Benyahia crowned Formula Renault NEC Champion at Hockenheim

Benyahia crowned Formula Renault NEC Champion at Hockenheim

11.10.2017: ....Yifei claims double victory Michael Benyahia was crowned as the 2017 Formula Renault Northern

....Yifei claims double victory




Michael Benyahia was crowned as the 2017 Formula Renault Northern European Cup (NEC) champion after a tense, action-packed double header to conclude the season at Hockenheim, with Josef Kaufmann Racing's Yifei Ye the victor in both races.



The R-Ace GP driver seized a narrow lead in the standings ahead of team-mate Gilles Magnus heading into the final round, with a higher placed finish in the finale securing him the crown.



For Magnus, the weekend unravelled with a drive-through penalty in the opener, and despite a battling drive to tenth in the second race, he ultimately was forced to settle for the runner-up spot.



Yifei Ye held off team-mate and double Nurburgring victor Sacha Fenestraz in both contests, taking advantage of the Franco-Argentine's early race duel with Red Bull Junior Richard Verschoor (MP Motorsport) to extend an unassailable lead.



Though the pairing diced for the lead in the opening exchanges of the final race, a successful defence from Yifei enabled him to pull away later in the race to complete a double – his first victories in the championship.



Verschoor would complete the podium in the opening race, with the returning Alex Vartanyan (Arden) scything his way through the field to claim silverware in race two.



BM Racing Team's Bartek Mirecki was eventually classified third overall after a last-gasp attempt at closing the points deficit with sixth in the finale, however the 21-year old ultimately fell short but can otherwise reflect on a season defined by consistent points finishes.



Gabriel Aubry (Tech1) and Jarno Opmeer (MP Motorsport) also showed podium-contending pace across the weekend at the 2.8 mile German Grand Prix venue, with the former unlucky to have his charge in the final race cut short by damage to his front wing.



Logan Sargeant (R-Ace GP) impressed on his debut after using the weekend at Hockenheim as an opportunity to familiarise himself with the car and format with a view to moving into the Formula Renault Eurocup next season, topping the opening practice session along with a strong fourth-placed finish in race one. Oscar Piastri (Arden) and James Pull (Josef Kaufmann Racing) also both picked up top-ten finishes.





Thomas Neubauer (Tech1), Charles Milesi and Théo Coicaud (both R-Ace GP) all scored points at the season finale to round out promising campaigns.



Michael Benyahia said,
“I don't think it's really hit me yet, but it feels great so far. By far this was the hardest race with Gilles [Magnus] always behind me.



The whole race was about keeping track of Gilles and Bartek, because if he [Mirecki] had gone a little bit too far that would have been a problem for us. I've learnt a lot this season, like how to play a championship, I think this season has made me a better driver and I've just really enjoyed it.”



Yifei Ye said,
“I have to give a lot of credit to the team who gave us such fantastic cars to race, it was a very positive weekend – a double pole and double victory – so I'm very happy about that. After two brilliant qualifying sessions yesterday, our mindset was to bring the cars home first and second for the team.”




Sacha Fenestraz said
, “The start was a little bit hard, I think the right side was a bit dirty. And then with Richard, it was a little bit hard to overtake him, since he was quite fast at the beginning.


Once I’d gotten past I just had to try to do my best, go as fast as possible and then try to catch up Yifei, but like yesterday he did an amazing job and was really fast. I preferred to just take some more experience in a race situation and keep that second place until the end.”



Richard Verschoor said
, “The start was really good, then immediately I saw that Sacha was far quicker. At the beginning I tried to hold him off, I think we could have done it for a few more laps but he was so much faster, we just didn’t have the pace at all.



I just let him go, his pace was stronger. I had a little bit of contact [with Aubry] – I was afraid for a few seconds my rear tyre was flat, but then it was okay so I just kept pushing – I defended the whole race, actually.”






Damian Meaden,  photos Gregory Eyckmans

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11.10.2017 / MaP

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