PIERRE RAGUES SHINES AT PAU
Frenchman Pierre Ragues battled through some difficulties to score his maiden points in the Formula Master Championship on home territory in Pau, France, after a magnificent fightback through the field.
Pierre is currently the only Frenchman taking part in the Formula Master Championship, which is backed by Eurosport and follows eight meetings of the World Touring Car series this year. It uses identical Honda-powered single-seaters with performances comparable to those of a GP2 car.
Round two of the championship took place at the famous Pau street circuit in France, characterised by narrow roads with high kerbs and tight corners. Because the track was so tight, qualifying took place in two sessions. Although Pierre was fifth fastest of his group and overall, the grid was formed by alternating the top times in each session. This meant that the Euronova driver started from an unrepresentative ninth, having previously confirmed his pace by setting fourth-fastest time in Friday practice.
Having made an excellent start on a circuit he loves, Pierre soon worked his way up to a points-scoring sixth place. But unfortunately, the notoriously punishing kerbs of Pau had taken their toll on his car and the Frenchman damaged a pull rod in his front suspension. This made it impossible for him to steer the car accurately, and he dropped to 12th place in the closing stages of the race -- meaning that he would start race two from 12th on the grid.
Having missed out on the chance to score his debut points in race one, Pierre was determined not to let the opportunity elude him during the second race, despite his lowly grid position. He took two places at the beginning, and then worked his way up to a magnificent fifth place through a series of inspired overtaking manoeuvres.
The 23 year-old Frenchman commented: "What a race! I really enjoyed it, and I was able to get past a lot of other drivers thanks to a car that was really well balanced. I made a good start, and from then it was a really good challenge to try and overtake as many cars as possible -- particularly on a circuit where the passing places are limited. I'd like to thank the Euronova team for all their diligent work, and I'm very relieved to have scored my first four championship points. Hopefully this lays a firm foundation for the rest of the season, so I can go into the next round with a lot of confidence and aim for another good result."
Pierre will be in action again at the next round of the Formula Master series in Brno, from June 15-17. Before then, the championship has a two-day test scheduled at the Czech circuit, where Pierre will learn to get to grips with another new track for him.