MEDIA RELEASE/Pat Heuzenroeder - Photo: supplied Teenage Australian racing driver, Pat Heuzenroeder, has been invited…
PRESS RELEASE/Oscar Piastri – photo: supplied
Oscar Piastri returned to the podium in the Formula Renault Eurocup last weekend (May 31-June 2) as the series completed a Riviera double-header which started in Monte Carlo and finished at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France.
The R-ace GP driver took a solid second place finish in the first race on Saturday, despite some late pressure from championship rival Victor Martins, and recovered brilliantly from a stall in race two to secure a sixth-place finish and remain firmly in the title fight.
The only driver who was able to get close to pole sitter Lorenzo Colombo in either qualifying session, starting second for both contests, Oscar made a good start in race one and pressured the MP Motorsport driver for the lead, but was squeezed on to the kerb on the side of the circuit in the run to turn one, briefly getting airborne, before slotting back in to second place.
After a Safety Car period the Australian settled in behind Colombo and ran a largely trouble-free race to the flag, though in the closing stages he had to turn his attentions to a rapid Martins behind, but had enough to keep his position and take his third podium of the year.
Things were far more exciting for Oscar during Sunday’s race, however. Releasing the clutch too quickly at the start he briefly stalled before getting his FR-19 machine moving once again in 12th position. Things got even worse though as he ran wide at turn five, falling back to 18th, with a good result looking unlikely.
Showing his talent behind the wheel, the 18-year old started to reel in those ahead, passing rivals all over the 5.8km circuit. Within six laps he was inside the top ten, but didn’t stop there, making his final move at the last corner, on the last lap, to grab sixth position by just 0.134s in a three-way photo finish.
By securing those important eight championship points, Oscar remains third in the standings, just nine points off of the leader approaching the mid-season point. There is now a long eight-week break before the next round at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, where the Formula Renault Eurocup will race before the 24 Hours of Spa.
“I think we could get reasonably close to matching Lorenzo in qualifying – our one lap pace was better than our race pace for sure – but MP were a bit too quick this weekend, said Piastri.
“In race one I didn’t see the kerb until I got close so I couldn’t avoid it. It didn’t do any major damage, maybe took a little bit out of the floor, but it wouldn’t have made a massive difference. It was a pretty boring race before the last few laps when Martins caught me at a good rate and kept me on my toes, but not a lot happened.
“I stalled at the start of race two when I released the clutch too much and that was it. I went for the outside going in to turn five, thinking it would be a good move, but there was so much rubber I got on the marbles, drifted off [the track] and couldn’t get back on, which made it even worse.
“I was a bit frustrated, but after three or four laps where I saw I was passing people I thought I could get to the points. I passed De Wilde into the second last corner and squeezed him in to the inside, but it was pretty tight, and I had to run off track to avoid hitting him, so it was a pretty exciting last corner. I think P6 is the best recovery job I could have done. I was pretty determined for sure.
“The main thing was to get good points. I think we could have ended up second, so we’ve probably lost ten points, but Thibault [de Merindol – R-ace GP President] says ‘championships are won on the bad days’ and we did a pretty decent job of recovering. Now I’m going back to school for a few weeks and will get some time in the sim closer to Spa.”
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