2020 Formula Regional European Championship – Victory for Rodriguez and DR Formula

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Before the start, the unfortunate poleman Oliver Rasmussen was stuck in the pits with unresolved gearbox problems. That left the field open to his rivals. At the start, on a sunny circuit on a cold day, Hauger (Van Amersfoort Racing) got a good start but promply found himself squeezed between Rodriguez (DR Formula) and Leclerc (Prema Powerteam), who both went past him for first and second. Also on lap one, Jamie Chadwick made contact with Emidio Pesce and was pitched into a spin in the Variante Alta. Meanwhile, the first three began to stretch out their lead over Chovet in fourth.

After the first 10 minutes of the race Rodriguez, Leclerc and Hauger were still covered by less than a second with the Monegasque driver glued to the rear wing of the Guatemalan driver who was taking advantage of every kerb and the full width of the track, even dropping two wheels into the gravel. Slowly Rodriguez stretched out his lead slightly, taking advantage of the battle that then developed between Leclerc and Hauger, immediately behind him.

In great difficulty was Gianluca Petecof in seventh position, who was losing ground and was overtaken by Gillian Henrion. 8 minutes from the end Leclerc ran wide over the gravel at Rivazza, letting Hauger past. At this point, Rodriguez was ahead of the Norwegian by 1.2 seconds. Behind the first three Chovet, Lappalainen and Pasma were battling it out and were within just one second of each other.

In the meantime, Hauger was catching Rodriguez with a series of fastest laps and was less than a second adrift with 3 minutes plus one lap remaining of the race. The gap continued to decrease as the clock counted down. With less than a minute and a lap left, Hauger was just 6 tenths behind Rodriguez, while Leclerc was two seconds away from the Norwegian.

In the final metres Rodriguez actually pulled away again, after Hauger made a mistake in his at the limit attempts to catch the leader. The gap was now over one minute and the last lap saw the driver from Guatemala take the chequered flag in what was an extraordinary victory for him and for DR Formula.

Rodriguez won, ahead of Hauger, Leclerc, Chovet, Lappalainen and Pasma. Petecof was only eighth and had lost the championship lead to the Monegasque.

“It’s a great emotion, and I have to thank God first of all; only thanks to him can we race and win. The team was perfect. I felt the pressure throughout the race, first from Leclerc, then from Hauger who was fast behind me in the last few laps. Tomorrow I expect to win again,” said the Guatemalan driver.

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