Rdest and Wadoux kick off Alpine Elf Europa Cup season 2020
Updated: Aug 28
The first Alpine Elf Europa Cup at round at Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro featured three races and two ladies: Polish star Gosia Rdest and 19-year old French driver Lilou Wadoux. Battles, solid points for both drivers and a late crash provided plenty of on-track action.
After a long break imposed by the the CoVid-19 situation, finally the time has come to kick off its racing season also for the Alpine Elf Europa Cup - which this year saw its first round being held at Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro, France, after the revised schedule.
18 drivers were on the starting grid of the first race weekend: among them there were highly regarded drivers such as Pierre Sancinéna (Racing Technology), Marc Guillot and Mateo Herrero (both Herrero Racing by Milan Competition).
But one cannot count out Gosia Rdest (Racing Technology), who had her debut last year with the Alpine A110 Cup car at Circuit Paul Ricard and now returned for a full season after competing in the 2019 W Series championship.
Another promising young lady is Lilou Wadoux (Autosport GP) who raised some attention as she finished on the overall podium at her first racing weekend in the Clio Cup France.
Gosia said: "I waited a long time for this moment. Originally, the first Alpine Europa Cup racing weekend was supposed to take place during Easter, and now we are already in the second half of August. Together with Racing Technology, I tested at Nogaro and Magny-Cours. I feel good in the car, cooperation with the French team also looks promising."
"We'll have tests on Thursday and Friday, two qualifications and three races ahead. It's really a lot of driving for one race weekend. I was at Nogaro during the tests in July and I am ready and determined to take a real fight."
"The hunger for driving after the WSMP [the Polish touring car championship] round in July has returned and I hope that this weekend will allow me to claim another success. This first, long-awaited round kicks off an intense racing season this year - due to calendar shifts, I now have races almost every weekend. I will do my best."
In Race 1, Herrero set the fastest lap in qualifying, ahead of Sancinéna and Laurent Hurgon (Autosport GP) to start from pole position. Gosia Rdest had some issues in her qualifying run as she struggled to find space on such a short track and started from P8.
After the start, Herrero pulled away with a small gap ahead of Sancinéna and Hurgon, who were in an intense fight for most of the race. Jean-Baptiste Méla (Autosport GP) - who was passed by Guilott at the start - overtook his rival again on lap 9 and then went on pursuit of Hurgon.
Sancinéna caught up with the leader Herrero and, with two laps to go, engaged in a big battle. The two drivers passed each other several times, but Herrero could take the chequered flag in first position, finally ahead of Sancinéna and Méla, who passed Hurgon right before the end of the race.
Lilou Wadoux and Gosia Rdest finished in seventh and eighth places and bagged solid points.
In Race 2, Herrero was again the fastest driver on the track - but less than a hundredth of a second separated him from Méla and Sancinéna.
Once again, Herrero had a good start and pulled away with Méla following him. Sancinéna dropped back behind Hurgon and Guillot. Stéphane Auriacombe (Tierce Racing) then had troubles with an early broken rear suspension and spun off, ending his race.
At the front, more battles were underway betweend Herrero and Méla, but at the end it was Herrero to take victory once again, ahead of Méla and Hurgon.
Lilou Wadoux finished in sixth place with less than a two-second margin to P3, right ahead of Gosia Rdest in seventh.
Race 3 saw again Herrero topping qualifying ahead of Méla and Sancinéna.
Herrero defended his position after the start, leading Méla, but behind them Sancinéna was passed by Guillot. One of the most exciting drivers out on track during the third race was Edwin Traynard (Autosport GP): he was initially passed by Hurgon and Louis Méric (Herrero Racing), but he then managed to overtake Méric, Hurgon, Sancinéna and Guillot in the time of five laps, before also moving ahead of Méla and, finally, stripping Herrero of the first place before pulling away.
An exploded cooler on André Negrão's car resulted in a trace of coolant being spilled all over the track surface, with several drivers losing control on the slippery fluid.
Gosia Rdest hit the car of Negrão heavily, but luckily no one was injured. Just as the Polish racer, also Lilou Wadoux and Méric slipped off track, but were unharmed as well.
The race was stopped with a red flag and the result from the lap before was considered for the final classify. That meant that Traynard claimed victory ahead of Méla and Herrero. Lilou Wadoux was classified as 8th and Gosia Rdest as 10th.
“It was a very intense racing weekend." - explained Gosia after the race. "I am pleased with the progress I managed to achieve during the first two days. I understand this car better and better, which resulted in the fourth fastest time during practice."
Gosia Rdest scored 12 points on the opening weekend and is now in 8th place in the overall standings. Lilou Wadoux scored 16 points and is one place ahead of Gosia, P7 in the overall standings.
The next round will take place in Magny-Cours from 11th to 13th September - with the fastest Polish woman heading to Tor Poznan this weekend for the second round of the Polish touring car championship, where she'll be driving both the Seat Leon and a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.