Doureid Ghattas completed a clean sweep for himself and Anders Motorsport in the final Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) race at the Hungaroring amid torrentially wet conditions.
A second career victory for the German F4 graduate means he now holds an outright championship lead over team mate and compatriot Phil Hill heading to the final two rounds at the Nurburgring and Hockenheim later this month.
It also marks a fourth consecutive victory for the Anders outfit, as they continue their march at the front of the Teams’ Championship.
Gabriel Gandulia ended the weekend on a high with the runner-up spot for R-ace GP, the Argentine pushing but ultimately unable to catch and pass Ghattas in the treacherous conditions, on a circuit often referred to as ‘Monaco without the buildings’ by virtue of it’s few clear-cut overtaking opportunities.
A grid penalty put Hill at the rear of the field for the final contest and he duly completed the podium – his fourth in succession – to keep the pressure on Ghattas heading to the Eifel Mountains.
The championship reconvenes at the Nurburgring across the weekend of 14-16 September.
Doureid Ghattas (#91) said, “This was just the weekend we needed for the championship with two victories, but the difference to the fastest drivers in the Eurocup in wet conditions was too big in the wet conditions, so in that respect it could be better.
“The race itself was very tricky because of the heavy wet conditions, when we got off the line the car was sliding and getting into the wrong positions. I also had a small problem mid-race and that allowed Gabriel [Gandulia] to get closer, but my pace picked up and I was able to pull away again.
“I’m confident heading to the Nurburgring, it’s a circuit I know well and we had the official test days there before the season started, that went well so I’m going into the weekend on a positive.”
Gabriel Gandulia (#5) said, “It’s a good way to end the weekend. Our main objective was the win the race amongst the NEC cars this weekend and we didn’t quite manage it, but that’s the game sometimes.
“We know we are quite strong in qualifying, so we just have to be confident and maximise that. Starting at the back end of the field in these conditions made the start very difficult, all I could see was the rear lights of the cars ahead in the opening few laps. We’re looking for even better results at Nurburgring and Hockenheim, two circuits I’m already familiar with.”
Phil Hill (#90) said, “Dealing with the tricky circuit conditions was difficult, especially because I missed the two test days at the Nurburgring earlier this year, which were mostly in wet weather. That puts me at a slight disadvantage to the others in terms of experience, with my only wet running at Pau.
“The pace improved at the end because I didn’t have any traffic but we also had two spins – once by myself after taking too much kerb, but another after contact from #33 (Freek Schothorst) at Turn 13, which caused some minor damage.
“We’ve just had bad luck this weekend; I’ve set the fastest times in qualifying but had to start from the back. My Dad is back with us at the Nurburgring and he seems to always bring the luck in! Hopefully that’ll happen again, all I can do now is focus on Nurburgring and do my best.”