Top10 and points: Vicky Piria makes history in F.Renault Sunday's race
In just her second Formula Renault Eurocup series appearance, Italian W Series driver Vicky Piria broke a 14-year hiatus and became the first woman to score points in the series after 2006.
Vicky Piria returned behind the wheel of the #52 Bhaitech Tatuus F-19 in the Formula Renault Eurocup back-to-back weekend after her debut last round at the Nurburgring. The series in fact held its first race at Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours for the first time since 2010.
Subbing in for Nicola Marinangeli at Bhaitech also in France, the only Italian W Series driver had finally the chance to better prepare her race weekend and entered the pre-event test day on Thursday, where she showed notable improvements.
"Should have put everything together but overall happy of the step ahead this weekend in Magny-Cours in Q2." - commented Piria before the first race at the former-home of the French GP.
Vicky's Saturday, though, saw an early hurdle right after the start, as she was forced to retire from the action on the opening lap for technical issues on her #52 Bhaitech race car.
There was more drama at the start of Race 1 when Hadrien David and Amaury Cordeel also retired in the opening laps after a collision that involved both drivers.
Saturday's undisputed dominator was Brazilian Caio Collet, who scored pole position and was then able to manage the race in front after a perfect drive from start to chequered flag, crossing the finish line with a 4-second gap to second-placed David Vidales.
The JD Motorsport driver and Victor Martins were protagonists of a brilliant fight for the second spot, with Vidales able to move on Martins and defending second place from the persistent ART Grand Prix driver's attacks.
Another big battle emerged for fourth place, with Gregoire Saucy taking home the result after an early move on Lorenzo Colombo and could held off Alex Quinn during the second half of the competition. Saucy just marginally finished ahead of the British driver, and preceded both Lorenzo Colombo and Ugo de Wilde, who had closed the gap in the final laps. Petr Ptacek, William Alatalo and Paul Aron completed the top ten in the first race.
Race 2 saw Victor Martins taking the start from pole position: this time, it was the Frenchman to enjoy a clean drive for the entire 18 laps of the race, winning a commanding race that was started behind the Safety Car.
Caio Collet tried the move for the lead on the opening lap, but the ART GP driver defended his leadership decisively.
It was a notable performance from Franco Colapinto as well, who tried to cut his way through the field from a 12th starting position.
The Argentian driver overtook Cordeel on lap 2 for P11 and continued his comeback on the following lap as he fought Paul Aron. Under the MP Motorsport's driver pressure, Aron made a mistakes and ended in the gravel, allowing Colapinto to move ahead.
Petr Ptacek was the next victim of the Argentian's fury, but following a more aggresive manouver by Colapinto, Ptacek picked up damages after a contact, triggering the Safety Car as the Czech driver retired with a broken suspension.
The green flag was back waving with 14 minutes left on the clock: while the top positions remained unchanged, the battle for P10 between Alatalo, Cordeel and Aron heated up.
With 4 minutes to the chequered flag, Arden's De Gerus, running P14, was off into the gravel and brought again the race to a halt with yet another Safety Car.
The action resumed with a penultime lap drama that saw Franco Colapinto again at the centre of the action: the driver of the #11 MP Motorsport car damaged his suspension in an incident that also involved David, Aron and Toth. All were able to finish the race except for the 2019 Spanish F4 champion.
After a clean and solid Race 2, it was Vicky Piria that capitalized on the situation: the 26-year old driver went across the finish line in tenth position, scoring her first point in just her second appearance in the series.
One point for the history books: no other female driver had reached the top-10 in the competitive Formula Renault Eurocup since 2006, when Swiss lady Rahel Frey last scored points 14 years ago. Vicky, though, become the very first woman to do so since the employment of the F3 car in the Renault Sport series.
"10th in the race today in Magny Cours and also the first ever woman to have obtained points with this car in Renault Eurocup!"
"I loved every second of these past two weeks, huge thank you to Bhaitech Racing for the opportunity and for making me improve so much."- wrote Piria on her social media feeds at the end of the weekend.