Stoffel Vandoorne (Josef Kaufmann Racing) completed a dominant weekend at the Nürburgring that sees him walk away with two pole positions, two race victories and two fastest race laps. Thanks to this perfect effort, the RACB National Team driver takes the lead in the overall championship standings. Melville McKee (Interwetten.com Racing), who started in 32nd, and Pierre Gasly (R-Ace GP) completed the podium at the end of an eventful race, in which slick tyres proved to be the smart choice after a few laps.
Stoffel Vandoorne took his second consecutive pole position in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, and in doing so recorded the fastest lap in the FR 2.0 single-seater on the Nürburgring circuit. Vandoorne shared the front row of the grid with overall championship leader Daniil Kvyat (Koiranen Motorsport). The two men adopted different approaches at the start of the race. With the track still damp in places, Russian driver Kvyat opted for wet tyres, with his Belgian rival Vandoorne choosing slicks. On the second row, Pierre Gasly (R-Ace Grand Prix) also started with slicks, while Olivier Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) decided to go with treaded rubber.
At the start, the drivers on wet tyres made the best getaway. Kvyat led from Rowland in the early stages, with Mikko Pakari and Vandoorne following behind. Oscar Tunjo, who started in 13th, did brilliantly to move up to seventh place, just behind Galsy.
On the second lap, Kvyat and Rowland both made mistakes. Kvyat’s error caused him to fall all the way back to seventh, while British driver Rowland was involved in a collision with Alexander Albon (Epic Racing) and Meindert Van Buuren (Manor MP Motorsport). The safety car came out in front of new race leader Mikko Pakari. The Finn, driving on wet tyres, led the field ahead of Vandoorne, William Vermont (Arta Engineering), Oscar Tunjo (Tech 1 Racing), Esteban Ocon (Koiranen Motorpsort), Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat. At the restart, Vermont was overtaken by Tunjo and Ocon, before receiving a drive-through penalty for changing his tyres on the starting grid after the permitted time limit had passed.
The drivers with slick tyres soon made their advantage count. Vandoorne took the lead on the fifth lap and immediately began to pull away from the chasing pack. Behind him, the race order was changing apace. Melville McKee (Interwetten.com Racing), who started the race in 32nd, overtook one car after another before eventually settling in second place, ahead of Gasly and Chatin. Those on wet tyres, meanwhile, dropped down the field and out of contention.
Vandoorne went on to complete a dominant victory – his second in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 – and with it move to the top of the overall championship standings. McKee took second place to record the best result of his fledgling Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 career, while Gasly finished on the podium for the second time this season.
What they said:
Stoffel Vandoorne: “The tyre choice wasn’t easy to make at the start, because the track was still very damp. But my team advised me to go with slicks, so I decided it was best to listen to the Germans in Germany! The opening laps were not easy, and I had to stay calm. You can’t do better than two poles and two victories. What a weekend! I’m now top of the overall standings. I love getting to know new circuits, so I can’t wait to be at Moscow Raceway.”
Melville McKee: “We haven’t had much success since the start of the season. This result will do us good. I started at the back of the grid, and I gambled on slick tyres. The opening laps were great. The grip got better and better and I overtook three or four cars each lap. Once I reached second place, I managed my race as Stoffel was too far in front.”
Pierre Gasly: “I was worried at the start, because it wasn’t easy to stay on the track on slicks. I didn’t make any mistakes and it paid off. It’s my second podium, which is important in terms of championship points as it takes me up into fifth place. This is my first season in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, so it’s a good start.”
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