Rodolfo Avila proved to be fast in the streets of Pau
More than 30,000 spectators witnessed the 67th edition of Pau Grand Prix - the second round of International Formula Master (IFM) - where Rodolfo Avila had a meritorious presence. The Macanese driver fought for the Race 1 victory and only a fateful collision stopped him to get his first win in European circuits.
After his British F3 National Class podium last year, Avila showed that he was in France to discuss the first positions of the 30-cars grid. And Macau's flag #26 car was one of the fastest in the Friday's training sessions. Macanese motorsport ambassador was 2nd of his qualifying group and lined up on 4th. "We managed to set up the car just the way I like it and we made very good progress throughout the Free Practices. I knew I had a car with which I could attack hard without risking falling off", said Avila who was just 0.087s from the first line of the grid.
Avila entered in the Race 1 to win and after the 'green light' he climbed to 2nd. The Macau SAR was the fastest driver in the track but when he tried to overtake Luca Persiani in the end of the main straight at lap 10, the Italian "closed the door" and hit the Macanese car. Avila had to retire with front suspension damages and the Macau podium chances were gone. "I was faster than him and I knew if I didn't overtake him I would be in troubles with the guys behind me. When Persiani saw me on the mirrors he just turned right hitting my car. It was enough to end my race. This was tremendous frustrating for me as I knew I could get my first victory here".
Overtaking manoeuvres remained a rarity in the narrow streets of Pau, in the Pyrenees. However, Avila proved that it is possible. But his patience didn't paid off again as he was pushed out of the Race 2 by another competitor when he was 13th after starting in 22nd. "My team-mate (Arturo Llobell) crashed into me when he overtook me on the 1st lap in yellow flags! This accident damaged my steering wheel. The car was terrible to drive but I could keep it in the track. Then Maulini hit my left front tyre when he tried to pass me like a mad and that was the end", explained Avila.
"Despite I left Pau without any point I feel more confident now. We demonstrated that we can lap on the top. Thanks to the team's hard work, we're getting faster. Hopefully this race is a sign of good things to come", held the driver sponsored by Macau Government, Macau-slot.com, BNU, CESLAsia, PAL AsiaConsult, TsingTao, Fat Siu Lau Restaurant, Sujika Crafts and PT Asia.
The next round of the IFM takes place at Brno in the Czech Republic in two weeks.