Renault Sport Trophy: Robert Kubica on podium at Spa
The Spa-Francorchamps Circuit hosted the fifth round of the 2016 Renault Sport Trophy. The event was marked by Robert Kubica‘s podium-scoring return to the race track. He was driving the #16 Renault RS 01 for Duqueine Engineering, together with Christophe Hamon, and they finished third in Saturday’s Endurance race.
Of regular competitors, Fabian Schiller has the most reasons for satisfaction as he secured the Am Class title scoring the victory in Sunday’s Sprint race.In the Pro class, the Sprint race winner was Pieter Schothorst. He still has to to fight for the title against Kevin Korjus in the last round at Estoril in October.
The winners of Saturday’s Endurance race were Fredrik Blomstedt and Raoul Owens in the R-ace GP’s #2 car. They won ahead of Jeroen and Pieter Schothorst in the #21 Equipe Verschuur’s car. Former F1 driver Robert Kubica and partner Christophe Hamon completed the podium.
“After nearly six years away from circuit racing, it is good to be back and on the podium. In these conditions, it is always hard to put in sensational times in a car that seems to require a lot of experience and intelligence. The Renault Sport Trophy is still very new to the team, but the changes we made paid off. I struggled a bit in the race, but I made a nice pass at the Bus Stop. We can be delighted with this performance”, Kubica said.
The race was marked by a huge accident in the opening lap. The pole-sitter Fabian Schiller held on the lead at the start but the race was stopped soon after that because of the accident in Turn 1. The involved drivers were Andres Mendez, Diederik Sijthoff and Dennis Andersen. Sijthoff and Mendez were tranfered to the the hospital, reporting back pains. Andres Mendez has been released few hours later while Diederik Sijthoff has to undergo further exams.
The race resumed on lap six, with no changes in the top three when the pit window opened. It means that Fabian Schiller took maximum points ahead of Fredrik Blomstedt and Miguel Ramos. In the second part of the race, Schiller’s partner Markus Palttala lost the lead. Pieter Schothorst crossed the finish line first, but he was penalized for not respecting the minimum time in the pits, so Raoul Owens and Fredrik Blomstedt took the win.
In Sunday’s first Sprint race, reserved for Am class drivers, Fabian Schiller was leading from lights to flag. During twelve laps, he built advantage of 12.624 seconds ahead of Jelle Beelen. Miguel Ramos completed the podium. For Schiller, it was his third win of the season and he secured the title with one more round to go.
In the Sprint race for the Pro class drivers, brother Pieter and Steijn Schothorst were fighting for the victory. Robert Kubica was chasing them but at the end he was passed by Kevin Korjus, who earned valuable points to keep alive his hopes for the championship title. Before decisive last round at Estoril, Pieter Schothorst has 30 points more than Korjus.
Photos: Renault Sport