One week on from the fourth round in the early days of this years BSR Formula Renault Series, the next track to tick off the list was Circuit Gilles Villeneuve located on the Notre Dame Island in Montréál, Canada. A famed track for both it’s Formula One status, and it’s name taken after the late and great Gilles Villeneuve. Imposing with it, long straights, tight fast chicanes and very little room for error, the cars are very much on the limit of finding a tenth or finding the wall. A little less entered for this round, at 30 competitors with many taking this one as a drop week, but at that number, it was still a lot to funnel around the tight circuit.
Qualifying set off in the morning conditions with Peter Berryman taking pole position by a staggering .265 of a second over team-mate Antoine Higelin. Maarten Van Loozenoord in the Academy team claimed the final spot of the top 3 for the grid, with Oscar Mangan being the other Apex car to hold a top 10 place. Other drivers were to sit out and some starting from pit lane for the first race.
Race 1 began with a somewhat clean start at first, most of the drivers making it through the twisty turn 1/2 complex safely. It wasn’t until the first chicane of the lap that a large pileup took place blocking the track for many. Many people called yet no safety car was brought out unfortunately for them. Maarten and Antoine had a quick battle for a few laps with Maarten getting ahead and the top 4 of Peter, Maarten, Antoine and Oscar pulling out a considerable margin. After the 4 of them pushing after each other, the order would remain the same with Peter taking another win to his total. Pashalis Gergis, after starting in 20th place, made a great drive to claim 9th place with Dan McAuley and Sam Libeert being the final Apex cars to take a Top 20. While it was a decent opener for some, bad luck struck others with Tom Depke, Josh Thompson and John Godfrey not finishing the race.
Race 2 transitioned as per usual into the mid day setting with the track being considerably hotter and less grip available, a 21 reverse grid was randomly selected and the grid was set. The pack funneled through the bends of the first lap mostly unscathed. A hardware issue for Peter resulted in his car ghosting temporarily and not long after Josh lost control out of turn 9 collecting Oscar with both of those retiring from damage. Pashalis Gergis was doing well near the front of the field when he was turned by another driver and lost several positions after the pack behind drove into him with nowhere to go. Despite this, it was another sterling drive from Peter who took another win for the day, also with Antoine and Maarten taking top 10 positions. Dan, Tom, Sam and John also placed inside the Top 20 taking valuable points back for their teams.
Race 3, similar weather to race 2 was then soon underway. Peter would be sent back yet again with the reverse grid of 20 positions for the field. The race start was a small bit messy with some having to avoid some very questionable wrecks from drivers around. Peter and Josh both would sustain wing damage from separate incidents with a battle unfolding between Oscar, Pashalis and Josh. Pashalis would get the upper hand and get away while Josh, Peter and Oscar would continue to finish just outside the top 10 with Tom Depke just taking a Top 20. Further up, Maarten claimed his first win of the day, with Sam and Antoine following him for an all Apex podium. A great race 3 for them.
Race 4, the sun was setting, but it wasn’t seen as an overcast came over the city dropping temperatures dramatically. With very little grip on cold tyres, it was going to be tricky to pass through the pack. A larger reverse grid of 24 places was set putting Maarten, Sam and Antoine towards the rear of the grid. The lights went out and before the cars had made it around turn 2, the leader spun after losing control and collected Oscar and FEKA driver Jos Honig. Shortly after, a poor rejoin from another driver resulted in a large pileup just out of Turn 7 taking Pashalis and Maarten out with nowhere to escape, also with Sam DNF’ing a few laps later after being beached on a curb. Though there were multiple incidents from all drivers in the race, some had more luck and were able to finish well. Peter once again, making it 3 out of 4 took another win with Antoine claiming 3rd place, Tom and Josh finishing 6th and 7th respectively with Dan rounding out the Top 10.
Apex Racing UK remains at the top of the table with a comfortable lead over 2nd place. Apex Racing Academy are down to 4th place not far off 2nd though. Peter and Maarten are also within reach of leading the Drivers Standings also very close to David Baker who currently places 1st. The BSR Formula Renault 2.0 Series will return on Tuesday at Twin Ring Motegi for Round 6. Until then, be sure to catch the race LIVE on Apex Racing TV, where you can also catch up on the Montréal broadcast. You can also check out the current Standings as well as all the news from BSR and even how to sign up by clicking HERE. That’s all for now, tune in next week.
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