It never stopped raining; race red flagged

24 March 2018

The first race weekend of the VdeV championship started with bright sunshine. On Friday, the sun was out for the free practice for the LMP3s and qualifying session for the 20 Formula Renault 2.0 cars. Saturday painted a totally different picture. It never stopped raining.
Both races of the FR2.0 started behind the safety car. The Endurance GT/Tourisme/ LMP3/PFV/CN race also started behind the safety car and was red flagged after a three hours and six minutes; the safety car never left the track.

Because of the pouring rain, the qualifying result for the LPM3 #22, shared by Polish driver Kuba Smiechoswki and the Swede Pontus Fredricsson, was 16th overall. The #33 LMP3 shared by fellow Germans Paul Scheuschner and Peter Elkmann, finished in 25th place overall. Both cars only done one free lap as a result of the many safety car periods and yellow flags.

With a 10-minute delay the race started behind safety car. However, the actual start of the race would only be when all cars were on the same type of ‘monsoon’ rain tyres. Because Michelin was still preparing these tyres when the race started, cars would have to come in, change tyres and go out again. As all the cars were behind the safety car anyway, there was not much of a start once this was all done. Throughout the whole race the safety car never left the track.

In LMP3 class Smiechowski/Fredricsson finished third in the #22, and Scheuschner/Elkmann in the #33 fifth.

Kuba Smiechowski (#22 LMP3): “I don’t think I have ever started and finished a race behind the safety car. It never was and never felt like a race. It’s a bit of a sad start of the new season. I hope the next race (ELMS) at Le Castellet will have better weather”.

The two Formula Renault 2.0 races on Saturday only saw a handful of laps under green. In Race 1, Nico Varrone started from pole, then lost a couple of places to regain first place. He led till the final lap, when went he went off. Luckily, he could continue but with not enough time left to regain first. He finished third. Edward Jonasson started from the back beause of the gearbox problems he had during the qualifying session and even in the few green laps, he was able to move up to seventh place as well as setting the best laptime of 2m20s370.

In race 2, Varrone led the full race from start to finish. With just three minutes to go several cars went off in other directions than the right one, and the race was red flagged. Again, Jonasson did great, finishing sixth coming all the way from the back.

Next race:

LMP3 ELMS Le Castellet 13 – 15 April
FR2.0 VdeV Magny-Cours 20 – 22 April

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