Fenestraz takes fantastic win at Paul Ricard to stay on top of Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Championship
The 18-year-old Josef Kaufmann Racing driver kept his composure to finish second in the second race – but was awarded the win after a later disqualification. The feat was even more impressive coming off the back of a heart-stopping moment that saw him clipped and roll while on for the win in race one. Amazingly, he was able to walk away unscathed – before returning to race the following day. And the ADD Motorsports-supported driver was delighted to get the points that saw him keep a 27-point gap at the top of the leaderboard. He said: “It was really good to get the win in the second race, we deserved it after what happened the day before. “It was a silly move. He tried to overtake me and touched me and I just flew and flipped over. It was scary. I’ve never had a crash before and my first one saw me roll! I was expecting another car to hit me as I was rolling, but thankfully no one did. “Luckily, I was fine. My knee hurt a bit, but I didn’t think about it when I went back out the next day. “The team had to change everything with the car – they did an amazing job to get it back together. “It’s great to be in the lead still, but there’s a lot of work to do.”
After two wins in the last two rounds, Sacha came back from the summer break full of confidence and raring to go. He hit the ground running in the first practice with the fastest time and after some changes to the car finished second in the next. He was fastest in his group in the first qualifying session, but going in the slower first group he finished second fastest overall. In the second one he set off in the second group and topped the timesheets overall with a time of 2:04.570, leaving him pole for the first race. Sacha got off to a good start in the first race and was still in front when a safety car was bought on during lap 10. The race resumed on the last lap and Shwartzman attempted an ambitious move to pass on the inside at the chicane. But he touched Sacha’s car and sent it into the air, leading to the vehicle rolling and the driver upside-down. While he went on to win, he was later given a 25-second penalty. Meanwhile, Sacha was fortunate to escape unhurt, although he was taken to hospital for a check-up where he was given the all-clear.
Sacha Fenestraz: "Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into the next round and take the points again that keep me at the top!"
With the car badly damaged, the team worked around the clock to be ready for race two on Sunday - changing the monocoque and with Sacha having to adapt to the new car. But impressively, neither the accident or the changes affected him and he got off to another confident start – keeping his second-place position until the end of the race. Later on he had even more reason to celebrate after finding out he had been awarded the win after Shwartzman was disqualified, when technical verifications discovered modifications that made the car non-compliant. More importantly, it left Sacha on 260 points, 27 ahead of second place and 52 in front of third, with the penultimate round at Spa next up on September 22-24. He added: "We were really fast again this weekend and even after all the changes that needed to take place we were still really fast. It showed how well the team did. There were a few problems with the gearbox and clutch, but I managed to keep going.“Flipping like that was a real shock, but the past is in the past, I'm sure he didn't mean it. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum going into the next round and take the points again that keep me at the top.”