Red Bull Racing backed American Neil Verhagen scored his maiden Formula Renault victory in the third round of the Formula Renault Northern European Cup at Assen. The 16-year-old from Mooresville, USA took full advantage of the jump start of pole- sitter Gilles Magnus and passed MP Motorsport teammate Richard Verschoor into Assen’s turn one. A string of fast laps early in the race put the young American firmly in the lead.
Teammate and fellow Red Bull-backed Verschoor managed to close the gap to within three tenths of race leader Verhagen but ran out of time to challenge for the victory on home soil. On top of that, third placed Frenchman Charles Milesi put on a late charge during the final stages of the race to finish a credible third for R-Ace GP in only his second Formula Renault meeting.
The battle for fourth was only decided in the final meters of the race with Dutch driver Jarno Opmeer narrowly closing out Moroccan Micheal Benyahia after BM Racing team driver, Bartek Mirecki made contact with Opmeer, dropping the Monza podium finisher to sixth.
Championship leader Belgium’s Gilles Magnus jump-start was penalised with a drive-through penalty which saw the 2016 French F4 runner-up’s chance of a maiden victory escape after showing impressive pace in Friday’s qualifying sessions. The R-Ace GP driver managed to pass teammate Theo Coicaud with a nice move down the inside of turn one. A late spin from Coicaud put him firmly in seventh and credited with the fastest lap of the race managed to salvage points for the championship.