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PaddockScout Awards 2013: Title Fight of the Year

by Formula Scout

Gasly and Rowland

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0

Pierre Gasly and Oliver Rowland

In what was an exhilarating 2013 season of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Frenchman Pierre Gasly secured an emphatic title, being made to work hard for it by his everpresent rival – Racing Steps Foundation driver Oliver Rowland.

After both were somewhat overshadowed by Matthieu Vaxiviere in the Aragon opener, Pierre Gasly confirmed his title contender status as he took the lead of the championship during the second weekend at Spa with two-second place finishes. Rowland, who also shined at Spa with a race one victory, responded at Moscow, taking the lead in the championship after winning the second race which saw the pair collide and yielded the Frenchman no points as a result. The Briton extended his championship lead at Spielberg, holding off Gasly in race two to claim victory, as it was becoming clear that these two were in a league of their own

At the Hungaroring, Gasly beat his rival to secure pole in race one and converted that into a victory, taking first in the championship as Rowland had to settle for eight after a tangle with Jake Dennis. The standings lead swapped hands again just one day later with Rowland’s podium allowing him back into first. The pair exchanged the lead once more when Gasly took the first win of the weekend at Le Castellet, establishing a sizable points advantage. On Sunday, Rowland?s stunning drive from 19th on the grid to third cut Gasly’s lead to just 11 points ahead of Catalunya.

The title fight came down to the last race of the season where just eight points separated the two. With Gasly on pole position and Rowland settling into second during the opening lap, another collision followed as the Briton made an optimistic lunge for the lead. Gasly was spun around, but Rowland’s subsequent drive-through penalty (along with some considerable damage to the car) allowed the Frenchman to secure the title.

Ant Musker