The Dallara 320 made its successful debut at the Hungaroring two weeks ago, and it’s already on the racetrack again in the second Euroformula round of the season at Paul Ricard this weekend. Equipped with the halo cockpit protection device and more efficient aerodynamics than the preceding Formula 3 designs from Dallara, the 320 proved itself to be an increase step in performance for the championship. At Paul Ricard, laptimes are expected to be even quicker. In total 15 cars will be in the paddock in the French mountains, where the weather is expected to be as hot as the action.
China’s Yifei Ye was the hero of the first rounds of the season, taking both pole positions and both race wins in authoritative fashion. The 20-year-old Chinese Crypto Tower Racing driver has set very high targets for himself: “I’m doing my best to really outperform my competitors, and try to do the best I can to show what I’m worth of. I cannot underestimate the strength of my team-mates and my rivals, so I cannot say that I’m going to win everything. I have to work hard with the team to make sure on every occasion possible we do the best we can and max out our potential. I think that’s the real key to success.”
At Paul Ricard he will have fiercer competition as joining the grid this weekend are two returning Euroformula stars: Cameron Das and Lukas Dunner. Motopark driver Das has been a regular in Euroformula since 2017, and took four podiums in his first full season a year later. He joins the reigning team champions with the aim of taking his first win in the series.
Dunner will drive for the new Japanese squad, CryptoTower Racing, which took pole for, and won, both races at the Hungaroring with Yifei Ye. The Austrian has eight Euroformula podiums already to his name and despite missing the season opener only has eyes on claiming the Euroformula title. He took pole position at Paul Ricard last year, and is well placed to do so again.
German driver Matthias Lüthen is another driver on the entry list who didn’t race at the Hungaroring, and he will be driving for Double R Racing alongside Ayrton Simmons, who showed good consistency in Hungary.
One of the 15 drivers on the grid is Alexandre Bardinon, who will play the role of local hero. The 18-year-old Parisian driver, however, isn’t an expert at the French Grand Prix venue. “Strangely enough, I do not have great experience nor very good memories at the Paul Ricard, as I only did a test day in February 2019 with a GT car there, and it ended with a broken scaphoid… I definitely look forward to improving all that next weekend,” said Bardinon, “The start of the season has been okay, I had good sectors with very good pace at the Hungaroring, but I need to improve in putting all sectors together and be more consistent. The Dallara 320 feels great and for race two at the Hungaroring, I really managed to have the set-up that suited me. The objective is to get to that point quicker at the Ricard and qualify much better.”
The Frenchman is joined at VAR by German brothers Andreas and Sebastian Estner, who are second and fourth in the points. The elder (Andreas) was twice second in Hungary, behind Yifei Ye, while the youngest (Sebastian) is co-leading the Rookie standings, alongside Barbados driver Zane Maloney, who races for Carlin alongside Israel’s Ido Cohen.
Niklas Krütten and Manuel Maldonado accompany Das at Motopark, while Rui Andrade fills CryptoTower’s line-up alongside Dunner and Ye. Drivex School completes the field with its rookie duo consisting of Shihab Al Habsi and Glenn van Berlo.
The race programme at Paul Ricard will be particularly varied as the Euroformula and sister International GT Open and GT Cup Open Europea are joined by the TCR Europe, the F.Regional European and the Spanish F.4 Championship. While the event at Paul Ricard will take place with restricted access, all the action can be followed by fans at home thanks to live coverage by major broadcasters and online channels in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Moreover, races are also livestreamed on our website http://www.euroformulaopen.net and on the Euroformula Open channel on Youtube, accessible from all over the world and from all devices. Commentary is in English, by Chris McCarthy and Elliot Wood.
Timetable (All times local, CET)
Thursday 20 August 2020
09:00-13:00 Private test 1
14:00-14:30 Free Practice 1
Friday 21 August 2020
10:32-11:02 Free Practice 2
15:51-16:21 Free Practice 3
Saturday 22 August 2020
09:42-10:07 Qualifying 1
15:40:16:15 (17 laps – max 35’)
Sunday 23 August 2020
10:35-11:00 Qualifying 2
17:25-18:00 Race 2 (17 laps – max 35’)