WALKER MOVES BACK UP TO SECOND AFTER SCORCHING WEEKEND James Walker now sits in second place in the 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, just ahead of Formula One's newest recruit, Jaime Alguersuari. The Jersey racer endured a tough time...
WALKER MOVES BACK UP TO SECOND AFTER SCORCHING WEEKEND
James Walker now sits in second place in the 2009 Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, just ahead of Formula One's newest recruit, Jaime Alguersuari. The Jersey racer endured a tough time during qualifying for yesterday's two races but turned it around to take points finishes at the incredibly hot Autodromo Internacional Algarve at Portimao.
With no Superpole session in Portugal, everything was riding on James' position within his qualifying group. Normally he is first or second so it was a big surprise to find himself seventh at the end of the session on Friday afternoon. After much head scratching the only explanation for this was that the car set-up wasn't quite right. James would have a lot of work to do during the races, which both took place on Saturday within a few hours of each other.
James started race one from 14th place on the grid. The start was tricky as, if you get off line at Portimao, the flow of corners at the start of the lap is awkward. He maintained his position then set about picking off the cars in front. Halfway through the race James had moved up to 10th place when Move and Sabatino had a coming together, which also caught out Turvey, so James went around the outside and gained three places. This crash brought out the safety car so the field all gathered up again. At the restart James went on the attack and moved alongside Barba on the pit straight. The Spanish driver tried to put the squeeze on James, who ended up so close to the pit wall that all the teams had to pull their pit signalling boards out of the way! The position was James' though and he sailed through to sixth, keeping the place all the way to the chequered flag.
Race two had another tricky start and James actually dropped back a little. Championship protagonist, Marcos Martinez, got past James but there was no way he was going to let him finish ahead of him so a couple of laps later he passed him right back. After later passing the winner of race one, Jon Lancaster, James gained two places when Fauzy and Clos were busy scrapping at the end of the race. He took the flag in eighth place.
"We managed to salvage quite a lot after our mistakes in qualifying," said James. "In reality we started from the back so I'm pleased to have outscored two of my main championship rivals. Baguette is a different story as he has pulled out a very healthy lead now. We still have four races to go though and we go to the Nurburgring next which has always been a good track for me."
The World Series by Renault now enters a seven-week summer break. Racing resumes at the Nurburgring in Germany on 19/20 September.