Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) held off local hero Max Defourny after a long and close fight in the second Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup race at Spa-Francorchamps. After numerous and spectacular lead changes, Briton Norris took the advantage on the final laps to become the first driver of the season to win both of the weekend’s races. With this fourth victory Norris moves into the championship lead as Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing) came home in sixth. Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing) scored his first podium with third place. Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) crashed in the opening lap.
Under dry and sunny conditions, Lando Norris set off from pole position into the lead. Max Defourny started from fourth on the grid and passed Sacha Fenestraz and James Allen (JD Motorsport) on the outside of the La Source hairpin.
His charge after Norris was helped when the safety car came out after one lap, because Bartłomiej Mirecki (BM Racing Team) spun in the Les Combes chicane. With drivers taking evasive actions, Jehan Daruvala lost his car and clipped Will Palmer (R-ace GP) taking both cars out on the spot. This ended the weekend for Briton Palmer who already missed the first race after a crash in the second qualifying session.
When the safety car pitted after 3 laps, Norris and Defourny began their battle for victory. On the Kemmel straight and the approach to Blanchimont, they showed exciting slipstream racing even touching each other on a few occasions. With multiple lead changes, Norris took the advantage on Defourny with two laps to go. The young Belgian’s challenge to Norris was cut short with a suspected slow puncture on one of his rear tyres and he had to settle for second place.
With this double victory Lando Norris now takes the championship lead for the first time this year. Dorian Boccolacci follows closely in second. With second place, Max Defourny, makes up for some of the lost points on Friday and moves into third overall. With the non-finish of the second race Daruvala drops back from the lead to fourth in the championships standings.
Sacha Fenestraz had to defend his third place against Alex Gill (Mark Burdett Motorsport) and James Allen after the restart. But the Frenchman slowly pulled away from the battle for fourth and scored his first podium in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. With Norris and Fenestraz, two Rookies stood on the overall podium.
James Allen lost out to Alex Gill at the start of the race and dropped to fifth, but took the advantage back in the closing stages to finish fourth. Behind Allen and Gill, Ferdinand Habsburg (Fortec Motorsports) ended up in seventh place after starting from 13th on the grid.
After his shunt in race one, Belgian newcomer Ghislain Cordeel (JD Motorsport) suffered from technical problems today and came home last after a pit stop.
Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “That was pretty much a perfect weekend. We were on a different strategy than most of the others because we ran a lower downforce package. The toughest part was the safety car because Max could catch me on the straight. Luckily it paid off in the end. It’s still a long way to go, but we’ll try to stay on top of course.”
Max Defourny (R-ace GP): “We could have done so much better. It was a disappointing weekend. In the free practice sessions, we were quick in all conditions. After the bad qualifying, we had zero points in race one as well. Today was better, but it’s still disappointing to be second. We have already prepared ourselves for Assen next week and we will focus on that weekend now.”
Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing): “It feels so good to be on the podium. Hopefully, it wasn’t the last podium this year. It was a difficult weekend. The qualifying was hard because of the rain. In the race yesterday, I made a big mistake. Today, the first corner was tricky as well. We had some good fights later. In the end, everything was fine.”