Tech 1 leads going into the final round!
Tech 1 Racing had a good weekend at Estoril and went into the lead in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series teams' classification. Julien Jousse and Charles Pic were quick throughout the whole event, and thanks to their performances the team from Toulouse goes into the final round with 9 points in hand over its closest pursuer
The end of the season is fast approaching and in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series every point counts even more than usual. Tech 1 Racing's avowed aim is the teams' title, and it arrived in Estoril 17 points behind the leader. Its challenge was not an easy one and it required a brilliant performance by the whole team on the Portuguese circuit.
Julien Jousse and Charles Pic worked calmly and efficiently during the 2 collective test sessions on the programme. Both Tech 1 Racing drivers found an optimum set-up for their cars on the Estoril circuit, which combines fast sections and tricky portions.
Qualifying went off perfectly. Charles and Julien were in the same group and their aim was to qualify in the first six for the Super Pole shootout. They did so, and then came the SuperPole, a very specific and exciting challenge. Julien put in a great lap to grab second with Charles just behind him in third.
For the first race the first eight in the SuperPole lined up in reverse order on the grid putting Charles and Julien sixth and seventh respectively. Julien drove a steady race and crossed the line in fifth place. Things didn't work out so well for Charles who went straight on in the third corner, and was then involved in a collision with another car that led to his retirement.
The team was expecting a lot from the second race with both cars well placed on the grid in second and third positions. When the lights went out Julien and pole-sitter Miguel Molina got in each other's way. Charles took advantage of this to grab the lead and at the end of lap 1, Julien was fourth. Charles stayed in front up to the obligatory pit stop maintaining the gap to his second-placed Spanish rival.
At the end of lap 6 Julien was the first of the leaders to come in followed by Charles 2 laps later. "We decided to stop both our drivers early on as we needed points from this race," explained Simon Abadie. "It was a fairly conservative strategy, but it prevented us from losing out if the safety car appeared. Had Charles, who was in the lead at the time, scored points in the first race, we might have waited a little longer. But we had to take that decision to hold on to second place. In the circumstances it was the right strategy both for the team and the championship."
Charles lost time behind Pippa Mann when he rejoined the race. It was to prove decisive as Miguel Molina took the lead after his stop. Julien was the driver who benefited from his early stop as he found himself in third place. Charles and Julien kept up the pace until the chequered flag. By finishing second and third the Tech 1 drivers bagged 22 points for the team. Julien is now only 2 points behind the second-placed contender in the drivers' championship while Charles is up to fifth.
Thanks to this very good overall result Tech 1 Racing has taken the lead in the teams' championship to the delight of Simon Abadie. "It's been a very positive weekend. Everybody's done a great job. Sunday's race gave us just the kind of result we wanted. It's vital for us to be the first team to win the teams' title twice, something that's never been achieved before in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. It's important for the Tech 1 Racing squad and for all the people who work with us. Winning the title will enable us to build on our renown and to be taken even more seriously. It's our main objective and we're going to arrive in Barcelona motivated like never before to clinch it."
The final round of the season on the Spanish circuit on 18th-19th October looks like being an amazingly exciting one. Tech 1 Racing's drivers' mission is to defend their first place and win that much sought after title.