The Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup headed to the Prestigous Monaco Grand Prix, as a support race to the FIA Formula One World Championship event on the 25-27 May 2018.
It was the first time to the circuit for drivers Oscar Piastri and Sami Taoufik, with teammate Aleksander Vartanyan the only one with prior experience of the unique street circuit last season.
Piastri set the 7th fastest time in Qualifying Group A, just 0.3s off the fastest time. Teammates Vartanyan and Taoufik set the 6th and 12th fastest times respectively in Qualifying Group B.
The Arden trio lined up with Vartanyan leading the charge in 12th, Pastri 13th and Taoufik 24th on the grid for the opening race of the weekend. Taoufik make a bold move up the inside of Arthur Rougier into the ‘Fairmont Hairpin’ to gain ground at the start and moved up into 20th position, with teammates Vartanyan and Piastri running in 12th and 14th respectively.
The pack became bunched up when rival driver Max Defourney picked up front wing damage and began to struggle – causing a train of cars behind him. Vartanyan used this to his advantage to move up to 11th position.
Piastri battled with fellow ‘Rookie’ in the championship Alexander Smolyar for the majority of the race, eventually moving ahead of his rival and into 13th position on the final lap of the race. Taoufik sadly dropped out on Lap 15 and didn’t finish the race.
The second race of the weekend took place just before the 76th Monaco Grand Prix. Piastri maintained 14th position at the start after a brave move around ‘Massanet’ and ‘Casino Square’ to slot in two places behind teammate Vartanyan.
Taoufik was less fortunate than his two teammates on lap 1, as contact with one of the AVF cars at the hairpin saw him pitching nose-first into the barrier on the exit of the track, with damage to his front wing.
Vartanyan was knocked down the order after contact from behind from Smolyar, which dropped the Russian driver down to 16th, promoting Piastri up one position in the process.
Taoufik had re-joined the race after pitting for a new front wing, however he pulled back into the pits with 10 minutes to go and retiring from the race.
Yellow flags were on hand with just over 8 minutes still to run, after a crash at the ‘Fairmont Hairpin’ partially blocked the track.
Despite the usual procession race on the streets of Monaco, Piastri and Vartanyan both managed to gain a position each, finishing the race in 12th and 15th positions respectively.
The next round for the Formula Renault Eurocup Championship takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria on the 20-22 July.
Photographs © Dutch Photo Agency