milesi, with Sargeant the last classified finisher in fourteenth having pitted for repairs during the race, while Aubry retired with his own damaged car early on.

Michael Benyahia (3) claimed the 2017 Northern European Cup title in Germany – Credit: Gregory Eyckmans

Hockenheimring Race 1 Result

141Yifei YeCHIJosef Kaufmann Racing26:18.384s
211Sacha FenestrazFRAJosef Kaufmann Racing+6.501s
329Richard VerschoorNEDMP Motorsport+19.614s
443Logan SargeantUSAR-ace GP+20.472s
534Aleksandr VartanyanRUSArden Motorsport+21.732s
614Gabriel AubryFRATech 1 Racing+24.605s
730Jarno OpmeerNEDMP Motorsport+25.575s
881Oscar PiastriAUSArden Motorsport+28.566s
93Michael BenyahiaMARR-ace GP+33.307s
1015James PullGBRJosef Kaufmann Racing+38.209s
1196Bartlomiej MireckiPOLBM Racing+41.212s
122Theo CoicaudFRAR-ace GP+41.881s
131Charles MilesiFRAR-ace GP+42.326s
146Thomas NeubauerFRATech 1 Racing+44.816s
154Gilles MagnusBELR-ace GP+45.786s

Hockenheimring Race 2 Result

141Yifei YeCHIJosef Kaufmann Racing26:28.734s
211Sacha FenestrazFRAJosef Kaufmann Racing+2.983s
334Aleksandr VartanyanRUSArden Motorsport+13.351s
430Jarno OpmeerNEDMP Motorsport+16.703s
529Richard VerschoorNEDMP Motorsport+17.155s
696Bartlomiej MireckiPOLBM Racing+18.006s
715James PullGBRJosef Kaufmann Racing+21.896s
881Oscar PiastriAUSArden Motorsport+22.188s
93Michael BenyahiaMARR-ace GP+22.788s
104Gilles MagnusBELR-ace GP+23.447s
116Thomas NeubauerFRATech 1 Racing+24.371s
121Charles MilesiFRAR-ace GP+25.021s
132Theo CoicaudFRAR-ace GP+26.593s
1443Logan SargeantUSAR-ace GP+52.103s
RET14Gabriel AubryFRATech 1 RacingRetired