Tech 1 Racing in an ideal position before the final push! Julien Jousse took one pole position and a podium at Estoril, underlining his growing form. Alvaro Parente claimed points in both races, maintaining the upper hand in his duel with Ben ...
Tech 1 Racing in an ideal position before the final push!
Julien Jousse took one pole position and a podium at Estoril, underlining his growing form. Alvaro Parente claimed points in both races, maintaining the upper hand in his duel with Ben Hanley. With just one week before the final showdown at Barcelona, Tech 1 Racing is poised for the ultimate success. All that remains is to get the job done--
The weekend did not get off to an ideal start for Tech 1 Racing, as the team hit difficulties during the official pre-event test. Julien Jousse was consistently amongst the 10 quickest drivers, but Alvaro Parente always struggled in the third sector of the circuit. By a process of hard work and elimination, the engineers finally found him an ideal set-up, which was confirmed by the Portuguese driver's final run on Friday afternoon.
The team started off qualifying with the hope that this work would result in places near the front of the grid. Julien Jousse put in a fantastic performance in the first group by setting fastest time. The Frenchman was already quick on his first set of new tyres, but he proved to be faultless on his second run. He beat Ben Hanley -- Alvaro Parente's title rival -- by more than a tenth of a second.
In the other group, Alvaro was equally relieved to set fastest time. Having gone slightly quicker than Julien, he thought that he was well on his way to his third pole position of the year -- until the race stewards disallowed his best time for speeding in the pit lane. This meant that the Portuguese driver would start from the second row, but that Julien would take pole!
The start of the first race was eventful. Julien got off to a bad start with too much wheelspin, allowing Molina to take the lead. Hanley also tried to get past but he ended up touching Parente with his front wheel, sending him into a series of rolls! This also ruined the race for Alvaro, who ended the first lap in ninth place with damage to his car's front end.
Equipped with new tyres, Molina drove towards victory while Julien made sure of second place. The pit stops went smoothly for Julien as well, who maintained his runner-up position. The Tech 1 Racing mechanics showed their class in the pit lane by giving Alvaro a tremendous stop that allowed him to finish sixth and score some very precious points!
The following day, Alvaro and Julien started from fifth and ninth places on the reversed grid. Having made an excellent getaway, Parente kept his place. But as he completed more laps, his tyres started to wear and the handling of his Formula Renault 3.5 suffered. Two-thirds of the way through the race, Albuquerque got himself into trouble. Alvaro had to take to the gravel trap to avoid a crash, which allowed two people to get past him. In the end, the Tech 1 Racing driver finished seventh -- but still in a points-scoring place. Julien held onto his ninth place at the end of a solid and mistake-free race.
In the drivers' championship, Alvaro Parente now has a 22-point advantage over Ben Hanley before the final two races at Barcelona. The situation is equally promising for Tech 1 in the teams' championship, as the French team has a 33-point advantage over Italian squad Draco Racing.
Team boss Simon Abadie commented: "Julien has enjoyed another perfect weekend. He has finished the last six races in the points and on the podium three times. He is the driver who has scored the most points since the championship re-started after Donington and he has now climbed to sixth in the championship! I feel a bit disappointed for Alvaro, whose weekend was somewhat ruined by Hanley at the start of race one. But there's no point dwelling on it as Alvaro's advantage has actually got bigger now."
Without pausing for breath, the team set off for Barcelona where the final meeting of the season will take place this weekend. "We're going to be fighting for two titles, so the pressure will be massive," concluded Abadie. "It's down to us to just get on with the job now and not to crack, in order to finish the season in the best possible way!"