KMP Group/SG Formula on the right track With its performances in Hungary and the UK, the KMP Group/SG Formula team demonstrated that it has come on a lot since its rough and ready first outing in Formula Renault 3.5 racing Series in Monaco. The...
KMP Group/SG Formula on the right track
With its performances in Hungary and the UK, the KMP Group/SG Formula team demonstrated that it has come on a lot since its rough and ready first outing in Formula Renault 3.5 racing Series in Monaco. The Franco-Russian outfit still has a lot to do to catch up with the front-runners in the class but there were encouraging signs in these two World Series by Renault meetings that it is on the right track. One example was the bonus point won by Guillaume Moreau at Silverstone for climbing the most places through the field.
Coincidentally, the team's cars bear the same numbers as the legendary Ligier F1 cars back in the eighties. Russian Anton Nebylitskiy races in No. 25 while experienced drivers have taken turns at the wheel of No. 26. Much in the same way as Jules Bianchi did in Monaco, Edoardo Mortara did a one- off drive in Hungary because he wanted to get to know the circuit in readiness for his race there this summer in the GP2 Series.
Guillaume Moreau, on the other hand, has signed up for the rest of the season. This signals a double comeback for the man from Limoges. He's back in a single-seater after a spell in endurance racing that includes a GT1 title in the Le Mans Series and three starts in the Le Mans 24-hour race. Formula Renault 3.5 holds no secret for him, except for the new aerodynamics package introduced for the 2009 season. He raced in this category throughout 2007 and half of 2008, picking up numerous podium places and notching a win in Magny-Cours. This is also the occasion for Guillaume to join up with a team he knows well, having been part of it when it was created in 2004. Back then, their collaboration quickly produced results, as both team and driver won their first victory in motor racing in their very first outing in the French Formula Renault 2.0 championship!
In Budapest, Edoardo Mortara's performance was pretty amazing. He was 3rd in open practice but qualifying went wrong for him when a faulty radio prevented the team informing him about traffic conditions. He made up for it with brilliant performances in the races. He would have finished close to the Top 10 on the Saturday had Greg Mansell not rammed him in the penultimate turn. An aggressive race strategy on the Sunday could have seen him on the podium. "We did the mandatory wheel change very early in the race," said team-manager Stephane Guerin. "When the safety car came out we could have pulled off the hold up of the century because Edoardo went ahead of the eventual winner after his pitstop. Unfortunately he spun off but we really enjoyed having him along. Eduardo's a natural when it comes to speed and hard work."
"Our results at Silverstone may have been less striking but the context was entirely different," went on Stephane Guerin. "We have no data, we have next to no experience in the category and we had no chance to do any test sessions to get to know the car. We had to start virtually from scratch each time. For the Hungaroring we used our Formula Renault 2.0 set ups but it wasn't so easy at Silverstone because the circuit is a lot more demanding. Our basic set up proved to be way off during open practice. Thankfully Guillaume was able to give us some decent feedback. Our engineers worked late into the night, helped by their Formula 3 colleagues back in La Rochelle who were working with our simulation software. That enabled us to go into qualifying with much better handling."
So much so that Guillaume missed out on qualifying for the Superpole by just half a second on the Saturday morning. In Race 1 he moved through the field from 24th to 16th place despite a collision with Di Sabatino in the 2nd lap, which earned him the bonus point for climbing the most places in the race order, thus opening KMP Group/SG Formula's points tally in the championship. On the Sunday, Guillaume climbed even higher in the order, moving up from 17th to 12th thanks to a great start and to some slick wheel changing. "Bravo the team that performed one of the fastest pitstops of the field. We've made good progress as our performance at Silverstone showed but we can't be satisfied yet. Guillaume's arrival gives us confidence for the future because he is good in all situations. I'm confident we'll be able to pick up points other than the one for best race order improvement! On the other hand, it's a great pity that Anton had to drop out of both races due to collisions."