One day after his 17th birthday, Russian Robert Shwartzman (Josef Kaufmann Racing) won his first Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup race. Shwartzman passed his teammate Lando Norris at the start of the penultimate weekend’s first encounter at the Nürburgring. Coming home in second, Norris scored a double success for Josef Kaufmann Racing and increases his championship lead. Max Defourny (R-ace GP) keeps up the pressure with a third place finish.
In qualifying, Norris and Shwartzman had already locked out the front row for Josef Kaufmann Racing. For Norris, it was the eighth pole position in eleven races. In contrast, Shwartzman started with a clear view on the first corner for the first time.
SHWARTZMAN MANAGES THE SAFETY CAR FAULTLESSLY
A better getaway at the lights than Lando Norris’ enabled Robert Shwartzman to lead the 24 car field into the first corner. Julia Pankiewicz’s (AVF by Adrián Vallés) race ended right there with a broken front suspension after contact with Kasper Larsen (KEO Racing). Her teammate, Nerses Isaakyan, spun out and got stuck on the curb. With the two cars being towed off the track, the Safety Car took the lead of the 22 remaining cars for two laps.
With a clean restart, Shwartzman kept the advantage over Norris. Halfway through the race, the SMP Racing backed Russian was in full control. With Norris gaining ground shortly before the end of the race, Shwartzman had to put up a strong defence to Norris. But the young Briton had to settle for the runner up spot and was happy for his teammate to score his first victory.
With his maiden victory, Shwartzman became the fifth driver to win a race this season. It was also the sixth time in eleven races that a rookie driver scores the overall honours.
TITLE CONTENDERS KEEP THE PRESSURE ON NORRIS
Behind Lando Norris, the Briton’s championship rivals lined up. Max Defourny made the best out of his chances and finished in third place. Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) came home fourth. Both closed in on the current second placed driver in the championship, Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing), who took the flag in fifth.
TOUGH BATLLES BEHIND CHAMPIONSHIP RIVALS
Sacha Fenestraz (R-ace GP) had started from third on the grid, but lost out against the championship contenders at the start. The Frenchman battled with his teammate Boccolacci all race long but finally had to settle for sixth.
Alex Gill (Mark Burdett Motorsport) and Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing) came home in seventh and eighth. Behind, Bruno Baptista, Ferdinand Habsburg (both Fortec Motorsports), and Julien Falchero (R-ace GP) showed their race craft for the final top ten positions.
Bartłomiej Mirecki (BM Racing Team) brought home a fine twelfth place after holding off Gabriel Aubry (Tech 1 Racing) and James Allen (JD Motorsport).
In his first race, New Zealand karting star Marcus Armstrong (R-ace GP) kept a fighting Henrique Chaves (AVF by Adrián Vallés) behind him in a close fight for 15th position.
ONE-TWO-THREE FOR JOSEF KAUFMANN RACING IN RACE TWO GRID
After a front row lockout in race one, all three Josef Kaufmann Racing drivers start the second race from the three top positions. Race two is broadcasted on www.formularenault.tv on Sunday, 18 September, from 09.50 hrs.
Robert Shwartzman (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “I’m very happy. The race was tough. My teammate Lando was quick. I could take the lead on the inside in turn one. During the safety car period, I could calm down and think about the race. I could keep the lead, but Lando caught up in the end. The team taught me so much about racing, so I could finally win a race in this championship.”
Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “The second place is good. I beat who I needed to beat. The race was okay, but the start didn’t go to plan. At least, my teammate got his first win. I’d like to congratulate him. He didn’t do any mistakes.”
Max Defourny (R-ace GP): “We did the best we could do today. We struggled with the pace since qualifying. Of course I’m not happy. The car’s balance was weird. We need to sort that out for tomorrow.”