10 Jun Podium finish in Spa
The Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS series headed to Spa Francorchamps last weekend for its fourth race meeting of the year. Fortec Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup drivers Seb Morris, Ben Barnicoat and Jorge Cevallos joined the team of Martin Kodric, Charles Leclerc and Thiago Vivacqua in preparation for their next round at Hockenheim this weekend.
The first race of the weekend saw Monaco driver Leclerc have a good start, chasing for the lead from fourth in a field featuring no fewer than 32 cars. After a brief safety car period Leclerc made his move on Gachet (Arta engineering) to take third place, maintaining his position up until the chequered flag. Welshman Morris crossed the line in sixth, whilst Cavellos finished eleventh and Kodric 24th.
For Barnicoat an unfortunate incident saw him out of the race on the opening lap. Vivacqua also saw his race end early.
“In race one I was very unfortunate on the opening lap and got crashed into at the last corner and that was the end of my race.” Commented Barnicoat.
The second race of the weekend saw Leclerc once again fighting near the front of the pack, alongside teammate Barnicoat.
As the lights turned green Barnicoat chased Isaakyan (JD Motorsport) for second, getting passed him on the Kemmel straight. The duel among the two lasted for the whole race and with just a few laps to go Isaakyan went on to retake second with Barnicoat dropping to third.
Behind them by just a few tenths were Morris and Leclerc. With just 4 minutes to go Morris was on the charge and on course for a podium until his throttle stuck open, seeing him retire from the race.
“I started from P5 and had a great start moving into p2 on the opening lap, unfortunately I didn’t have the pace to stay with Isaakyan so I dropped to third place,” said Barnicoat. “I then came under a little pressure from Seb (Morris) who then had to retire with engine problems, Charles (Leclerc) caught me up as he had great pace and he got past me down the straight but I was able to re-pass.”
Back up front Barnicoat went on to cross the line in third, with Leclerc just behind in fourth. However, post race Marshalls found Barnicoat to have gone outside the track limits and he was given a 2-second penalty, seeing him drop to fourth whilst Leclerc was promoted into third. Mid-pack Vivacqua took 14th with Kodric 17th and Cevallos 19th.
“The mechanical problem at Spa was unfortunate but at least it wasn’t part of our championship, we went there as a test so there was no pressure”, Morris reflected, “We managed to get a lot of work done, focusing on minute detail with braking and overall consistency. I learnt a lot over the weekend and we can definitely carry that forward.
Commenting after the weekend Leclerc said: “It was really good to be twice on the podium in both races. The car felt really good all weekend and I would like to thank Fortec a lot for the car they’ve done! I still have to work on myself to be fighting for the first position but I will do my best for that to happen as soon as possible.”
The next round of the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS takes place on 5th-6th July in Monza.