The gang of four
Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula), Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula), Valtteri Bottas (Motorpark Academy) and Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) have clearly marked themselves out from the competition. The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 will be played out between these four promising young drivers. Winners at the Nürburgring meeting last weekend, Merhi and Bottas are hoping that the end of the season will a favourable one.
Sometimes, it only takes the smallest detail to turn things around. This is what Roberto Merhi and Valtteri Bottas should be reminding themselves of. For Merhi, the German meeting came as something of a relief. The seventeen-year old drove to his first Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 victory. Having come close on several occasions, Merhi lacked success until now. As a result, winning a race had clearly become his goal for the end of the season. The job was taken care of last weekend, especially when his success was compounded by a second place the following day. The Spaniard is still in with a chance of the title!
Meanwhile, Valtteri Bottas had to make a fresh start at the Nürburgring after a barren weekend in Hungary. Second on Saturday and first on Sunday, the Finn did everything in his power to rejoin the fight for the title. Bottas looked unstoppable last Sunday when he carried off three wins in the same day: one in Formula Renault 2.0 and two in Formula Renault 2.0 North European Cup.
While all this was happening, the SG Formula drivers were looking very ordinary. Finishing third and fifth, Daniel Ricciardo had his least successful weekend this season. Andrea Caldarelli also broke his run of four consecutive podium finishes by finishing fifth in the first race. Caldarelli remains the only one of the ‘gang of four' not to have won a race.
But SG Formula are once again the team to fear the most at Le Mans, as they are on home turf, not far from their headquarters. Stéphane Guérin and his team will be busy this weekend, as they will also be competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. A category in which Daniel Ricciardo, Andrea Caldarelli and Roberto Merhi are all preparing to do battle for the title…
With 42 cars on the track, the list of potential winners is still long. Tobias Hegewald (Motopark Academy), Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) or even César Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) are all in the mix.
However, the smart money will be on the French contingent at Le Mans. Jean-Éric Vergne (SG Formula) is just one of a number of drivers who learned their craft at the Le Mans Auto Sport Academy. Quick in qualifying, the 2007 Formula Campus champion has yet to convert his performance into points. A podium finish is well within his reach on a track which he knows like the back of his hand.
At Epsilon Sport, Mathieu Arzeno makes his return alongside Bastien Borget and Stéphane Richelmi. Absent since Hungary, Arzeno has what it takes to shake up the established order on a track which holds no secrets for him.
N° Teams (Home country) Drivers (Home country – ASN) 1 EPSILON EUSKADI 1 (ESP) Jake ROSENZWEIG (USA – USA) 2 EPSILON EUSKADI 1 (ESP) Pablo MONTILLA (ESP – ESP) 3 EPSILON EUSKADI 1 (ESP) Richard CAMPOLLO (DOM – ESP) 4 SG DRIVERS PROJECT (FRA) Ramez AZZAM (CAN – DUB) 5 SG DRIVERS PROJECT (FRA) Antón NEBILITSKYI (RUS – RUS) 6 SG DRIVERS PROJECT (FRA) Jean Eric VERGNE (FRA – FRA) 7 EPSILON EUSKADI 2 (ESP) Albert COSTA (ESP – ESP) 8 EPSILON EUSKADI 2 (ESP) Roberto MERHI (ESP – ESP) 9 EPSILON EUSKADI 2 (ESP) Carlos MUÑOZ (COL – ESP) 10 MOTOPARK ACADEMY (GER) Tobias HEGEWALD (GER – GER) 11 MOTOPARK ACADEMY (GER) Valtteri BOTTAS (FIN – FIN) 12 SG FORMULA (FRA) Daniel RICCIARDO (AUS – AUS) 14 SG FORMULA (FRA) Andrea CALDARELLI (ITA – ITA) 15 SG FORMULA (FRA Alexander SIMS (GBR – GBR) 16 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Sergio CAMPANA (ITA - ITA) 17 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Vasiliauskas KAZIMIERAS (LIT - LIT) 18 PREMA POWERTEAM (ITA) Patrick REITERER (ITA - ITA) 19 KRENEK MOTORSPORT (CZE) Adam KOUT (CZE - CZE) 21 BOUTSEN ENERGY RACING (BEL) Nathanaël BERTHON (FRA - FRA) 22 TEAM MOTOPARK (GER) Kuba GIERMAZIAK (POL -POL) 23 TEAM MOTOPARK (GER) Juan Pablo GARCÍA (MEX - MEX) 24 BVM MINARDI TEAM (ITA) Daniel ZAMPIERI (ITA - ITA) 25 BVM MINARDI TEAM (ITA) Cesar RAMOS (BRA - BRA) 26 BVM MINARDI TEAM (ITA) Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS (GBR - GBR) 27 JENZER MOTORSPORT (SUI) Michele FACCIN (ITA - ITA) 28 JENZER MOTORSPORT (SUI) Pal VARHAUG (NOR - NOR) 29 JENZER MOTORSPORT (SUI) TBC 30 IQUICK (ESP) Miguel OTEGUI (ESP - ESP) 31 IQUICK (ESP) Himar ACOSTA (ESP - ESP) 32 AMITER GALUPPO (ESP) Marcelo CONCHADO (ESP - ESP) 33 EPSILON SPORT (FRA) Bastien BORGET (FRA - FRA) 34 EPSILON SPORT (FRA) Mathieu ARZENO (FRA - FRA) 35 EPSILON SPORT (FRA) Stephane RICHELMI (MON - MON) 36 HITECH JUNIOR TEAM (GBR) Richard SINGLETON (GBR - GBR) 37 HITECH JUNIOR TEAM (GBR) Miki MONRAS (ESP - ESP) 38 HITECH JUNIOR RACING (GBR) Luciano BACHETA (GBR - GBR) 39 HITECH JUNIOR RACING (GBR) Juan JACOBO (COL - COL) 40 RB RACING TEAM (CRO) Dino BUTORAC (CRO - CRO) 41 FORTEC MOTORSPORT (GBR) Dean SMITH (GBR - GBR) 42 FORTEC MOTORSPORT (GBR) Daniel MCKENZIE (GBR - GBR) 43 FORTEC COMPETITION (GBR) Gabriel DIAS (BRA - BRA) 44 FORTEC COMPETITION (GBR) Alex MORGAN (GBR - GBR) 45 TCS RACING (FRA) Nicolas MARROC (FRA - FRA)