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Five F4 champions take up invites to Formula Renault rookie test

by Peter Allen

Photo: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI

Five 2017 Formula 4 champions have taken up invites to take part in Tuesday’s Formula Renault Eurocup rookie test at Barcelona, where BRDC British Formula 3 champion Enaam Ahmed will also be among those in action.

Of the 35 drivers on the entry list for the test, 15 have been invited by Renault Sport, led by ADAC F4 champion Juri Vips, who will test for Josef Kaufmann Racing alongside the teams’ three-time 2017 podium finisher Yifei Ye.

Vips’ rival Felipe Drugovich will test for Arden Motorsport, fresh from winning on his Euroformula Open debut at the circuit on Sunday.

British F4 champion Jamie Caroline will test for Tech 1 Racing, with his closest challenger Oscar Piastri driving for his regular team Arden, as he did in the Northern European Cup finale at Hockenheim.

Arthur Rougier, the French F4 champion, will test for Fortec Motorsports, with rivals Victor Martins, Florian Venturi and Pierre-Alexandre Jean taking up invites with R-ace GP, AVF and JD Motorsport.

Renault Sport Academy member Christian Lundgaard will test with MP Motorsport, the team with which he won this year’s SMP F4 series and is leading the Spanish F4 series with one round to go. SMP-sponsored rival Alexander Smolyar will be with Tech 1 Racing.

Macau’s Charles Leong, who won both the Asian Formula Renault and Chinese F4 titles this year and is expected to come to Europe with BlackArts Racing next year, will test with Mark Burdett Motorsport,? while Daniel Lu will be out with AVF as part of the Asian Formula Renault Road to Champion scheme.

Lundgaard’s brother Daniel won the Renault-powered Danish F4 series this year but is not at the test, with runner-up Frederik Vesti (also a race-winner in ADAC F4) and third-placed Christian Rasmussen instead taking up invites with Fortec and Burdett respectively.

With Italian F4 champion Marcus Armstrong most likely to move up to European F3 next year, Lorenzo Colombo will test with JD at Renault’s invitation after finishing third in the standings.

The newly-crowned Eurocup rookie champion Max Fewtrell will switch from Tech 1 to R-ace GP for the test as he prepares to return for a second season.

The champion team will run eight drivers in total, including Alex Peroni, who won in Pau this year for Fortec, former JD racer Alexander Vartanyan and fellow SMP protege Nikita Volegov, who steps up from the company’s F4 series.

They are joined by Charles Milesi, who did the NEC and four Eurocup rounds with the team this year, Logan Sargeant, who scored two top-10 finishes on his Eurocup debut with the team last weekend, and karting graduate Clement Novalak.

At Tech 1, Caroline and Smolyar are joined by Red Bull Junior Neil Verhagen and BRDC British F3 runner-up James Pull.

Fortec will run the two other BRDC British F3 drivers in action: Ahmed, who previously ran with the team at the end of 2015, and race-winner Jordan Cane.

After joining AVF during 2017, Toyota Racing Series champion Thomas Randle will test for MP Motorsport, who will also run its F4 racer Bent Viscaal.

AVF will continue to field Axel Matus and Xavier Lloveras and add French F4 racer Javier Gonzalez, while Arden takes on former Tech 1 driver Thomas Maxwell.

Formula STCC contender Edward Jonasson completes the JD line-up, while former ART karter Takuya Okada will test for Burdett.

Entry list?(Renault invites in italics)
Josef Kaufmann Racing:? Yifei Ye,?Juri Vips, TBC
Tech 1 Racing: James Pull, Alexander Smolyar, Jamie Caroline, Neil Verhagen
R-ace GP: Logan Sargeant, Alexander Vartanyan, Max Fewtrell, Victor Martins, Charles Milesi, Clement Novalak, Nikita Volegov, Alex Peroni
AVF: Daniel Lu, Xavier Lloveras, Axel Matus, Florian Venturi, Javier Gonzalez
Fortec Motorsports: Arthur Rougier, Jordan Cane, Enaam Ahmed, Frederik Vesti??
JD Motorsport: Pierre-Alexandre Jean, Lorenzo Colombo, Edward Jonasson
Mark Burdett Motorsport: Takuya Okada, Charles Leong, Christian Rasmussen??
MP Motorsport: Thomas Randle, Christian Lundgaard, Bent Viscaal
Arden: Thomas Maxwell, Felipe Drugovich, Oscar Piastri