Prior to the 2021 season, Grégoire Saucy had never stood on the podium during his single seater racing career, but now two rounds in, he has tasted victory three times and is now clear at the top of the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine standings.
The Checkered Flag looks back at FRECA’s weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where the series once again was on the support package for Formula 1.
Race 1 – Saucy Dominates Safety Car Affected Race
Having taken his first victory in the second race of the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari weekend last month, ART Grand Prix’s Saucy was on sublime form in Spain. With his confidence high, he took pole position for Saturday’s opening race in Spain.
The hopes of Edoardo Barrichello (JD Motorsport) of scoring points ended even before the start, as mechanical issues set in and left him stranded at the side of the road.
Saucy was given a first corner scare as team-mate Gabriele Mini drew alongside him on the run down to the turn, but the Swiss racer held position ahead of the Italian. It was not long however when the safety car was deployed due to two separate incidents.
The first incident saw Nicola Marinangeli (Arden Motorsport) collide with MP Motorsport’s Kas Haverkort, ending both their races on the spot. Marinangeli’s car struck the barriers hard, which required them to be fixed before the race got restarted, meaning significant race time was lost.
At the same time the Marinangeli/Haverkort incident was occurring, another clash between Prema Powerteam’s David Vidales and FA Racing’s Gabriel Bortoleto saw the former retire. The latter was fortunate to continue, although he was unable to better twenty-third at the chequered flag.
On the restart, Saucy and Mini continued to lead the way, while Paul Aron (Prema Powerteam) and Alex Quinn (Arden Motorsport) followed close behind. Quinn had made a good start to jump ahead of Van Amersfoort Racing’s Mari Boya.
Quinn attacked Aron but was left to fall back behind the Estonian as they came up on a yellow flag zone, caused when G4 Racing’s Alessandro Famularo stopped on track. It would be the last chance for the Briton as the safety car was called a few laps later.
The battle for ninth place was fierce, with Franco Colapinto (MP Motorsport) battling with Dino Beganovic (Prema Powerteam) and Zane Maloney (R-ace GP). Unfortunately, Colapinto’s race was ended after contact with Beganovic, with the Swede also dropping down the order as a result.
Saucy out front had no issues bringing the car to the chequered flag for his second win of the second, while ART Grand Prix celebrated a one-two finish as Mini drove superbly for second place. The final spot on the podium went the way of Aron.
Quinn finished just off the podium in fourth ahead of Boya, while William Alatalo (Arden Motorsport), Isack Hadjar (R-ace GP), Thomas Ten Brinke (ART Grand Prix), Maloney and Patrik Pasma (KIC Motorsport) completed the points scorers.
Monolite Racing missed out on their first points of the season as Pietro Delli Guanti ended eleventh just ahead of the impressive Hadrien David, who qualified last after issues in Qualifying to finish a remarkable twelfth for R-ace GP. But for the safety car, he could have made it into the points!
Race 2 – Saucy Again as Quinn Takes Podium
Saucy once again took pole position for race two, with Quinn this time joining him on the front row. The Swiss racer again had to defend into turn one, but again he stood up to the task and maintained his lead.
Aron moved up to third on the opening lap ahead of Mini, just prior to the safety car being deployed as Colapinto’s weekend saw him crash out after contact at turn five with David, while Vidales was also caught up in the incident. All three drivers were forced to retire.
At the first corner, Jasin Ferati (Monolite Racing) collided with G4 Racing’s Bélen Garcia. Ferati was out with damage in the turn three gravel trap, while Garcia was able to continue, albeit at the very back of the pack.
The man on the move on the restart was Hadjar, who put in a number of fast laps to move first ahead of Mini for fourth and then Aron for the final spot on the podium. However, he was not able to get close to the leading duo, with Saucy closing out the weekend with another dominant victory ahead of Quinn.
Aron and Mini held onto fourth and fifth, with Ten Brinke ending a positive first weekend of the season (he missed the Imola weekend due to a positive COVID-19 test) by finishing on his ART Grand Prix team-mate’s tail in sixth. Alatalo, Pasma, Maloney and Beganovic completed the points scorers.
Garcia’s messy race saw continued as she made a mistake at the final turn and ran through the gravel trap. She ended up more than twenty seconds behind the rest of the field.
Saucy leaves Spain with eighty-five points to his name, with Aron second in the standings on fifty-seven. Quinn is third on forty-eight points as the series moves to Monaco for round three.