Doureid Ghattas made it four consecutive victories in a truncated final Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) at the Nurburgring, with retirement for his Anders Motorsport team mate Phil Hill dramatically changing the landscape of the title fight.
An oil pressure problem ruled double Spa-Francorchamps victor Hill out of the race before the start, with the #90 car stopping out on circuit at Turn 4 on the lap to the grid.
Championship leader Ghattas made the best start and took an early lead ahead of pole-sitter Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP), though the Argentine responded with a bold move through the Mercedes Arena as the duo ran side-by-side to retain the advantage.
Misfortune struck again, however, forcing Gandulia into the pits and two laps down on the leaders, though he was held a reprieve of sorts when a red flag to recover Axel Matus’s heavily damaged AVF by Adrian Valles machine was shown after the Mexican and Tech1 Racing’s Neil Verhagen made contact.
Ghattas eased away from second-placed Sharon Scolari when the action resumed and duly extended his advantage to 17.8 seconds at the chequered flag, a result which now hands him an 47 point advantage in the standings heading to the finale at Hockenheim.
Finishing the opening race in Badem-Wurttemberg will be enough for the German Formula 4 graduate to secure his first international single-seater title at the first attempt, regardless of what his rivals manage.
In claiming second, Scolari also makes history as the first female racer to score a podium finish in the highly-competitive championship’s 13-year history, and the first for her and ScoRace Team since their switch from GT racing.
Gandulia recovered to reduce the deficit, but with two laps to make up he was ultimately forced to settle for the final spot on the rostrum, extending his run of silverware to six consecutive races.
The result also gives Anders Motorsport a commanding advantage going into the final double-header at Hockenheim over R-ace GP, with the series set to conclude over the weekend of 21-23 September.
More to follow…