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Hubert reigns supreme in Alps opener at Imola

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
Photo: Fast Lane Promotion

Photo: Fast Lane Promotion

Tech 1 Racing’s Anthoine Hubert converted pole position into a confident victory in the first race of the Formula Renault 2.0 Alps season at Imola.

By taking the checkered flag in first, Hubert secured his maiden 2.0 victory and picked up Tech 1’s first Alps win since the 2012 season finale.

Front row starter Jack Aitken might have gotten a slightly better getaway than Hubert, but the Frenchman held on to the lead and would not come close to surrendering it for the rest of the race.

Over the first half of the race, Hubert established a two-second lead over Aitken and was happy to maintain it over the remaining laps.

Aitken drove a comfortable race in second, but there was plenty of action and intrigue behind, including the fight for the final podium spot. Jake Hughes held third for most of the event, only to spin out with two minutes to go, handing the place to Simon Gachet – who had also begun last year’s Alps season with a third place.

Behind the drivers running in the top four, Hugo de Sadeleer was fending off pre-season favorite Matevos Isaakyan, who finally appeared to find a way through with an audacious late-braking switch-back attempt. But de Sadeleer held on to the spot and the fighting allowed Ben Barnicoat and Denis Bulatov to close in on the duo.

Bulatov then had to call it a day with a mechanical issue in the pits and, as his compatriot and fellow SMP protege Isaakyan finally got in front of de Sadeleer, the Swiss racer bounced back to reclaim the spot.

Isaakyan then began to struggle for pace, first letting Barnicoat by and then running wide and tumbling down to P11.

De Sadeleer now had Barnicoat to deal with and held him off until the final minute, before having a moment of his own and losing time. As such, Barnicoat took fourth, ahead of a charging Stefan Riener and Martin Kodric.

Thiago Vivacqua celebrated his best finish in cars in seventh, ahead of teammate Isaakyan, de Sadeleer and Philip Hamprecht.

Race results
Pos. Driver Team Time/Gap
1 Anthoine Hubert Tech 1 Racing 16 laps in 27:34.409
2 Jack Aitken Koiranen GP +1.930
3 Simon Gachet Tech 1 Racing +8.412
4 Ben Barnicoat Fortec Motorsport +21.992
5 Stefan Riener Koiranen GP +25.038
6 Martin Kodric Fortec Motorsport +28.323
7 Thiago Vivacqua JD Motorsport +30.242
8 Matevos Isaakyan JD Motorsport +32.109
9 Hugo de Sadeleer Tech 1 Racing +32.451
10 Philip Hamprecht Koiranen GP +35.797
11 Andrea Russo GSK Grand Prix +36.998
12 Matteo Ferrer Cram Motorsport +37.572
13 Danyil Pronenko BVM Racing +38.019
14 Bruno Baptista Koiranen GP +48.227
15 James Allen ARTA Engineering +48.821
16 Vasily Romanov Cram Motorsport +1 lap
Not classified
Daniele Cazzaniga GSK Grand Prix +3 laps
Alessandro Perullo Technorace +3 laps
Jake Hughes Koiranen GP +4 laps
Denis Bulatov GSK Grand Prix +8 laps
TJ Fischer Cram Motorsport +9 laps
Amaury Richard ARTA Engineering +10 laps