The first two in the overall Formula Renault West European Cup classification left Portugal neck and neck. In Estoril Australian Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) and Spaniard Roberto Mehri (Epsilon Euskadi) scored a victory and a rostrum finish each. The next round is this coming weekend on the magnificent Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.
Race 1Albert Costa (Epsilon Euskadi) on pole crept forward before the lights went out and then remained stuck on the grid. Daniel Ricciardo took advantage of this to hit the front from Jean-Eric Vergne (SG Formula) and Roberto Mehri. Andrea Calderelli (SG Formula) was eliminated immediately when his left-hand rear wheel was torn off.
Ricciardo and Vergne set the pace and tried to open up a gap over Mehri who was under threat from Tristan Vautier (SG Formula). A little further back came Daniel McKenzie leading a tightly-packed group of pursuers.
The positions up front stabilised and Ricciardo opened up a gap of almost 2 seconds over his team-mate Vergne who was 2 seconds ahead of Mehri. There were no changes in the first three until the chequered flag. Behind, there was a no-holds-barred scrap for fifth place, and at the very end of the race Jake Rosenzweig (Epsilon Euskadi) passed Miki Monros (SG Formula) and Daniel McKenzie.
Race 2Daniel Ricciardo was on pole but Roberto Mehri shot past him in the first corner. Next up were Albert Costa and Tristan Vautier.
Costa attacked Ricciardo but the Australian wasn’t having any and hung on to his second place. Mehri took advantage of this to pull away. Vergne and Caldarelli were at it hammer and tongs in the pack. The Frenchman retook sixth place at the end of the pits straight.
At half distance Mehri seemed to have the race under control and was over 2 seconds ahead of Ricciardo. The leader of the WEC was no longer under threat from Costa who was 2 seconds behind. In fourth was Vautier followed by Rosenzweig under pressure from Vergne.
And so Mehri scored his first victory of the season from Ricciardo who is still in first place in the overall Formula Renault 2.0 WEC Championship. Vautier took a rostrum finish by passing Costa on the last lap with a few corners to go to the chequered flag.
Roberto Mehri: “At last I’ve won a WEC race. I made a good start yet again and I went into the lead. Then I pushed hard to open up a gap. Our car was very quick. There are several races left in the WEC so I’ve still got enough time to close the gap to the leader.
Daniel Ricciardo: “It’s been a positive weekend in Formula Renault WEC. I feel pretty confident for Spa-Francorchamps on which I won in Eurocup. I hope it’ll be the same again. It’s not easy to race in two championships at the same time. I just have to take the races one after another without thinking about anything else.”
Tristan Vautier: “I’m really happy to be back on the rostrum. I caught Costa at the end of the race and I managed to get past him on the last lap. I’m delighted. I’d like to thank the whole team as we’ve all done a good job at SG Formula. My next aim is to win a race!”