A well-deserved award
At the World Series by Renault grand gala held in Barcelona last weekend Charles Pic was awarded the best Formula Renault 3.5 rookie trophy. The 18- year old was a worthy winner. Not content with serving out his apprenticeship at this level, the young FFSA Team France driver stormed to four podium places in the 2008 season, two of them as outright winner. He also picked up a pole position and was twice the fastest man in the race. Performances like these took him to 6th in the championship standings in his first season. Pulling his weight in this way also contributed to Tech 1 Racing's Team title, which provided an additional thrill for him.
Charles once again demonstrated his ability to produce gritty performances under race conditions despite, as on the Catalunya circuit, suffering setbacks during practice. "It was pouring with rain as I came out on the track for qualifying. Going into Turn 4 I suddenly saw a blue flag. After a quick glance in the mirror I started to brake but the car slipped out of my control and I ended up in the gravel."
The one advantage of being last on the grid for Race 1 is that your race strategy becomes blindingly simple - you go straight on the attack as soon as the light go off! Four cars never made it past lap 1. Charles overtook six others, so in the early stages of the race he was lying 15th. Then one by one he picked off Cunill, Tappy, Sanchez and Marsoin. After Bonanomi crashed out of the race, Charles slotted into 8th place. He clocked the 2nd fastest lap in that race.
With three hard-earned points in the bag, Charles found himself him half way up the grid for Race 2. He made up two places in the first lap and went in for his compulsory tyre change a third of the way through the race. Once everyone had been in for their tyre changes Charles had time to add Albuquerque's scalp to his bag before finishing the race once again in 8th place.
"Overall I'm pleased with my season, although I made a few mistakes which cost me a crack at the championship podium," said Charles at the end of the Barcelona meeting. Considering Charles' limited race experience - which amounts to one year in Formula Campus then one in Formula Renault 2.0 - the net result of his 2008 season is very positive. It was the manner of his performances as much as his results that impressed. This bodes well for next season's Formula Renault 3.5 Series. If he carries on this way he should be setting his sights on winning the title!
Charles Pic digest
Nationality: French, Born on February 15th, 1990
2004: Karting Junior ICA, French Championship, 3rd
2005: Karting Junior ICA, European Championship Western qualification race winner; 3rd in European Championship Final; Margutti Trophy winner; Italian Junior Championship runner-up
2006: French Formula Campus Renault Elf Championship, 3rd (2 race wins, 2 pole positions)
2007: Formula Renault 2.0, 3rd in Eurocup (1 race win, 5 podium finishes, 2 pole positions), 4th overall in French Championship and Rookie runner-up (4 overall podium finishes, 1 pole position)
2008: Formula Renault 3.5 Series, Tech 1 Racing driver, FFSA French Circuit Team member, 6th overall and best rookie (4 overall podiums finishes including 2 race wins at Monaco & Le Mans, 1 pole position).