Bertrand Baguette kicks off the season on second tread of the podium! Following on from a long winter, interspersed with two collective test sessions at Jerez de la Frontera and Valencia, the World Series by Renault competitors finally...
Bertrand Baguette kicks off the season on second tread of the podium!
Following on from a long winter, interspersed with two collective test sessions at Jerez de la Frontera and Valencia, the World Series by Renault competitors finally took to the track again this weekend, for the first two races of the year on the circuit of Catalonia, in Barcelona.
A track which in the past has suited Bertrand Baguette well, once again driving for the international Draco Racing organisation, proudly sporting the colours of the Force India F1 team. Right from the initial practice sessions the young driver from Verviers was up amongst the top runners, even though the handling of his single-seater was not ideal. "We had trouble trying to work out the right balance ", Bertrand explained, "and I had to pull out al the stops to clinch a 6th best time in my qualifying series, allowing me to get to the Superpole. An exercise I finally completed in 6th place, following the relegation of Miguel Molina, and which allowed me to take the start from the 2nd row on the grid for the race on Saturday ..."
For the first race of the 2009 season Baguette took a perfect start, finding himself ahead of the Spaniard Adrian Valles. During forty five minutes, the Draco driver, who also wears the colours of the RACB National Team, showed some excellent driving skills in order to keep Valles behind him, and not without keeping a close eye on the evolution of the race leader Marcos Martinez, who was unable to fully get clear. "My single- seater still isn't running as it should, and I absolutely had to avoid making any mistakes to keep Valles behind me. It seemed to work right through to the finish, resulting in a 2nd place which is the ideal way in which to kick off the championship. Martinez doesn't necessarily figure amongst the top favourites this year, so it was a pretty good operation ..."
Starting off from a 6th place on the grid this Sunday, Bertrand immediately noticed that his engine temperature was far too high. "It immediately climbed up to 110o., which is not really ideal ", the Belgian driver continued. "However it appeared to hold out. We carried out our pit-stop, fitted rain tyres as rain drops were making their appearance on the track, obviously at the right moment as we found ourselves up in 2nd spot. I truly believed victory would come our way, but then the clutch started showing signs of weakness and finally broke. The temperature was really far too high for the engine, and the clutch didn't appreciate it either ..."
Forced to throw in the towel with a heavy heart, Bertrand is looking forward to seeking his revenge in front of a home crowd at Francorchamps, during the weekend of 2nd and 3rd May. "With a bit of luck we could have appeared at Spa with a handsome lead to our name, but unfortunately we're now going to have to resolve the backlog we clocked up due to this recent retirement. Having said that it's not that dramatic, seeing neither Charles Pic, Miguel Molina nor James Walker, the top favourites in this competition, scarcely performed that well this weekend. On the other hand we'll need to keep a close eye on how Marcos Martinez evolves, as no one expected that outcome, but as for myself I'm pretty confident regarding the next two races at Francorchamps..." And so we wait for the following rendezvous in the Belgian Ardennes, during the first weekend of May ...