First podium for Julien Jousse! In front of more than 135,000 spectators who had gathered at the Donington Park circuit in England, the Tech 1 team was on sparkling form. Alvaro Parente scored enough points to extend his...
First podium for Julien Jousse!
In front of more than 135,000 spectators who had gathered at the Donington Park circuit in England, the Tech 1 team was on sparkling form. Alvaro Parente scored enough points to extend his championship lead, while Julien Jousse claimed his first podium!
Unlike the previous races, the drivers had just two hours of free practice to perfect their knowledge of the circuit and define the set-up of their cars in preparation for qualifying. It was Julien Jousse's first time at the circuit, which made life even harder for the young Frenchman. Alvaro Parente, by contrast, took to the British circuit like a duck to water. The Portuguese driver ended up setting fastest time in both practice sessions on Friday.
On Saturday morning, Julien was in the first qualifying group. He was consistently amongst the frontrunners, eventually claiming an excellent grid position on the second row behind Fairuz Fauzy. A few moments later, Alvaro confirmed his own stunning pace by claiming his second pole position of the year. Tech 1 Racing's places at the sharp end of the grid constituted the team's best qualifying performance all season.
Race one took place on Saturday afternoon in front of more than 55,000 spectators. Parente made the most of his pole position to get the jump on Fauzy and Jousse -- who had in turn got the better of Barba. Fauzy boldly decided to opt for an early pit stop, which left the two Tech 1 Racing cars in front for a few laps -- until they too had to come in for a stop.
While Jousse lost his place to Barba during the pit stops, Parente was able to get back into the lead--before he made a mistake that sent him into a gravel trap! He rejoined in fourth, and concentrated on maintaining his position to the end in order to make sure of scoring some precious points. Tech 1 Racing's best hopes therefore rested on Julien Jousse's young shoulders -- who was in second place less than a second behind Barba. Unfortunately, a safety car period at the end of the race deprived the rookie of a chance to make his move. In any case, second place was a superb reward for Jousse after what has often been a frustrating season for him so far.
More than 80,000 people came to spectators on Sunday, attracted by the sun and the prospect of a fantastic show from the World Series by Renault. The reversed grid saw Alvaro and Julien start from seventh and ninth respectively, with the firm objective of scoring more points. The start was somewhat chaotic: Alvaro managed to fight his way through the turmoil to take fourth place, but Julien was forced to avoid a collision in front of him and slipped to 13th by the end of the first lap.
On lap two, Alvaro made a mistake that dropped him out of the top 10. While trying to make up the lost time, he went off the track a few more times -- which resulted in him coming away from the race empty-handed. Julien, meanwhile, had a solid and consistent race under difficult circumstances. He finished in seventh overall, in a points-scoring place once more!
Tech 1 Racing had the highest score of any team from the weekend: a source of satisfaction for team boss Simon Abadie. "Our results from this weekend mean that we are almost guaranteed a podium finish in the teams' championship already," he said. "That is fantastic for us, as we are fighting against rivals with a huge amount of experience. For the first time this year, Julien has had a perfect weekend. His hard work during free practice allowed him to approach qualifying in a positive way, and he carried this through to the races without making the slightest mistake. He needs to continue this form up to the end of the season in order to become a title contender in 2008. While Alvaro has consolidated his lead of the drivers' championship, he has also lost points that could be crucial at the end of the season through mistakes. I'm not going to criticize as it's only human to make mistakes, but losing a victory is always hard to swallow. We must make sure that this doesn't happen again if we want to win some titles in Barcelona!"
Tech 1 Racing's next outing will take place on home territory: the French round of the World Series by Renault at Magny-Cours from September 21-22.