Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0

 Estoril – Race 1 - Win boosts Ricciardo's title hopes

Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula), without a win since Budapest, has been struggling of late. Yesterday, though, he returned to winning ways and earned himself a little more breathing space at the top of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings. Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) joined the Australian on the podium, while Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) was left languishing in eighth place.

The sun was shining on the Estoril circuit as the drivers took to the track for the first race of the weekend. Daniel Ricciardo stood up well to Valtteri Bottas's aggression, finishing the first lap in the lead ahead of Bottas and Roberto Merhi, another man who got an excellent start.

Several early incidents caused the safety car to be brought out. Gabriel Dias (Fortec Compétition), Daniel Zampieri (BVM Minardi Team), Pablo Montilla (Espilon Euskadi), Mathieu Arzeno (TCS Racing) and Luciano Barcheta (Hitech Junior Team) were the victims of an eventful first lap.

Five laps later, the safety car left the track and the race could get going again. Bottas was immediately right on Ricciardo's tail, but the Australian did not buckle under pressure and clung on to his lead. One lap later, at the start of lap 8, Roberto Merhi slipped past Valtteri Bottas on the outside and was soon pushing hard at Daniel Ricciardo.

In third place, Bottas was now having to work hard to hold off Jean-Éric Vergne, who himself was coming under pressure from Antonio Felix da Costa (Motopark Academy). Da Costa attempted to sneak past but Vergne held on to his fourth place. Further back, Andrea Caldarelli overtook Richard Singleton (Hitech Junior Team) to move into eighth position.

At the front of the field, the gaps between the drivers were relatively stable and Daniel Ricciardo seemed to have the measure of his rivals. The end of the race saw Anton Nebilistky (SG Formula) crash off the track. The red flags were brought out and that was that.

So Daniel Ricciardo takes his fifth race win of the season, ahead of Roberto Merhi and Valtteri Bottas. This win gives Daniel a bit of breathing space at the top of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings, but the title race is by no means over yet. Ricciardo now stands 13 points ahead of three drivers level on points: Valtteri Bottas, Roberto Merhi and Andrea Caldarelli.

Daniel Ricciardo: «Since Thursday, we haven't been at our best, but yesterday we had a really good debriefing with the whole team and we came up with the goods this morning with a nice pole position. The win was the result I was hoping for this afternoon. It'll certainly be tougher tomorrow, starting from third. I'll need a good start. It'll be an interesting race, I'm feeling good about it.»

Roberto Merhi: «I could have gone faster in qualifying if it wasn't for the red flag. I got a very good start and moved up the field on the first lap. After the safety car had gone, I managed to get past Valtteri Bottas. I then tried to get up close to Daniel Ricciardo but he was too quick.»

Valtteri Bottas: «It was a difficult race. The car was good but not perfect. I was fighting for the win, but I lost a bit of time after the safety car. Tomorrow I'm starting from pole with slightly fresher tyres.»

Pos Number Driver  Team  Laps Time GapFirst KPH 

1 12 Daniel RICCIARDO SG FORMULA 12 22:17.628 - 153.3   2 8 Roberto MERHI EPSILON EUSKADI 2 12 22:18.653 +1.025 153.2   3 11 Valtteri BOTTAS MOTOPARK ACADEMY 12 22:20.165 +2.537 153.0   4 6 Jean Eric VERGNE SG DRIVERS PROJECT 12 22:22.226 +4.598 152.8   5 70 Antonio Felix DA COSTA MOTOPARK ACADEMY 12 22:22.710 +5.082 153.1   6 10 Tobias HEGEWALD MOTOPARK ACADEMY 12 22:23.992 +6.364 153.2   7 15 Miki MONRAS SG FORMULA 12 22:25.019 +7.391 152.5   8 14 Andrea CALDARELLI SG FORMULA 12 22:26.998 +9.370 152.9   9 36 Richard SINGLETON HITECH JUNIOR TEAM 12 22:27.952 +10.324 152.4   10 41 Dean SMITH FORTEC MOTORSPORT 12 22:28.952 +11.324 152.2   11 44 Alex MORGAN FORTEC COMPETITION 12 22:29.218 +11.590 152.7   12 28 Pal VARHAUG JENZER MOTORSPORT 12 22:31.415 +13.787 151.5   13 22 Kuba GIERMAZIAK TEAM MOTOPARK 12 22:31.903 +14.275 151.6   14 27 Michele FACCIN JENZER MOTORSPORT 12 22:32.065 +14.437 151.9   15 16 Sergio CAMPANA PREMA POWERTEAM 12 22:33.223 +15.595 151.5   16 26 Adrian QUAIFE-HOBBS BVM MINARDI TEAM 12 22:33.486 +15.858 151.6   17 31 Johan JOKINEN IQUICK 12 22:33.744 +16.116 151.9   18 25 Cesar RAMOS BVM MINARDI TEAM 12 22:34.268 +16.640 151.7   19 42 Daniel MCKENZIE FORTEC MOTORSPORT 12 22:35.129 +17.501 151.6   20 18 Patrick REITERER PREMA POWERTEAM 12 22:35.888 +18.260 151.6   21 4 Ramez AZZAM SG DRIVERS PROJECT 12 22:36.258 +18.630 151.7   22 1 Jake ROSENZWEIG EPSILON EUSKADI 1 12 22:38.690 +21.062 151.6   23 39 Juan JACOBO HITECH JUNIOR RACING 12 22:40.181 +22.553 152.2   24 21 Nathanaël BERTHON BOUTSEN ENERGY RACING 12 22:42.262 +24.634 151.7   25 19 Adam KOUT KRENEK MOTORSPORT 12 22:43.068 +25.440 150.9   26 5  Anton NEBILITSKYI SG DRIVERS PROJECT 12 22:43.394 +25.766 151.1   27 17 Vasiliauskas KAZIMIERAS PREMA POWERTEAM 12 22:45.439 +27.811 151.3   28 29 Luis SANTOS JENZER MOTORSPORT 12 22:45.892 +28.264 150.3   29 30 Miguel OTEGUI IQUICK 12 22:51.707 +34.079 151.3   30 23 Juan Pablo GARCÍA TEAM MOTOPARK 12 22:57.982 +40.354 151.6   31 32 Marcelo CONCHADO AMITER GALUPPO SPORT 12 23:20.799 +1:03.171 142.7   32 71 Vinicius SAMMARONE TEAM MOTOPARK 11 21:18.909 1 Lap 151.5   33 3 Richard CAMPOLLO EPSILON EUSKADI 1 11 21:29.057 1 Lap 151.0   34 7 Albert COSTA EPSILON EUSKADI 2 11 22:23.266 1 Lap 153.6     9 Carlos MUÑOZ EPSILON EUSKADI 2 3 6:05.311   141.3     34 Mathieu ARZENO TCS RACING 2 23:40.498         38 Luciano BACHETA HITECH JUNIOR RACING 1 2:18.640         2 Pablo MONTILLA EPSILON EUSKADI 1 0           24 Daniel ZAMPIERI BVM MINARDI TEAM 0           43 Gabriel DIAS FORTEC COMPETITION 0