Hill takes double victory and championship lead heading into summer break

Anders Motorsport’s Phil Hill doubled up to win the second Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) race at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and claimed the championship lead heading into the summer break.

Team mate Doureid Ghattas took second to complete a perfect weekend for the German outfit with a brace of 1-2 finishes, with Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP) completing the podium.

It was Gandulia who lined up on pole position with Ghattas alongside ahead of Hill, but the opening laps demonstrated the highly-competitive nature of the series as the 4.3 mile circuit served up a number of overtaking opportunities.

Hill made the first move, passing Ghattas before relieving Gandulia of the lead after picking up a slipstream down the Kemmel Straight – the longest period of time spent at full-throttle on the entire calendar – and taking the outside line under braking into Les Combes.

Ghattas then fought back, taking the runner-up spot away from Gandulia on the exit of the high-speed left hander at Radillon, but the duel had allowed Hill an opportunity to extend his advantage, and he duly took the honours.

The weekend ended in frustration for Sharon Scolari and the ScoRace Team, with accident damage from Race 1 ruling her out before the race start.

The net result of both races in the Ardennes Forest gives Hill a 6 point advantage heading into the summer break before the championship reconvenes in Budapest at the Hungaroring – once again alongside the Formula Renault Eurocup – over the weekend of 01-02 September.

 

Phil Hill (Anders Motorsport) said, “I couldn’t see the start lights so I was just hoping the person in front of me didn’t jump the start! But I made a good start and was able to overtake Doureid, but then the safety car came out and after I was able to pass Gabriel at the end of the Kemmel Straight, then I kept my head down and just pushed.

“I think I learnt really fast and I’m sure we can fight with the Eurocup guys more and more. This weekend was really good, I could have maybe got a P15 or top ten so that was really nice. I’m mentally stronger [than before the season started] and I just feel more comfortable with the car and more used to it.”

 

Doureid Ghattas (Anders Motorsport) said, “I’m a little bit disappointed because we started badly, I had problems here with the car and the setup was not what I wanted, nothing really worked. I did my best and took second, but more was not possible.

“There was just one overtake with Gabriel, and then he couldn’t pass me again, but because of the action the gap got bigger between me and Phil so I wasn’t able to pick up a slipstream at the end.

“The gap [in the championship standings] isn’t too big, but it should be smaller or there should be no gap. I will train hard looking forward, Budapest is a difficult track, I won’t have any test days there but I will try to be as prepared as possible.

 

Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP) said, “I’m not really happy with this weekend, I think during the races we lost some time in a straight line, which at this circuit is crucial and it’s difficult to attack if you have no power. It also makes it difficult to defend, so I think we have to work on that. I think I still have some things to improve a lot, but we are learning and that’s okay.

“It helps being around the Eurocup drivers, I have four team mates in R-ace GP who are all really fast and it helps to see the speeds and racing lines, how they work and how they prepare.”