Triumph for Parente and Tech 1 Racing! The Tech 1 Racing team took its first win in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 series last weekend -- a success that was made all the more special by the fact that it took place on...
Triumph for Parente and Tech 1 Racing!
The Tech 1 Racing team took its first win in the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 series last weekend -- a success that was made all the more special by the fact that it took place on the twisty streets of Monaco, in front of the glamorous world of Formula 1. Alvaro Parente underlined his status as a true championship contender with a perfect race from pole position. Julien Jousse built up experience on his Monaco debut, and got to the finish in 16th place.
The third World Series race meeting of the year took place in the famous Principality of Monaco. As always, it was a special event with some special rules: there was a short free practice session, a single qualifying session, and then just one race without the usual mandatory pit stops.
On Thursday morning, the drivers had the unenviable task of being the first people out on track of the entire meeting. On a dirty and slippery surface, Alvaro Parente and Julien Jousse managed to get the maximum number of laps in without making any mistakes. In the final few minutes, the Portuguese driver set second-fastest time of the session -- while his French team mate settled for 16th quickest. He said: "I think it's impossible to know what this track is like until you have driven on it! It's absolutely fantastic: there was a lot of traffic and I wasn't able to find a clear lap, but it's good to have driven the equivalent of an entire race already."
After anxiously monitoring the weather conditions throughout most of Friday, the Tech 1 Racing team took to the track for a qualifying session that was eventually dry. In the first group of runners, Julien Jousse gradually quickened his pace before spinning at the Rascasse. It was an inconsequential mistake, but it had the effect of distracting the rookie -- who went off the track again at Sainte Devote a few hundred metres later. The Frenchman set the 13th-fastest time of his group, which meant that he qualified by the skin of his teeth: just 26 runners had a guaranteed slot on the grid.
Alvaro Parente dominated the second qualifying group. He was quickest of his group after just 10 of the allocated 25 minutes, and then beat the pole time set by Sebastian Vettel in the preceding session. Refusing to lift off, Alvaro was caught out at the swimming pool chicane in the closing minutes of the session. Thankfully, he hung onto his advantage until the finish and so recorded Tech 1 Racing's first World Series pole position--
On Sunday morning, the tension was at its highest. French star Franck Montagny was delighted to see a team from his home country on pole, and came over to give the Toulouse-based outfit some words of encouragement shortly before the start--
Alvaro made a perfect getaway and led into the first corner, Sainte-Devote, ahead of Sebastian Vettel. They soon pulled out an advantage over the rest of the field, followed by Clivio Piccione. The gap between the two leaders was never more than two seconds, but Alvaro was controlling the race perfectly. "The car understeered a bit on the tight corners but I had better traction," said Alvaro. "Sebastian was never really able to challenge me." The Portuguese driver soaked up the pressure from his German rival all the way to the end of the race, giving Tech 1 Racing cause for huge celebrations when he crossed the finish line as the winner!
Starting from 26th place, the only way was up for Julien Jousse. He took advantage of mistakes from his rivals, and was one of the few people to pull off some overtaking moves throughout the race. He got to the finish in 16th place after an entirely fault-free run over the 25 laps of competition.
"I'm still struggling to get to grips with the fact that we've just taken our first pole position and race win at Monaco," said Tech 1 Racing principal Simon Abadie, the youngest team boss of the field. "Alvaro drove a virtually perfect weekend. Vettel remained a threat right up to the end, but Alvaro had enough in reserve to hold onto his advantage. Julien's final result is more disappointing, but we mustn't forget that this was only his first time on this circuit. His qualifying session was not up to expectations, but he made up for that in the race -- and the experience he gained will be very useful for the future. This first victory only redoubles our motivation now. Throughout the first third of the season, we have been the only team able to consistently challenge Carlin Motorsport. If we can win again in Budapest, there is everything to hope for at the end of the season--"
Next event: Budapest (Hungary) 14-15 July