Peroni Capitalises on Lundgaard Error to take Opening Pau Victory

by Paul Hensby
Alex Peroni - MP Motorsport

Alex Peroni capitalised on a late error from MP Motorsport team-mate Christian Lundgaard to take victory in the first race around the streets of Pau as the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup season began with wet conditions.

The race began behind the safety car as conditions were difficult, with Lundgaard controlling the pace once the green flag flew.  He was able to build a small gap over Peroni and was even able to control the race when the safety car was deployed mid-race for a spin for Sharon Scolari that saw the ScoRace Team debutant end up with her car in the turn two barriers.

However, Peroni had other ideas and closed the gap over the closing laps, allowing him to be in prime position when the Renault Sport Academy racer made a mistake at turn two on the penultimate lap, allowing the Australian to take a second victory at Pau in as many years, having triumphed there in Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2017.

Alexander Smolyar was another to ruin his afternoon late on, with the SMP Racing-backed Russian hitting the barriers at Gare on the final lap, ending his chance of taking the final podium position.  The Tech 1 Racing driver tumbled down the order to thirteenth at the chequered flag, which allowed Logan Sargeant the opportunity to claim third place for R-ace GP.

Sargeant was shadowed throughout the race by his R-ace GP team-mates Charles Milesi and Victor Martins, while the Red Bull-backed Neil Verhagen took sixth for Tech 1 Racing ahead of his team-mate Thomas Neubauer.

Arthur Rougier took eighth in the sole Fortec Motorsports entry, while ninth went the way of Doureid Ghattas of Anders Motorsport, with the German denying Gabriel Gandulia the opportunity to be the top full-time Northern European Cup entrant by just over four seconds.

Frank Bird was one of a handful of drivers to spin during the race, but the Briton stayed away from the barriers to finish eleventh ahead of Formula Motorsport’s Nicolas Pironneau, while the damaged car of Smolyar crept across the line just over a second of Nicolas Melin, with Phil Hill the last un-lapped finisher in fifteenth.

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