17th July 2017
This weekend the Formula Renault 2.0 championship entered into its second half of the season at the iconic Nürburgring track in Germany's hilly Eifel region. It is a favourite track for many drivers and Max Defourny is no exception. On Saturday, he finished Race 1 with just about half a second behind the winner. Sunday's Race 2 was run in wet conditions, mostly behind the safety car. Max finished this race in P6, thus gaining some valuable points.
Max says about his weekend at the Nürburgring: "Overall, the weekend wasn't too bad. My pace has been good and I earned some valuable points. I still haven't won this season even though the potential for a win has always been there, so it is a bit frustrating that it hasn't happened yet. The next event is at the Red Bull Ring where I was fast last year, so it is my target to finally win a race then!"
Practice & Qualifying
Max finished Friday's first practice session in P2 with a time of 1.56:279. He improved on this result in the second practice session and set the fastest time of the day (1.55:324).
Max Defourny: "I am quite happy with our Friday preparations and I felt good in the car. I led for most of the first practice session and only lost the first position in the last few minutes of the session. For FP2, with my team I understood straight away how to adjust a few issues, so I was fastest in that session which was a good start for the weekend."
The first Qualifying of the weekend took place on Saturday morning in dry conditions. Max drove a perfect qualifying in his group, getting pole with a time of 1.55:463. However, on an improving track the pole man of the second qualifying group went slightly faster which meant that Max started Race 1 from second place.
The second qualifying, setting the grid for Race 2 on Sunday, was also run on Saturday. This time Max set third fastest time in his group (1.55:066) which put him fifth on the grid for Race 2.
Max Defourny: "Q1 went well for me, even though the track was quite green from the rain overnight and I was the first one out together with Fenestraz. I got a bit of traffic on my last lap, so I just couldn't improve more. My pace was good, there might have been potential for more but overall it was a positive result.
"For Q2 the car felt good, but not quite as good as in Q1, and we couldn't quite understand where the lack of performance was coming from. In the end, I had to start from P5, so the goal was to get as many points as possible."
Saturday & Sunday Races
Race 1 took place in the late afternoon on Saturday. It was incident-free and run in dry, if slightly cool, conditions. Starting from second place, Max very nearly managed to take the lead at the start. It didn't quite work out as he had to defend his position from his followers at the same time. Nevertheless, Max drove a faultless race, keeping constant pressure on the leading car of Robert Shwartzman, finishing in second place, with a gap of just 0.615s.
Max Defourny: “I got away well at the start but then backed down a bit too much. I was still able to get next to Schwartzman in the first couple of corners but I wasn't able to fully complete the move. I struggled a bit with the temperature of my tyres but when that improved I managed to catch up with him again. At this track it has always been difficult for me to get close to the car in front; the dirt on the track affects the balance and makes it hard to stay close enough to overtake. My rears locked up a little in the last two laps, so I lost a bit of time there. I had the pace again but unfortunately, it wasn't enough to finish on top."
Race 2 started early on Sunday morning in wet conditions and behind the safety car. When the cars got racing in conditions that remained tricky, Max spun in order to avoid contact with his team-mate. This incident left him in P9 when the safety car came out again. When racing resumed, Max continued to fight for positions, moving up to P8. He eventually finished the race, which was mostly run behind the safety car and thus didn't leave a lot of time for on-track battles, in sixth place.
Max Defourny: "Race 2 took place in wet conditions. I like driving in the rain, I have always been quick. So in this race, after the first safety car phase, I managed to make a move on Shwartzman at the outside of Turn 5. I started catching up on the field but Shwartzman was able to come around me again. In order to avoid contact between the two of us, I ended up spinning and lost positions. In the final race phase, I managed to make up a few positions. In the end, I earned some good points and the spin didn't affect my final result too much.”