Strong start to the season for Nelson Panciatici Two points finishes made for a bright start to Nelson Panciatici's Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Motorland Aragon on a weekend where just staying on the circuit was a task that proved ...
Strong start to the season for Nelson Panciatici
Two points finishes made for a bright start to Nelson Panciatici's Formula Renault 3.5 Series season at Motorland Aragon on a weekend where just staying on the circuit was a task that proved impossible for most.
The Junior Lotus Racing driver scored two encouraging results with a fifth and ninth place finish on his series debut.
After qualifying down in 13th on Saturday, having only completed half of the session, Panciatici produced one of the drives of the weekend in torrential rain during race one.
A good start saw him make up a number of places off the grid, climbing his way up to fourth, and was closing in on a podium position when he was powerless to stop the car aquaplaning off the circuit on the straight, rejoining to finish fifth at the chequered flag.
Qualifying for Sunday's race was almost a carbon copy of the previous day. On a drying circuit where the improving conditions played into the hands of those setting their flying lap last, Panciatici was well placed on the timesheets throughout the session until being shuffled down to 11th as a flurry of quicker times were posted in the dying stages.
The race took place on a completely dry track and Panciatici again climbed the order early on until his pit stop dropped him back to where he had started in 11th. In the second half of the race he produced a couple of fine passing moves to clinch ninth at the finish.
The team was particularly pleased as Panciatici and team-mate Daniil Move scored four points finishes from four starts.
Nelson Panciatici: "We didn't quite get the results we wanted, but we have limited the damage with two strong points finishes which could be very important for the championship. We had good pace in both the wet and the dry and we weren't far from being able to challenge for the podium. The team has worked hard to give me a good car and I have already formed a good rapport with my engineer."
Peter Crolla, Junior Lotus Racing team manager: "Nelson drove a really good race on Saturday, fought a few hard battles and came away with a fantastic result. Then, on Sunday, he made a good start and drove well.
"We're very happy to take away four points finishes from the weekend and we were delighted with the team performance. That is excellent news and we're looking in good shape heading into the next round."
The second Formula Renault 3.5 Series round is scheduled for 1 and 2 May at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.