NURBURG, GERMANY, September 19, 2016 (Newswire.com) - Max Defourny enjoyed a weekend of double delight to take two consecutive podium finishes at the sixth round of the Formula Renault 2.0 NEC championship at the Nürburgring.
Max had three victories to his credit ahead of the European series’ penultimate round and was looking to continue this form as the 2016 season begins to wind to a close. At the German circuit for the first time this year, Max made use of his last remaining testing allocation of the season, taking to the track on Thursday to familiarise himself with the circuit at this crucial time in the championship.
Once familiar with the complex twists and turns of the Nürburgring, Max took to the helm of R-ace GP’s car #33 for Friday practice. By the close of FP1 and Max’s weekend was off to a flying start with the Belgian teenager topping the time sheets, +0.03s faster than rival Norris. However, Germany’s inconsistent weather temperament made itself known, provoking the conditions in the afternoon. Struggling for warmth in his Pirelli tyres, Max dropped to third at the close of FP2. Max’s fastest lap, a 1m 55.625s, was also good for third overall.
Qualifying started mere hours afterwards, leaving little margin for error for Max and his 21 rivals. Conditions had not improved for Q1 hereby leaving Max’s tyres cool. This weather predicament, combined with an unfortunately timed yellow flag, ensured the teenager qualified fourth for race one. Max still remained just +0.10s away from Norris, in spite of these issues, keeping his close battle with the British racer alive.
Fourth on the grid for R1 was a solid placement and certainly put Max in podium contention from the start. In what was a confident start beyond his years, Max quickly climbed to third, displacing Tech 1 Racing’s Sacha Fenestraz. Keeping out of trouble throughout the race, it was a quiet outing on Saturday for Max who comfortably secured third place and his fifth podium finish of the FR2.0 NEC season with confidence. Once again fuelling his rivalry with Norris, Max was just +0.4s behind the fastest lap set by the Josef Kaufmann racer.
Again qualifying fourth for R2, another podium was potentially on the cards. It was a difficult start to the race when a fog delay halted proceedings at the German circuit. The weather pushed back all scheduled events and sessions, including the Blancpain. While some drivers may be easily distracted by such a chaotic start, Max kept his cool when he lined up behind Norris, Jehan Daruvala and Robert Shwartzman.
Further interruptions came in the form of the safety which further reduced overtaking possibilities by two laps. However, Max’s pace was still strong and he engaged in some confident manoeuvres to take second place and yet another finish in the top three. This podium finish, his twelth of the season – including his Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup campaign – has improved the Belgian’s standing in the championship. Max sat third in the title standings and 38 points adrift of championship leader Lando Norris but has moved up to second after a successful weekend. The rookie champion in 2015, Max remains in contention for the overall title when it returns to Germany at the beginning of October.
“The car felt really good, once we got the tyres working, and we took points from Daruvala and Boccolacci so we can be pleased with that,” said Max at the close of his weekend in Germany.
Max will race next at his home circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, returning to the track for the first time since his NEC podium success in July. Second in the Eurocup championship, he will arrive on home turf for the sixth round on the 24-25 September in what will be back-to-back race weekends.
“We feel quite good. We had good pace last time, even if the results did not always reflect that,” he continued. “It’s my home track and personally my favourite so I am feeling pretty confident.”