Will StevensRising British racing driver Will Stevens from Oxshott, Surrey notched up tenth place in round seven of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup at Budapest on Saturday. The 20 year-old put his experience of the Hungarian track, where he scored his maiden Eurocup podium finish last year, to good use, getting off the line cleanly for the start of the 14-lap race.

Thereafter the former British, European and Asian-Pacific kart champion, who has three podium finishes under his belt this season, moved up two places from his grid slot, to take his sixth consecutive points-scoring result and consolidate his fourth place in the points table.

Thirty-five identical 2-litre Formula Renault cars took to the track for Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions, with the field split into two groups. Stevens, along with his three Fortec Motorsport team-mates, was out second but qualifying unfortunately didn’t quite match the form of Friday’s free practice, in which he was third fastest.

The 15-minute qualifying was interrupted by full course yellow and saw the BRDC Rising Star wait until the closing moments to mount a serious challenge for the top spot. His penultimate lap had him post a fast final sector but he lost time slightly in sector one on his last lap. Despite a fast second and third sector, Stevens was unable to capitalise on that pace and ended up sixth.

The formation of the grid for the races are dictated by the driver with the fastest lap time overall from both groups taking pole position and the rest of the drivers in that group aligned behind. The drivers from the other group line up on the other side of the grid putting Will on the outside of the sixth row. A good getaway allowed him to maintain position on the opening lap and by lap two he had made up a place, sweeping into 11th and then taking tenth three laps later.

The deployment of the safety car brought Steven’s charge to a premature halt however and after securing his maiden podium there last season, and setting a good pace in free practice, Will was understandably frustrated by the result but looking forward to returning to podium form tomorrow. A poor result by series leader Carlos Sainz jnr. which allowed the eventual race winner Robert Frijns to close the gap at the top, has allowed Will to keep in the fight for the title, in fourth place in the standings ahead of tomorrow’s eighth round.

“I had high expectations of a good result here this weekend after last year obviously but in practice I didn’t get such a good run on new tyres as the red flag stopped the session. The track conditions changed quite a bit for qualifying and I don’t think I was able to reach the full potential of the car and of course the way the qualifying works being sixth in session, meant I started 12th. I didn’t make the best of starts but by the end of lap one was still in 12th place. I had a good rhythm going but unfortunately the safety car period meant I couldn’t overtake and at the restart, I lost that rhythm which prevented me from moving up further. But I had a long chat with my engineer and we’ve made some changes to the car now which I’m confident will help for tomorrow’s qualifying,” he said.

“It’s a shame that I wasn’t able to fully capitalise on Sainz’s qualifying problems and close the gap down, but thankfully we haven’t lost out too much today. If we can get a good qualifying tomorrow it’d be nice to end the weekend with a strong positive result.”