F4 EUROCUP 1.6 - SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS - RACE 1

01/05 - Vandoorne wins at home

Stoffel Vandoorne © DPPI

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At the end of a breathtaking race, Stoffel Vandoorne imposes himself on his own territory for the greatest pleasure of his public, of the RACB and of his compatriot Jérôme d’Ambrosio, reserve driver of the Renault F1 Team in exhibition this weekend on the R29. Paul Lanchere follows him on the podium, his 3rd in three races. But for the first and most probably not the last time, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye follows on the podium, more than performing on the layout of Spa.

Imperial during the qualifying session, the leader Stoffel Vandoorne pockets the two pole positions. The RACB National Team driver therefore occupies the best position at the departure of the first race of the weekend in front of the second year academicians Paul Lanchere and Franck Matelli followed by Norman Nato. Following the example of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, where the former academician Arthur Pic won his first victory of the season, the departure was given near the old pits, in the slope leading to Raidillon.

Stoffel Vandoorne remarkably takes off and without loosing a second, Paul Lanchere puts pressure on him whereas behind him, every driver is trying to place himself correctly and the fight is present at all levels of the group. Mathieu Jaminet and Norman Nato have a slight contact and only the latter is able to reintegrate the race but in 13th position. Behind the two at the head of the race, Franck Matelli and Jean-Baptiste Lahaye do the show by giving us an intense battle and it is finally the second named who takes the advantage, leaving the Corsican driver within the claws of Alexandre Jouannem-Sivan.

Whilst the local driver seems to irremediably dig a certain distance between himself and Lanchere as well as Lahaye, new developments continue to arise. It is now Tristan Papavoine who occupies 4th position in front of Pierre Sancinéna and Paul-Loup Chatin who firmly defends his position face to Franck Matelli. At the same time, Norman Nato comes back in points. In the following lap, Tristan Papavoine maintains his position but Sébastien Le Bras, having left 13th, is now on his back after having taken the best out of Pierre Sancinéna. The fight between these three drivers allows the quartet Matelli, Chatin, Nato and De Moura, 14th on the starting grid, to boost forward! And the least we can say is that all remains extremely uncertain; all of them are within only tenths of seconds.

If the podium is now known, we must wait for the very last corner to define the Top Ten of this breathtaking race and finally, Sébastien Le Bras pockets 4th position in front of Pierre Sancinéna, Franck Matelli, Norman Nato, the ACO Steering Wheel Alexandre Mantovani, Tristan Papavoine and Paul-Loup Chatin.

Celebrating her birthday today, the feminine Marie Baus-Coppens comes out rather disappointed with a 16th position, that is 2 rows less than her colleague Giada De Zen, member of the ‘Draco Drivers Development’ programme.

Stoffel Vandoorne: « I believe I couldn’t have done better : pole position, victory and best lap in race and I am even happier this took place in front of my public, in my country. This circuit is just so exciting and Raidillon just so impressive! »

Paul Lanchere: « I took a good departure and was able to position myself in Stoffel’s gearbox but I didn’t want to overtake him straight away… I should have done! It rained at mid race, I made a few mistakes but this remains however an excellent result and stepping onto the podium of such a mythic circuit such as Spa, is rather satisfying. »

Jean-Baptiste Lahaye: « I didn’t really think I would be on the podium today! The qualifying session was good but not exceptional seeing I was in 5th position on the starting grid. But I was able to take a good departure and then, I overtook Norman Nato and Alexandre Jouannem-Sivan and I did my best not to make any mistakes in order to guarantee this podium, the first of this season, which confirms by good results of Motorland in spite of my lack of experience in single-seater racing. »

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