Grégoire Saucy dominated the first race of the weekend at the Circuit Paul Ricard to secure his fourth victory of the 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine season.
The ART Grand Prix driver took a dominant pole position on Saturday morning, taking top spot by almost four-tenths of a second, and despite a delayed start and a safety car at either end of the race, he was never truly challenged.
Isack Hadjar, a winner for the first time in the championship last weekend in Monaco, stalled on the grid and forced the officials to run an additional formation lap. The R-ace GP driver, who was set to start tenth on the grid was pushed back into the pit lane, where he was able to get going, albeit at the back of the pack.
Saucy had a great start and was immediately able to pull onto the racing line ahead of David, but before the lap was out, the safety car was deployed as two of Van Amersfoort Racing’s three drivers collided just ahead of the chicane of the Mistral Straight. Both Mari Boya and Lorenzo Fluxá appeared to fight for the same part of track, and both ended up at the side of the track and out of the race.
The race resumed with just over sixteen minutes remaining, and Saucy left it to the last moment to step on the gas. But he managed to judge the restart well and pull out a gap to the chasing pack that continued to be led by David.
Saucy was able to edge away from David lap after lap and despite the race ending behind the safety car, he took the chequered flag 0.329 seconds ahead of the Frenchman, while Michael Belov secured the final spot on the podium on his first outing for JD Motorsport. Unfortunately for Belov, he is racing this weekend as a guest driver so is not eligible for points.
Gabriele Mini finished fourth for ART Grand Prix but will score the fifteen points on offer for third, while Monaco race two winner Zane Maloney took fifth for R-ace GP ahead of KIC Motorsport’s Patrik Pasma.
Alex Quinn ended seventh for Arden Motorsport, while Kas Haverkort will be delighted to finally bring home a top ten finish in eighth for MP Motorsport. The top ten was completed by ART Grand Prix’s Thomas Ten Brinke, who lost a couple of positions at the start, and Arden’s William Alatalo, while the final point on offer with Below ineligible to score went to Prema Powerteam’s Dino Beganovic.
It was a disappointing day for Prema, who had dominated the Formula Regional European Championship at Paul Ricard in both 2019 and 2020. Beganovic was their only points scorer on Saturday, with David Vidales ending twelfth and Paul Aron down in fifteenth after qualifying way down in nineteenth.
The reason for the safety car was another collision between team-mates – this time it was G4 Racing duo Axel Gnos and Alessandro Famularo that saw both cars retire with damage.
Bélen Garcia showed improved pace on Saturday but saw her afternoon ended after a battle with KIC Motorsport’s Nico Göhler ended with her running wide and breaking her front wing on the exit of turn two. It meant a trip to the pit lane for the Spaniard who races in FRECA when her W Series commitments allow.
Saucy’s victory ensures he edges away from the chasing pack in the Championship battle heading into Sunday’s second race of the weekend.
Circuit Paul Ricard Race 1 Result
|1||26||Grégoire Saucy||CHE||ART Grand Prix||32:49.890|
|2||10||Hadrien David||FRA||R-ace GP||+0.329|
|3||33||Michael Belov||RUS||JD Motorsport||+1.070|
|4||46||Gabriele Mini||ITA||ART Grand Prix||+1.486|
|5||22||Zane Maloney||BAR||R-ace GP||+2.347|
|6||5||Patrik Pasma||FIN||KIC Motorsport||+2.885|
|7||21||Alex Quinn||GBR||Arden Motorsport||+3.164|
|8||27||Kas Haverkort||NED||MP Motorsport||+4.138|
|9||23||Thomas Ten Brinke||NED||ART Grand Prix||+4.807|
|10||8||William Alatalo||FIN||Arden Motorsport||+6.469|
|11||17||Dino Beganovic||SWE||Prema Powerteam||+6.934|
|12||12||David Vidales||ESP||Prema Powerteam||+8.185|
|13||43||Franco Colapinto||ARG||MP Motorsport||+8.883|
|14||19||Andrea Rosso||ITA||FA Racing||+8.943|
|15||1||Paul Aron||EST||Prema Powerteam||+9.662|
|16||58||Elias Seppänen||FIN||KIC Motorsport||+10.883|
|17||96||Oliver Gøthe||DEN||MP Motorsport||+11.590|
|18||35||Pietro Delli Guanti||ITA||Monolite Racing||+12.117|
|19||85||Gabriel Bortoleto||BRZ||FA Racing||+12.579|
|20||91||Eduardo Barrichello||BRZ||JD Motorsport||+13.783|
|21||51||Francesco Pizzi||ITA||Van Amersfoort Racing||+14.217|
|22||6||Isack Hadjar||FRA||R-ace GP||+14.752|
|23||13||Jasin Ferati||CHE||Monolite Racing||+15.592|
|24||16||Tommy Smith||AUS||JD Motorsport||+16.428|
|25||41||Emidio Pesce||ITA||DR Formula||+18.185|
|26||14||Nicola Marinangeli||ITA||Arden Motorsport||+20.441|
|27||9||Alexandre Bardinon||FRA||FA Racing||+23.875|
|28||2||Nico Göhler||GER||KIC Motorsport||+24.032|
|29||71||Brad Benavides||USA||DR Formula||+24.508|
|30||15||Léna Bühler||CHE||R-ace GP||+24.845|
|31||72||Bélen Garcia||ESP||G4 Racing||+26.136|
|RET||7||Axel Gnos||CHE||G4 Racing||Retired|
|RET||55||Alessandro Famularo||VEN||G4 Racing||Retired|
|RET||64||Mari Boya||ESP||Van Amersfoort Racing||Retired|
|RET||62||Lorenzo Fluxá||ESP||Van Amersfoort Racing||Retired|