Two more points for Tech 1 Racing
Having opened its points-scoring account at Istanbul, the Tech 1 Racing team brought two more points home from Misano. A bold strategy throughout the long race allowed Ryo Fukuda to stage a spectacular comeback from 20th to ninth place ! This result underlines the rising profile of the young Toulouse-based team within the highly-competitive World Series Formula Renault 3.5 arena...
As was the case in Istanbul, Misano was a new experience for the Formula Renault 3.5 teams. The Italian circuit is narrow and bumpy, with ageing asphalt, and it runs anti-clockwise. Conditions were tricky, but it was a level playing field for everybody. On Thursday, the team showed its potential with an 11th fastest time for Ryo Fukuda. Jerome d'Ambrosio had a more discreet circuit debut, setting 26th quickest time--
The team continued its development programme during the practice sessions on Friday, before first qualifying on Saturday morning. On a track that was 'green', Ryo and Jerome could not match their practice pace and lined up on the seventh and 12th rows of the grid respectively.
When the action got underway, Ryo held onto his position for the first six laps. Then an aggressive move from Barba forced the Japanese driver to take to the dirty part of the track to avoid a collision. With his tyres now full of gravel, he struggled against a car that was difficult to drive but eventually climbed back up to 12th place. Team boss Simon Abadie commented : " It's a shame, because I'm sure he could have been able to score some points. " Jerome also managed to make up some places throughout the race, ending up in 17th.
On Sunday morning, the team once more missed out on the best of the qualifying positions for race two -- ending up on row 10 and 13. Nonetheless, with a long race distance and mandatory pit stop, a brave strategy still made it possible to hope for a top 10 finish--
Simon Abadie decided that Ryo should stay out until lap 14 of 29. The Japanese climbed as high as second place and was able to put in some blistering laps just before his pit stop. The number 32 car emerged in ninth place : mission accomplished ! Jerome was on a more conservative strategy : after stopping on the sixth lap he had to settle for 19th at the flag.
Two more points mean that Simon can draw a very positive conclusion from his team's weekend in Italy. " Ryo had an excellent and faultless run that once more allowed him to come home with some points. We're still missing a bit of performance, particularly in qualifying. As has been the case since the start of the season, Jerome is steadily making progress. He's not yet quite at one with the car, and his lack of experience readily explains the gap to Ryo. Our next race will be Jerome's home event, and I'm hoping that Spa-Francorchamps will help him take the next step. So we're going to be doing two race meetings in one week, and then we leave for the Nurburgring straight away. It's another big challenge for our team-- "
Next race : Spa-Francorchamps, 28-29 July