The 2018 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Championship headed to Silverstone, the home round for Arden Motorsport on the 19-20 May.
Qualifying for Race One took place in warm and sunny conditions at the Northamptonshire circuit, with Vartanyan setting the 3rd fastest time in his Qualifying Group A and teammate Taoufik setting the 11th fastest time in the same Group.
Piastri was in Group B and set the 7th fastest time in his session. This meant that Vartanyan would start the first race of the weekend from 5th position, Piastri from 12th and Taoufik from 21st.
Vartanyan maintained 5th position at the start, with Piastri having to run wide at Copse corner to filter into the train of cars as they headed into Maggots and Becketts. Piastri and Taoufik were promoted two positions when Alex Peroni and Frank Bird made contact heading onto the Hanger Straight – bringing out a Safety Car to recover the latter.
At the restart, Vartanyan was 5th, Piastri 15th and Taoufik in 17th position. The race restarted with 20 minutes to go, with Piastrik and Taoufik again gaining positions – before a short yellow flag period caused by a collision ahead. Piastri then continued to make progress – gaining two positions in one lap to move himself into the points. Before going three-cars-wide into Copse corner and losing some momentum and positions.
While the action was going off in the midfield, Vartanyan maintained 5th position with a strong pace to cement his strong position – which is where he finished after the 30-minute race.
Piastri came home in 11th position, just missing out on points, with teammate Taoufik taking 14th position after gaining 7 places from where he started.
The qualifying for the second race of the weekend took place on Sunday morning, with Piastri heading the Arden charge and setting the 3rd fastest time in his group – giving him 6th position on the grid for the second race.
Vartanyan set the 6th fastest time in his qualifying group, with Taoufik setting the 12th fastest time in the same session. They would start the second race from 9th and 21st position respectively.
A good start from Piastri in Race 2 saw him maintain 6th position, pressuring Max Defourney ahead. Vartanyan moved up to 10th position and was all over the back of Richard Verschoor, who had to defend aggressive to maintain position. Taoufik also gained ground to move up into 19th position.
The race was rather stagnated for large portions of the race, with little incidents but close battles going on throughout. Taoufik moved up to 18th, whilst Piastri and Vartanyan maintained 6th and 10th positions respectively.
Piastri maintained his pace to make a bold move into Village Corner, overtaking Christian Lundgaard for 5th position with just shy of 10 minutes to go. Vartanyan was knocked back a couple of positions with Verschoor’s extreme level of defending baulking both of their progress.
Vartanyan finally managed to overtake the Dutchman with a couple of laps to go, finishing in 11th position at the flag, teammate Taoufik crossed the line in a solid 17th – once again gaining places from his starting position.
Piastri lead home the Arden charge with a strong 5th position, giving the team a brace of strong positions at their home race this weekend. This later became 4th after a post-race penalty to a rival driver promoted Piastri to 4th position.
In the championship standings, Piastri heads the Arden drivers with 9th overall in the standings. Vartanyan sits 13th overall in the championship and Taoufik is 20th overall in the points table.
The next round for the Formula Renault Eurocup is in just one week’s time, at the Circuit de Monte-Carlo, as a support race to the FIA Formula One World Championship.
Photographs © Dutch Photo Agency