Mid-Season Review: NEC set for thrilling three-way title fight

With six different pole-sitters, four different winners and a mere 19 points separating the top five in the championship at the mid-season break, the 2018 Formula Renault Northern European Cup is proving as competitive as ever.

The new season began back in May on the famous streets of Pau, with MP Motorsport providing an early benchmark for the rest to follow. Renault Sport Academy driver Christian Lundgaard and teammate Alex Peroni took turns on pole position, but it would be the Australian who mastered the wet conditions on both occasions to take the spoils.

A podium double for championship returnee Logan Sargeant also marked a competitive start to the season for defending Champions R-ace GP, whilst Doureid Ghattas made a competitive start to life in one of Europe’s most-established platforms into professional motorsport as the fastest full-season entry ahead of Argentine Gabriel Gandulia.

Pau also highlighted the positive relationship between the NEC and the Formula Renault Eurocup, the next rung on Renault Sport Racing’s junior single-seater racing ladder, with Frenchman Charles Milesi and Peroni putting their experience to the ultimate test – and emerging victorious – in a support race slot at the iconic Monaco Grand Prix a fortnight later.

The championship then swapped the tight, unforgiving Pyrenees street circuit for the high-speed Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, with both Sargeant and another Renault junior, Victor Martins, sharing the honours.

There was also silverware for the in-form Milesi and home hero Lorenzo Colombo’s JD Motorsport-prepared machine, whilst Phil Hill put in an impressive showing to record a double victory among the full-season entries and claw his way into the title fight.

News also broke at the 3.6 mile circuit that ScoRace Team’s Sharon Scolari is set to feature in a prime-time Swiss-Italian TV documentary at the end of the season and she duly marked the occasion with her first top ten finish in the category.

The Ardennes Forest played host as the NEC marked the summer break at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps last month, with another double for Hill handing him a slender six point lead over Anders Motorsport team mate Ghattas.

He had it far from his own way, however, with a mishap in qualifying leaving him at the rear of the field for the second race. Several action-packed fights with Ghattas and Gandulia later, the trio made their way onto the podium – in that order – and marked themselves out as the early title contenders.

Budapest will mark the next chapter in a thrilling title fight as the NEC once again shares the billing with the Eurocup, before further events at the Nurburgring and Hockenheim round out the 2018 campaign.