Manor MP Motorsport’s Steijn Schothorst increased his lead of the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, 26th July, after claiming his maiden category victory during the ninth round of the season.
Schothorst actually took the chequered flag in second position but a 30 second time penalty for Kevin Jorg, as a result of a jump-start, enabled the Manor MP Motorsport driver to win and reclaim the series lead.
“We’re really happy for Steijn he’s taken his first win of the season, we knew it was only a matter of time before he did it”, said team manager Sander Dorsman, “The most important thing this weekend was to try and extend the championship lead, we’ve done that so everyone in the team is really pleased. Steijn has shown good pace and it’s been a very strong event for him.”
Beginning the ninth round from third on the grid, Schothorst made a good getaway to climb into second place and remained there throughout fending off the challenge of Louis Deletraz. The action was twice interrupted by Safety Car interventions, the first coming early on and the second actually running to the chequered flag.
Following a two-car incident at Les Combes, the Safety Car was re-deployed in time for the start of lap seven and the action ran to the end of the following lap under caution. Confirming Schothorst’s pace, his best lap of 2m21.681 seconds was the second fastest of the race.
During Friday afternoon’s encounter, Schothorst made superb progress on the opening lap from sixth on the grid to leap into the top four but no further gains were possible and he remained there for the 11-lap duration during a very uneventful contest.
South American team-mate Julio Moreno achieved a best finish of 12th position in the weekend’s opening encounter after an excellent showing. Posting an impressive 11th fastest time in qualifying, Moreno slipped to 12th on lap one but regained the lost ground at the midway point of the race.
Staying ahead of the recovering Raoul Owens for several laps, Moreno slipped behind his rival on lap nine to conclude the encounter back in 12th position but the result marked his best of the season so far and continued his unbroken run of points finishes.
For round nine, the Ecuadorian lined-up in 16th position but was edged back to 18th place prior to the first Safety Car period. Elbowed down to the tail of the top 20 at the re-start, Moreno determinedly tried to recover as well as possible and eventually finished the race back in 16th place. His two Spa results enabled him to climb into 17th position in the championship.
“Julio’s performance in race one was fantastic, he really deserved his first top 12 and hopefully he can build on that for the next round in Assen next weekend”, added Dorsman, “The whole team is going there feeling pretty confident, we’re really looking forward to it”
Manor MP Motorsport’s Formula Renault 2.0 NEC squad now heads back to home ground in The Netherlands for the fifth event of the 2014 season at Assen next weekend, 2nd/3rd August.
Provisional 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Driver Standings (after Rd9):1st Steijn Schothorst, 169pts; 17th Julio Moreno, 45pts; 21st Andrea Pizzitola, 36pts; 24th Philip Morin, 25pts
Provisional 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Team Standings (after Rd9):3rd Manor MP Motorsport, 173pts