This week the Formula Renault Eurocup heads to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the fifth of its ten-round calendar. The battle promises to be intense at this motor racing landmark with five drivers ready to battle for the general classification lead before the summer break.
A fixture in all top-flight championships, Spa-Francorchamps is one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar with race craft, draft management and the ability to adapt to often capricious weather conditions rewarded.
This meeting will be that much more important as the title contenders want to take the psychological upper hand on their rivals ahead of the summer hiatus. The entire field will then be able to recharge their batteries before the second half of the season with four rounds in six weeks prior to the Abu Dhabi season finale.
The fight resumes!
Atop the general classification since their Monaco wins, Victor Martins (MP Motorsport) and Alexander Smolyar (R-ace GP) come to Belgium separated by just three points.
Extremely consistent so far, the French driver of the Renault Sport Academy will look to continue his streak of five consecutive podium results on a circuit he won on last year. For his part, the Russian will try to take the championship lead by relying on his speed that has seen him score two wins and three runner-up finishes this season.
Slightly off the radar since his Silverstone double, Oscar Piastri (R-ace GP) is just nine points back of the leader. At the track where he took his maiden Formula Renault Eurocup podium, the Australian is another favourite, as is Lorenzo Colombo (MP Motorsport). Free from any kind of pressure thanks to a masterful performance at Le Castellet, the Italian driver will be a tough contender on the track where he got a pole position last year.
Rookies on the lookout
Currently fifth in the general classification, Caio Collet (R-ace GP) could too possibly become the leader before the second half of the season begins.
With four Hankook Trophies to date, the Brazilian driver of the Renault Sport Academy wants to increase his 22-point lead from countryman João Vieira (JD Motorsport) and Ugo de Wilde (JD Motorsport). The only rookie to claim an overall win so far this year, the Belgian native wants to return to the podium, which has been out of his reach since his win at Monza.
Kush Maini (M2 Competition) and Renault Sport Affiliated driver Leonardo Lorandi (JD Motorsport) also sprayed the bubbly after the debut race for the Formula Renault FR-19. Slightly in the rears, they are now preparing to get back behind the wheel to gain as much ground as they can to Caio Collet before the summer break.
Outsiders aiming to strike back
Ten drivers have experienced the joy of finishing on the podium so far in 2019. You have to go back to 2015 to find a campaign this competitive at this point of the year. This number could quickly grow with so many ambitious competitors though. Fifth at Circuit Paul Ricard, Sebastián Fernández (Arden Motorsport) hopes to keep the momentum going on the same circuit he scored his best result in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship last year.
Leaving Castellet empty-handed, Patrik Pasma (Arden Motorsport) will push hard to bounce back and regain some ground on Xavier Lloveras (Global Racing Service), Frank Bird (Arden Motorsport) and Amaury Cordeel (MP Motorsport), who all left the south of France full of confidence after returning to the top ten with the last driver mentioned even more dangerous as he competes in front of his supporters.
Bhaitech Racing’s Petr Ptáček and Federico Malvestiti doubled their efforts during the break to try to return to the points-paying positions that have escaped them since the third place of the Czech driver at Silverstone in early May. He has kept busy and claimed a podium and pole position in the Asian Formula 3 Championship at Suzuka.
Alessio Deledda (Global Racing Service) also raced in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship to accelerate his learning process. The Italian hopes to demonstrate the extent of his progress by scoring his first points in Belgium and Brad Benavides (FA Racing by Drivex) will have the same goals with his new team mates Rui Andrade, who has been competing in the Euroformula Open, and Franco Colapinto, who leads the Spanish F4 Championship. Meanwhile, Callan O’Keeffe will join M2 Competition.
Scheduled for Friday at 14:25 and Saturday at 10:50, the two Formula Renault Eurocup races held in support of the Total 24 Hours of Spa will be aired on the Renault Sport Series Facebook page as well as the Renault Sport Youtube channel.
• 1 Victor Martins is the only driver who scored points in every race so far this season.
• 2 Belgian drivers will race on their home track: Amaury Cordeel and Ugo de Wilde.
• 27. In the single-spec era of the Formula Renault Eurocup, 27 races have been held at Spa-Francorchamps, more than any other track.
• 30 %. 8 times from the 27 races, the pole winner has gone on to victory. This is the lowest rate among the tracks on the 2019 calendar
• 2000. In the aftermath of his first F1 test, Kimi Räikkönen impressed again in the Formula Renault Eurocup by scoring at Spa-Francorchamps his 13th victory in his 23rd and last race in the junior formulas before joining the elite.
• 7004 metres. The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the longest of the season.
Wednesday 24 July 2019
9:00-9:55 Official session 1
11:00-11:50 Official session 2
14:00-15:00 Official session 3
16:10-17:00 Collective test 1
Thursday 25 July 2019
9:00-9:50 Collective test 2
17:25-17:45 Qualifying 1
Friday 26 July 2019
10:30-10:50 Qualifying 2
14:30-15:05 Race 1
Saturday 27 July 2019
10:50-11:25 Race 2