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Circuit de Catalunya: Stoffel Vandoorne: Qualifying will be crucial

Stoffel Vandoorne concedes that the one lap pace of Magnussen could lose him the championship.
Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted that his chances of winning the Formula Renault 3.5 championship will depend on his qualifying pace during the morning sessions. The Belgian will need to tame the one lap pace of Kevin Magnussen if he is to claim the title this weekend ahead of his fellow McLaren youngster.

In his rookie year, the Belgian has kept pace with his more experienced championship rivals; the winner of the Formula Renault 2.0 series last year, Vandoorne is no stranger to securing titles. Speaking to, he conceded that the Dane does have the edge as the final weekend officially gets underway.

“I think Kevin was a bit quicker than us today so we will need to make that up. We will concentrate on qualifying, qualifying will be crucial.”

Driving under the heat of the Barcelona sun this weekend, Vandoorne insisted that his race strategy is not weather dependent but merely another variable which could factor in the overall outcome.

“I do not need a wet race to be competitive. Overtaking is very difficult so qualifying is important. If I can do well in qualifying, I can still win. We will always aim to do the best we can.

“On Sunday, the pit stops will be more important”, he continued. Sunday's race does require a mandatory pit stop for new tyres. Kevin Magnussen's one lap pace has been incomparable in terms of consistency this year creating a difficult task for Vandoorne in the hours ahead.

The drivers will be opting for medium down force to help combat the challenges of the Circuit de Catalunya and to aid drag efficiency. Vandoorne will need to close the gap visible in the testing sessions if he is to achieve his goal; one which is looking increasingly unlikely as the weekend progresses.

He admitted that keeping his mind of the championship and treating this weekend like any other is key to his success.

“I cannot think about what Kevin is doing, I must concentrate on myself and hope for the best. It is not over until it is over”.

By Katie Grimmett

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Kevin Magnussen - DAMS [Pic credit: Renault]

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