Just a week after the last round in the Red Bull Ring, Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup returned to action at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
In Qualifying, Piastri set the 2nd fastest time in Group A, which was strong enough for him to start the opening race of the weekend in 3rd position on the grid. Teammates Nikita Volegov and Sami Taoufik qualified 8th and 11th respectively in the same group, meaning they would start Race 1 from 15th and 20th.
The start of the race saw Piastri get away well, moving up into 2nd position before slipstreaming race leader Christian Lundgaard into Les Combes. The latter defended well and Piastri tucked in behind him in 2nd position. Volegov managed to maintain position as Taoufik gained ground at the start to move in just behind his teammate in the opening stages around the 7.004km Belgian circuit.
Piastri took the lead of the race on lap two, drafting past
Lundgaard into Les Combes to lead his first lap with the team and in the
championship, before he was then drafted past on the next lap round by Lundgaard
and Ye Yifei.
The battle for the lead stabilised over the next few laps, with Piastri well in touch for victory and holding onto his podium spot. Volegov and Taoufik were holding 16th and 17th in close proximity as the race moved into Lap 10.
A big accident caused a red-flag and the end of the race just a lap later, meaning the result was called at the end of the tenth lap. Therefore, Piastri was classified 3rd, taking his maiden podium in Formula Renault, with Volegov 16th and Taoufik classified in 17th position at the end of Race 1.
The second race of the weekend saw Piastri start from 4th
position, Taoufik from 16th and Volegov from 18th
A frantic start saw Piastri again in the thick of the action for the podium
battle, but was forced wide at Turn 1 by starting on the unfavoured outside,
dropping down to 7th position as the pack climbed through Eau Rouge
for the first time.
The Safety Car was soon deployed following a Lap 1 collision, which saw both Volegov and Taoufik eliminated from the race early on – leaving Piastri as the sole Arden in the race.
On the restart during Lap 3, Piastri was fighting in the
points positions still as the pack engaged in a drag race once again into Les
Combes. Piastri was forced down the field and had to fight back to recover his
position in the points.
The Australian was engaged in a long battle with Richard Verschoor, whose defensive driving meant Piastri came detached from the pack ahead.
Piastri passed Verschoor with minutes to spare in the race, however it did not give him enough time to catch the pack ahead despite his strong pace. He crossed the line in 9th position to end the weekend with a double points score for himself and the team.
The Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup will next be in action at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary during the 1-2 September, following a month-long summer break for the championship.