The 2018 Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) season marks the halfway stage at the world-famous Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps this weekend [28-29 July], with a brand new race winner guaranteed.
Gabriel Gandulia (R-ace GP) and Anders Motorsport’s Doureid Ghattas arrive at the iconic 7km circuit in joint command of the championship standings, but after a stellar weekend at Monza Ghattas’ team mate Phil Hill is now breathing down their necks.
Sharon Scolari also enjoyed an improved showing in Italy and could make history this weekend as the first female racer to take a podium finish in the highly-competitive series.
With each of the quartet yet to score an outright victory in the category, at least one new victor is set to emerge from the weekend’s double header.
The trip to the Ardennes Forest also signals the start of a three-race stint alongside the Formula Renault Eurocup, the next stage on Renault Sport Racing’s junior single-seater ladder.
The continued partnership between the two championships will present the NEC field with an opportunity to measure their skills against some of Europe’s finest talents as they continue to develop with the 2.0 litre Formula Renault car.
First, however, they will have to tackle the unique challenges that Spa presents, as NEC Data Engineer Edwin van den Heuvel explains.
“Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most famous circuits in the world for a reason,” he explained.
“Eau Rouge is arguably the greatest challenge with high G-forces as a result of the suspension compression through the corner, but the second sector of the lap is also one of the most technical on the calendar.
“There are plenty of overtaking opportunities around the lap, particularly at La Source and the chicane at Les Combes. It has the greatest number of gradient changes on the calendar, and also features the longest lap and the longest period of time spent at full-throttle all season down the Kemmel Straight.
“A strong set of results will be crucial here for drivers to carry the momentum into the summer break.”
As usual, both races will be streamed online – in this case through the Renault Sport YouTube channel and social media platforms – with up-to-date coverage available on the official championship website (www.necup.com) as well as social media.
Thursday 26th July:
13:55: Collective Testing (50 mins)
17:25: Qualifying 1 (2 x 15 mins)
Friday 27th July:
11:55: Qualifying 2 (2 x 15 mins)
16:05: Race 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
Saturday 28th July:
11:45: Race 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)