French Dorian Boccolacci and his Team Tech 1 Racing, both newcomers to the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, won the thrilling opening race at Monza in Italy. Russian Nikita Troitskiy (Fortec Motorsports) and Briton Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing) finished second and third. The top three thus made up an all-newcomer podium.
Pole setter Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) came home fourth. Light rainfall towards the end kept the slipstream battles unpredictable.
Jehan Daruvala managed to stay ahead on lap one. From third place on the grid, Dorian Boccolacci passed Lando Norris on the opening lap and soon overtook Daruvala as well. With numerous position changes behind, the first seven cars made up the leading group for a while.
BOCCOLACCI PULLS AWAY, TROITSKIY MOVES FORWARD
With ongoing battles behind him, European Formula 3 graduate Boccolacci pulled away. Nikita Troitskiy had started from fourth and passed the two Josef Kaufmann Racing cars to move up into second place.
With positions one and two sorted, Daruvala and Norris fought for the last podium spot. Increasing rainfall made attacking tricky. MSA Formula champion Norris got past his teammate to secure a trophy.
THREE NEWCOMERS AND TWO ROOKIES ON THE PODIUM
Dorian Boccolacci’s maiden win is also an important success for Eurocup-experienced Tech 1 Racing from Toulouse, which is new to the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup. SMP Formula 4 NEZ graduate Nikita Troitskiy overcame his little experience in the Formula Renault 2.0 car by becoming not only second, but also by winning the Rookie class for the under-18-year-old drivers. Lando Norris was second-best Rookie.
Behind his two teammates, Robert Shwartzman (Josef Kaufmann Racing) finished in fifth ahead of two further Tech 1 Racing drivers, Sacha Fenestraz and Gabriel Aubry. Vasily Romanov (Fortec Motorsports), Alex Gill (Mark Burdett Motorsport), and Hugo de Sadeleer (Tech 1 Racing) completed the top ten positions.
DEFOURNY STRUGGELS WHEREAS GERMAN HÖRR LANDS UNEXPECTED SUCCESS
Tomorrow’s pole setter Max Defourny (R-ace GP) had to pit halfway through the race with gearbox issues. The 2015 Rookie champion reached the finish line in 19th position.
Julien Falchero (R-ace GP), Alexej Korneev (JD Motorsport), and Nerses Isaakyan (AVF by Adrián Vallés) piled up in the first chicane and had to retire.
Laurents Hörr (Dutt Motorsport) went into twelfth place from the last grid position. The German newcomer had collected little mileage due to technical issues on Friday, but could gain some ground under the tricky conditions.
DEFOURNY AND DARUVALA TARGET DAMAGE LIMITATION ON SUNDAY
Both Max Defourny and Jehan Daruvala will share the front row for the second race. Will Palmer (R-ace GP) will start from third. In race one, Palmer finished in 13th place. His brother Jolyon, Renault Formula 1 driver, presented the trophies at the podium ceremony. Today’s winner Boccolacci will start from sixth spot tomorrow.
From 10.15 hrs. local time on Sunday, the second race can be watched on www.formularenault.tv with English commentary and on www.renault-sport.de with German commentary.
Dorian Boccolacci (Tech 1 Racing): « I could pass both of the Kaufmann cars. Later it was hard to make no mistakes in the rain. If you turn too quickly under braking, the tyres lock. This happened to me. With one flat spot already, the tyres locked up several times again. But the car was great. It’s also a nice result for Tech 1 Racing at their debut in this championship. »
Nikita Troitskiy (Fortec Motorsports): « The race was successful, but really hard because it was rainy. Luckily, I could keep the gap towards Lando. I needed to adapt to the brakes. They are quite different to the ones I was used to in Formula 4. »
Lando Norris (Josef Kaufmann Racing): « The rain made it tricky. There were only two corners that were completely wet. But it’s hard to know how wet it is coming into the corner and to judge the braking point. Starting from second, it’s not perfect ending up third. Still we got good points for the championship. »