Sacha Fenestraz recovered from an early setback to record victory in the opening Formula Renault Northern European Championship race of the weekend at the world-famous Nurburgring
The Josef Kaufmann Racing driver was initially bested at the start by Red Bull Junior Dan Ticktum, but a bold move into the first corner a few laps later gave the French-Argentine an advantage he would not relinquish, and from there the current Formula Renault Eurocup championship leader duly extended his advantage to over six seconds at the chequered flag.
Yifei Ye made the most of his second row start to apply pressure to Ticktum, culminating in a bold lunge to the inside of the Arden racer at Turn 1. The pair ran side-by-side through the Mercedes Arena with Ticktum on the outside line, and he was eventually forced to concede the runner-up spot on the run into Turn 4. The move secured a 1-2 finish for Josef Kaufmann Racing, whilst Ticktum’s third gave Arden a podium on their debut in the series.
R-Ace GP’s Charles Milesi backed up his recent strong performances in French F4 with fourth in the road ahead of Josef Kaufmann Racing’s Luis Leeds, who cut his way through from seventh on the grid past both JD Motorsport drivers Sun Yue Yang and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer at the start to finish fifth.
Simmenauer’s race took another turn for the worse as championship contender Gabriel Aubry (Tech1) slid up the inside at the final chicane to relieve him of sixth. Simmenauer would eventually claim seventh, some six seconds adrift.
Then came the two most notable improvements – R-Ace GP’s Michael Benyahia and championship leader Gilles Magnus scythed their way through from the back three rows of the grid to finish eighth and ninth respectively ahead of Thomas Neubauer (Tech1)– and with BM Racing’s Bartek Mirecki 12th behind James Pull (Arden), Magnus retains his lead in the standings.
Yue Yang would eventually cross the line 13th, with Theo Coicaud (R-Ace GP) and Thomas Maxwell (Tech1) – who took a trip across the kerbing at the final chicane on the opening lap – rounding out the field.
The final Formula Renault NEC race of the weekend gets underway at 10:05 tomorrow, with live streaming available on the official Formula Renault YouTube page along with updates via the championship’s social media channels (@FRNEC).
Fenestraz will start from pole position, and with Ticktum sharing the front row once again their battle is set to re-ignite in the Eifel mountains.
NB: Unfortunately, Milesi was later disqualified by circuit officials for a technical infringement and as a result is excluded from the final classification.
Sacha Fenestraz said, “I’m happy, like always the team have done an amazing job so we’ll see tomorrow how it goes. I hope we can get another win so we spend nearly the whole weekend in first, so I am aiming to have another win tomorrow. I had quite a bad start, to be fair, and then I could overtake Dan [Ticktum] on Turn 1 and then could extend the gap.”
Yifei Ye said, “It was an average start, I kept my position and tried to follow the guys ahead. I saw an opportunity and I was catching Dan significantly, I made a move and it worked out. After that I tried to catch the leader, my team-mate Sacha [Fenestraz], but he was very quick today and there wasn’t enough time to catch him any further. It is always good to finish on the podium in the Formula Renault NEC.”
Daniel Ticktum said, “We’ll go back and have a look through everything, as we always do, I had a bit of oversteer that race – another thing that makes it worse is that we were on four new tyres, so we should have been quicker, but we just weren’t. I did my best, I got myself into the lead, so I couldn’t have done any more.”
RESULT – FORMULA RENAULT NEC (NURBURGRING – ROUND 5)
1 Sacha Fenestraz (Josef Kaufmann Racing) – 11 laps
2 Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) – +6.520s
3 Daniel Ticktum (Arden Motorsport) +9.697s
4 Luis Leeds (Josef Kaufmann Racing) +12.512s
5 Gabriel Aubry (Tech1) +12.742s
6 Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer (JD Motorsport) +18.064s
7 Michael Benyahia (R-Ace GP) +19.681s
8 Gilles Magnus (R-Ace GP) +20.259s
9 Thomas Neubauer (Tech1) +21.149s
10 James Pull (Arden Motorsport) +23.768s
11 Bartek Mirecki (BM Racing) +24.471s
12 Sun Yue Yang (JD Motorsport) +29.014s
13 Theo Coicaud (R-Ace GP) +29.522s
14 Thomas Maxwell (Tech1) +30.095s
DNF Charles Milesi (R-Ace GP) Disqualified