Panciatici impresses at Magny-Cours Nelson Panciatici delivered a strong performance at the weekend as the Formula Renault 3.5 Series visited the 21-year-old's home track, Magny-Cours. The Parisian driver scored points for Junior Lotus Racing ...
Panciatici impresses at Magny-Cours
Nelson Panciatici delivered a strong performance at the weekend as the Formula Renault 3.5 Series visited the 21-year-old's home track, Magny-Cours. The Parisian driver scored points for Junior Lotus Racing in both races and was within a whisker of the podium in the first.
After a strong performance in Friday's pre-race testing, Panciatici carried that form into the first qualifying session to set the third fastest time on a damp track, having been at or near the top of the timesheets throughout the session.
Race 1 on Saturday was a wet affair and Panciatici held third off the line, despite losing some ground in the opening stages to the leaders. A succession of quick laps saw him close up to the back of the front two, but he lost more time in traffic when he was blocked by a backmarker who had already let the leaders pass.
After catching up again, a small moment saw Panciatici take a quick trip through the gravel trap at Chateau d'Eau and drop to fourth, a position he held at the chequered flag.
Buoyed by his performance in the first race, Panciatici qualified eighth for race 2, but a heavy shower on the formation lap forced all the teams to make a difficult strategic choice on tyres. The selection of wet rubber turned out to be the wrong one as the track dried quickly and made Nelson's early laps a struggle.
He was, however, able to manage his tyres until the mandatory pit stop window opened and, after making the switch to slicks, a succession of fast laps saw him grab ninth place and more championship points at the finish.
Nelson Panciatici: "I'm a little disappointed to miss out on a podium in race 1 as I was third and preparing to attack the car ahead when I went off in the tricky track conditions. In race 2 we were close to a very good result, but we had to make a decision on tyres and we can't change it now. The positive from the weekend is that we had the speed and my lap times in dry conditions were the equal of the best cars. We have really made a step forward in race conditions and our hard work is beginning to pay off."
Peter Crolla, Junior Lotus Racing Team Manager: "Nelson did a good job in qualifying for race 1 and was never out of the top six during the session. He also ran very well in the race. For race 2 the call for slick or wet tyres was a tricky one. Nelson drove a good race though. He was held up a little bit, but progressed very well once he got past.
The sixth round of the series will be held at the Hungaroring, near Budapest, on 3/4 July and Junior Lotus Racing are looking forward to the event. "Hungary is typically a very hot race so it will be nice to get away from the rain!" said Crolla. "It's a circuit that both our drivers know well and we're hoping that we can build on Nelson's two strong points-scoring positions from this weekend and get some more good results."