Vicky Piria debuts in Formula Renault Eurocup
Vicky Piria was back in a formula car for the first time this year, as the W Series driver made a last-minute debut in Formula Renault Eurocup at Nürburgring.
The Formula Renault Eurocup 2020 season was back in action this weekend at the legendary Nürburgring race track after the two previous Italian rounds of Monza and Imola, with the surprise late addition of W Series driver Vicky Piria, who received a late call from Bhaitec to replace the injured Nicola Marinangeli in the #52 Tatuus F3 car.
This marked Vicky Piria's official return behind the wheel of a formula car for the first time since the Brands Hatch season finale in the fully-female championship.
"Tough tough but working hard and improving... and how good is it to be back!" - she wrote on her social media feeds after the first outings in the Formula Renault Eurocup car. The Italian, in fact, endured difficult sessions but worked hard with the Bhaitec team to gain more experience in such a competitive championship. Coming this late and without any testing it was always going to be difficult for the 26-year old racer, but Vicky showed good improvements throughout the weekend.
Undisputed protagonist of the German weekend was the ART Grand Prix team, that with a perfect drive from Victor Martins, conquered two victories and made a remarkable return to Formula Renault Eurocup glory - as the only previous win by the French team in the series was dated back to 2003.
Victor Martins had a phenomenal Race 1 start from pole and led the whole 30-minute race from green lights to chequered flag - ending with a 3 seconds gap from Bhaitec's Lorenzo Colombo, in a race that didn't provide particularly exciting action throughout the field.
JD Motorsport driver David Vidales had a great launch off the line from the third row and completed the Race 1 podium. Starting from P3, Caio Collet made a mistake at the start that dropped him some positions in the opening stages and resulted in the R-ace GP driver to finish sixth behind Gregoire Saucy and William Alatalo.
2019 Spanish F4 championship dominator Franco Colapinto managed to complete a clean run from seventh for the entire 17 laps.
Among the few overtaking attempts, there were FA Racing members Amaury Cordeel and Tijmen Van Der Helm, who together with Petr Ptacek battled for the final spots in the top ten.
Vicky Piria was 17th across the finish line: "Probably the most difficult race weekend ever for me but happy of the work I am doing with the team, improving step by step, so pleased I am in the right direction. This opportunity is like gold for me!" - she wrote.
Race 2 resulted in an even more dominant performance by Martins, who once again led in commanding style the field for the entire race duration. The Frenchman reached the chequered flag with a nine-second gap to fellow ART Grand Prix driver Paul Aron, who clinched a second place finish and thus allowed the French powerhouse team to complete a perfect weekend at the Nürburgring.
Caio Collet struggled at the race start and lost out the battle for the podium after a slow getaway from second on the grid, allowing Gregoire Saucy past in the third ART car - making it a 1-2-3 for the team.
William Alatalo was forced to an early pit stop at the end of the opening lap. He rejoined the race a few laps later, but with no real chances to recover the lost time. Furthermore, a contact between Tijmen Van Der Helm and Reshad De Gerus meant the end of the second race for the Arden driver.
It was an interesting last lap battle for P10 though, as Amaury Cordeel could make the winning move on Petr Ptacek, securing the last point-scoring position.
With a P17 in Race 1 and a P15 in Race 2, Vicky Piria made the most out of the two German races and focused on finding the right feeling with her new car and team.
"15th this Sunday at Nürburgring. Another little step ahead and looking forward to work with the team to improve even more next weekend!"
With Nicola Marinangeli sustaining a broken leg in a road accident last week and the next Formula Renault Eurocup round in just a week time at Magny Cours, Vicky Piria will in fact get a second weekend on board of the Bhaitec Tatuus F3 car.
The accumulated track time is also a huge opportunity for Piria as she eyes a return to W Series next year. The female championship saw its 2020 season cancelled in the midst of the pandemic but, with some of her colleagues returning to the racetrack, it was paramount for Piria to find a competitive drive during 2020 to tackle the top-end of the classify in 2021.
Vicky, who finished ninth in the 2019 W Series standings, proved to deserve a second chance in single seaters with a series of solid results, despite a budget-imposed five years hiatus.
This new experience in the extremely competitive field of Formula Renault Eurocup could verty well become the perfect training ground for her next challenges.