Junior Single Seater Race Weekend Round-Up – 23-25 May 2019

by Paul Hensby

Last weekend saw round three of the Formula Renault Eurocup championship at the Circuit de Monaco, while the EuroFormula Open drivers made a quick turnaround to race at the Hockenheimring, just a week after their adventures at Pau.

Formula Renault Eurocup – Circuit de Monaco

Both races around the streets of Monaco were won from pole position, with the results at the principality bringing a different driver to the top of the championship standings.

Race One

Victor Martins began the opening race of the weekend from pole position, and despite pressure from both Alexander Smolyar and Caio Collet, secured his first win of the season at the fifth attempt.

The Renault Sport Academy star held the lead into turn one and withstood the pressure from Smolyar behind before pulling away later in the race, the MP Motorsport winning by 1.3 seconds at the chequered flag.

Collet, secured the final spot on the podium, also fell away, falling a further 1.8 seconds behind R-ace GP team-mate Smolyar, but he did ensure he took the victory of the rookie drivers.

MP Motorsport’s Lorenzo Colombo took fourth despite late race pressure from R-ace GP’s Oscar Piastri.  The latter had forced his way ahead of JD Motorsport’s Joao Vieira for fifth at the swimming pool complex but was unable to do anything about the Italian ahead of him for fourth.

Vieira held on to take sixth ahead of Arden’s Patrick Pasma, while Callan O’Keeffe of FA Racing by Drivex was eighth ahead of JD Motorsport’s Ugo de Wilde and M2 Competition’s Kush Maini.

Victor Martins celebrates after his first win of the season in Monaco – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Race Two

Smolyar started race two from pole position and survived a late race safety car intervention to take victory on Sunday morning, his second victory of the season but his most important so far of his career.

Smolyar led from start to finish despite race long pressure from Martins, and with the safety car being needed to recover the stranded car of Sebastian Fernandez who had stopped on track with suspected mechanical problems just after turn one at Sainte Devote.

Martins took second, just eight-tenths of a second away from the win, but this result promoted the Renault Sport Academy member to the head of the championship standings heading to the Circuit Paul Ricard next weekend.

Vieira took third despite not having the same kind of pace as the leading duo.  The JD Motorsport driver had lost around twenty-four seconds to the leaders prior to the safety car, and despite there being less than four minutes on the clock when the race resumed, he fell eight seconds behind by the chequered flag.

Collet followed Vieira home in fourth, ending a strong weekend for the rookie driver, while Piastri took fifth, and in doing so, fell to third in the championship having arrived in Monaco as the championship leader.

Xavier Lloveras secured his and the GRS squad’s first points of the season in sixth ahead of Colombo and recently announced Renault Junior Leonardo Lorandi, while O’Keeffe and Pasma completed the top ten.

Joining Fernandez in retirement was, for a second consecutive day, Lucas Alecco Roy, who hit the Armco barriers at Massenet, and Petr Ptacek, who did the same exiting the swimming pool complex.

Alexander Smolyar took his second win of the season in race two – Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

EuroFormula Open – Hockenheimring

Just a week after their exploits at Pau, the EuroFormula Open field reconvened at the home of the Formula 1 German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring for round three of the season.

For a second consecutive weekend, Italian outfit and multiple series champions RP Motorsport were absent from proceedings as they change engine suppliers away from Toyota, but it was a team from Germany who stole the show as Team Motopark took both victories on offer.

Race One

Marino Sato, a race winner at the Circuit Paul Ricard at the beginning of the season, took his first pole position of the year for race one, with the Japanese racer holding onto his advantage at the front of the field heading into turn one.

Double R Racing duo Jack Doohan and Linus Lundqvist battled hard for second place across the opening laps, with the Australian coming on top, with the Swede then losing ground to the two drivers ahead of him.

Lundqvist soon found himself relegated to fourth as Liam Lawson climbed into a podium position, with the New Zealander making gains after starting sixth, courtesy of the three-place grid penalty he carried over from Pau for his collision with Motopark team-mate Julian Hanses.

Lawson then attacked Doohan for second and made the move for position on lap ten, only to fall back behind his fellow Red Bull Junior after spinning at turn one.  After that, Lawson was forced to track behind Doohan until the chequered flag.

All this drama left Sato untroubled at the head of the field, and he completed his first grand slam of his EuroFormula Open career, winning the race from pole position, leading every lap and securing fastest lap in the process.

Behind Doohan and Lawson came Yuki Tsunoda of Motopark, who was another to get ahead of the struggling Lundqvist, although the Swede was able to hold onto fifth ahead of Hanses and Teo Martin Motorsport’s Lukas Dunner.

Christian Hahn came out on top of a three-car battle for eighth, the Carlin driver edging out team-mate Nicolai Kjaergaard and Fortec MotorsportsCameron Das, who secured the final point.

Pau Grand Prix race winner Billy Monger could only manage twelfth, just behind Carlin team-mate Teppei Natori, while the race’s only retirement came in the form of Teo Martin Motorsport’s Aldo Festante for an incident that involved Natori on lap two.

Marino Sato took pole position, the win and the fastest lap, and also led every lap of race one – Credit: GT Sport

Race Two

Sato once again took pole position for race two but quickly found himself under pressure from his Motopark team-mates of Tsunoda and Lawson, both making it passed the Japanese racer early on.

Tsunoda controlled the pace at the front, but for a second consecutive day, Lawson spun, losing a number of places as he recovered, with Sato being promoted to second to make it a Japanese driver one-two.

Hanses made it a trio of Motopark drivers on the podium in third as Lawson’s spin relegated him down to fifth in the final result, just behind Teo Martin Motorsport’s Dunner, who in turn was shadowing Hanses throughout.

Kjaergaard claimed sixth for Carlin despite late race pressure for race one podium finisher Doohan, with the Australian finishing seventh despite dramas of his own as he was involved in a first lap incident that saw Festante and Hahn retire and Das lose time.

Natori took eighth for Carlin ahead of Fortec Motorsport’s Calan Williams, while Das staged a good recovery to take the final point in tenth ahead of Teo Martin Motorsport’s Guilherme Samaia.

Joining Festante and Hahn in retirement was Lundqvist, who broke his front wing at the end of the opening lap and retired in the pits, while Monger was again outside the points down in thirteenth, a lap down on the field.

Yuki Tsunoda took his first win of the year in race two – Credit: GT Sport

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