Limited visibility caused a delayed start and a shortened distance of 19 minutes for this weekend’s second Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup race at the Nürburgring. After three formation laps and two Safety Car interventions, Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) won his sixth race of the season. Closely followed by Max Defourny (R-ace GP) in second and Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) in third, the 16-year-old Briton increased his championship lead. The fourth driver in the hunt for the title, Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing), lost his second place in the championship after crashing out in the wet conditions. Norris now holds a solid lead two weeks before the three final encounters at Hockenheim.
Fog around the 5.148 kilometre grand prix circuit delayed the start of the race by half an hour. Even then after two formation laps the conditions were deemed unsuitable for racing, leading to a further delay and a third formation lap.
ACTION RIGHT FROM START
From his ninth pole position in twelve races, Lando Norris fended off Max Defourny, who jumped from fourth to second. Jehan Daruvala braked early into the first corner and went from second to third. Behind them, the field went four-wide into the first corner. Race one winner Robert Shwartzman got caught in the middle and retired on the spot, which brought the Safety Car out for the first time.
NORRIS MASTERS TWO RESTARTS
At the restart, Lando Norris held Max Defourny at bay. The battle for third between Jehan Daruvala and Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing) was soon joined by New Zealand karting graduate Marcus Armstrong (R-ace GP). The fight for sixth between teammates Sacha Fenestraz and Dorian Boccolacci (both Tech 1 Racing) ended early when Boccolacci lost his car in the run-off-area at the exit of the Mercedes Arena and hit Ferdinand Habsburg’s (Fortec Motorsports) car. With both cars damaged, the Safety Car led the field for the second time.
After the restart, Norris again controlled Defourny to sprint to his sixth victory. Behind Defourny, Force India junior Jehan Daravala rounded up the podium.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUT WEEKEND FOR ARMSTRONG
16-year-old Marcus Armstrong managed to keep the Tech 1 Racing drivers behind him to take a fourth place in his second single seater race ever. Armstrong is a karting regular and had only done some touring car races in his homeland New Zealand so far. Hugo de Sadeleer and Sacha Fenestraz finished fifth and sixth. Julien Falchero (R-ace GP) was seventh ahead of Bruno Baptista (Fortec Motorsports), James Allen, and Alexey Korneev (both JD Motorsport)
Alex Gill (Mark Burdett Motorsport) was also part of the first corner incidents and had to settle for 15th place. The second newcomer for this weekend, Alexander Vartanyan (Fortec Motorsports), took a point in race one and improved by finishing 18th and adding a further three points in race two.
NORRIS WITH BEST TITLE CHANCES AT HOCKENHEIM
Lando Norris is now 48 points clear of Max Defourny, while 90 points are still to be won during the final three races at the Hockenheimring in two weeks time. Dorian Boccolacci and Jehan Daruvala are equal on points in third and are 62 points behind Norris.
The finale of the eleventh Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup takes place alongside the ADAC GT Masters from 30 September to 02 October. All three races are broadcasted on www.necup.com.
Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “That victory was important for the championship. Boccolacci didn’t finish, so I have a bigger lead. But with three races at the final weekend at Hockenheim, there are 90 points up for grabs. So it’s gonna be tough. The annoying bits today were the safety car periods. We just wanted to get on and race. You need to make sure you have restarts. Then, I had a gap and just tried to pull away.”
Max Defourny (R-ace GP): “It was a difficult race with so much happening. In the end, it wasn’t too much racing. I managed to get a good start and jumped up into second. Our pace was better than Lando’s, I think. So it’s a bit unfortunate to finish second, but my car felt better today. We just need to get a good weekend at Hockenheim.”
Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “It was always gonna be a hard race with the fog. But that was the same for everyone. My side on the grid was still a bit slippery and Max got a better start. We made contact in the first corner, but luckily only wheel to wheel. I wasn’t fast enough to stay with Lando and Max. I just controlled my own pace in third.”