Yifei Ye converted his maiden pole position into a maiden Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Series victory at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Saturday, and thus etched his name in history as the first Chinese racer to win in the category.
Despite an early safety car intervention, caused when Aleksandr Vartanyan was left stranded with a broken car at the first chicane at the beginning of lap two, the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver was never troubled, and controlled the race from the front to win by 1.652 seconds.
Christian Lundgaard survived a first corner clash, and subsequent investigation, with Max Fewtrell to claim second place for MP Motorsport for his second podium finish of the season, but for the Briton it was a nightmare afternoon with the trip through the run-off following that opening lap bang of wheels resulting in a damaged front wing and a trip to the pits for repairs.
Completing the podium was the impressive Lorenzo Colombo, who started sixth but was quickly up to third as the Italian made the most of a good start to claim JD Motorsport’s first top three finish since 2015!
Equally impressive was fourth placed finisher Alexander Smolyar, who made an early pass on Richard Verschoor to take the position, with the Tech 1 Racing ace ending less than four seconds away from the race winner at the chequered flag.
Verschoor’s race unfortunately concluded with him in the pits and into retirement with two laps remaining, but ever since he locked up his brakes defending into the opening turn on the restart, he was on the back foot and defending his position. The Dutchman had dropped to the lower reaches of the top ten when he pulled into the pit lane with a mechanical issue.
MP Motorsport’s Alex Peroni got the better of Victor Martins to take fifth, with the sixth placed Frenchman the leading R-ace GP racer, just ahead of team-mates Charles Milesi and Logan Sargeant. Sargaent was impressive having started sixteenth on the grid and was embroiled in battles right until the chequered flag to take eighth ahead of Max Defourny and Thomas Maxwell.
Ye’s victory also moves him into the lead of the championship standings after the first three races of the season, and after Sargeant and Fewtrell becomes the third different winner in what looks like being another very open Eurocup season.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza Race 1 Result
|1||16||Yifei Ye||CHN||Josef Kaufmann Racing||32:27.208|
|2||31||Christian Lundgaard||DEN||MP Motorsport||+1.652|
|3||61||Lorenzo Colombo||ITA||JD Motorsport||+2.535|
|4||22||Alexander Smolyar||RUS||Tech 1 Racing||+3.987|
|5||32||Alex Peroni||AUS||MP Motorsport||+8.047|
|6||4||Victor Martins||FRA||R-ace GP||+11.228|
|7||3||Charles Milesi||FRA||R-ace GP||+12.199|
|8||2||Logan Sargeant||USA||R-ace GP||+15.268|
|9||33||Max Defourny||BEL||MP Motorsport||+15.928|
|10||62||Thomas Maxwell||AUS||JD Motorsport||+18.697|
|11||21||Neil Verhagen||USA||Tech 1 Racing||+20.719|
|12||41||Oscar Piastri||AUS||Arden Motorsport||+21.344|
|13||24||Frank Bird||GBR||Tech 1 Racing||+22.246|
|14||23||Thomas Neubauer||FRA||Tech 1 Racing||+22.736|
|15||53||Eliseo Martinez||ESP||AVF by Adrian Valles||+23.417|
|16||11||Clement Novalak||GBR||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+25.673|
|17||43||Sami Taoufik||MOR||Arden Motorsport||+27.134|
|18||87||Arthur Rougier||FRA||Fortec Motorsports||+31.152|
|19||85||Raul Guzman||MEX||Fortec Motorsports||+34.158|
|20||52||Xavier Lloveras||ESP||AVF by Adrian Valles||+34.380|
|21||86||Christian Hahn||BRZ||Fortec Motorsports||+36.942|
|22||1||Max Fewtrell||GBR||R-ace GP||+37.519|
|23||54||Christian Munoz||COL||AVF by Adrian Valles||+38.317|
|24/RET||12||Richard Verschoor||NED||Josef Kaufmann Racing||+2 Laps|
|25||84||Vladimir Tziortzis||RUS||Fortec Motorsports||+2 Laps|
|RET||51||Axel Matos||MEX||AVF by Adrian Valles||Retired|
|RET||42||Alexander Vartanyan||RUS||Arden Motorsport||Retired|
|RET||63||Najiy Razak||MYS||JD Motorsport||Retired|