Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 - Zolder - Race 2
Groppi strikes again!
Laurent Groppi (Graff Racing) made it two Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 wins out of two this weekend. The Frenchman had a superb race, having started from the third row of the grid. Unable to hold on the lead, Bertrand Baguette (Epsilon Euskadi) was far from disappointed to finish second, although he would have loved for his home crowd to hear their national anthem played. Poleman Xavier Maasen (JD Motorsport) completed the top three places.
Maasen was quickest off the blocks ahead of Baguette, who got the better of Maasen's fellow front row starter Tom Dillmann (SG Formula). Groppi also got off to a good start which allowed him to move up to fourth. Further back, Team Jenzer teammates Walter Grubmuller and Marco Frezza collided. The first lap was disastrous for Chris Van der Drift, who fell way back in the race order.
Bertrand Baguette began to push hard so as to prevent Xavier Maasen from pulling clear. A few lengths back, Tom Dillmann was trying to hold off the efforts of Laurent Groppi. His teammate Carlo Van Dam was having less luck, who span after being ran into by Adrian Zaugg.
On lap 3, Dillmann made a minor error, sufficient to open the door for Groppi. The winner of the first race then worked hard to close the gap to the Maasen/Baguette duo. Kasper Andersen, who was lying in 13th position, made a mistake and went off on lap 5.
Bertrand Baguette finally found a way past Xavier Maasen on lap 6. Just behind, Laurent Groppi took full advantage of Baguette's move to catch the Dutch driver with his guard down and take second place from him! This allowed Tom Dillmann, Atte Mustonen (Koiranen) and Filipe Albuquerque (Motopark) to gain some ground on the leading three.
The race was exciting right throughout the field. Back in thirteenth, Nathan Antunes (Motopark) had to really push hard to hold off a group of fearless drivers that included Dani Clos (Jenzer), Frédéric Vervisch (SL Formula), Edoardo Mortara (Prema), Mathieu Arzeno (Graff) and Junior Strous (Jenzer)!
Nathan Antunes's race ended prematurely, however, when he was left stranded in the gravel trap on lap 10, following a collision. The going was hard for the Red Bull drivers as Hartley added his name to the list of retirements when he collided with Frédéric Vervisch.
At this stage, behind Baguette, Groppi, Maasen, Dillmann, Mustonen and Albuquerque, the top 10 was completed by Frederico Muggia (BVM), Mervyn Kool (AR Motorsport), Adrian Zaugg and Dani Clos.
At the front, the battle for victory was far from over. With four laps to go, Groppi closed right up to Baguette in an attempt to intimidate his rival. Just as he did yesterday against Van der Drift, the French Championship leader was simply unbeatable and managed to find a way past on lap 16. He pulled clear immediately and held on for his second consecutive win! On the penultimate lap, Zaugg wrestled 8th place away from Kool.
Laurent Groppi: «I got away to a good start and the car was perfect throughout the race. It was a lot easier than yesterday!»
Bertrand Baguette: «Laurent was strong, too strong for me, particularly in the closing stages. But I'm very happy to have finished on the podium twice.»
Xavier Maasen: «Laurent and Bertrand were just too quick, but it's good to be on the podium after a disappointing qualifying session. It augurs well for the rest of the season."
More releases from ZolderPresentation - It's now or never…
Qualifying - Groppi straight in at number 1!
Race 1 - Nice one, Groppi!
Race 2 - Groppi strikes again!
Classifications from ZolderQualifying