Pic scores maiden win What better place to score your maiden victory than in the streets of Monaco? Like last year the prestigious race in the Principality fell to Tech 1 Racing. Charles Pic starting from pole...
Pic scores maiden win
What better place to score your maiden victory than in the streets of Monaco? Like last year the prestigious race in the Principality fell to Tech 1 Racing. Charles Pic starting from pole made no mistakes and saw the chequered flag in first place, his opening win in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. After he received his trophy from Renault boss, Carlos Ghosn, the "Marseillaise" resounded through the streets of Monaco to celebrate his and Tech 1's success crowned by Julien Jousse's fourth place.
Monaco is certainly the most difficult race of the season. Many of the great names have won on its very tricky layout where a second's inattention can lead to disaster. The Tech 1 Team, however, came first here last year and knew how to tackle this unique challenge.
The single 45-minute practice session enabled Julien Jousse to find his marks on a circuit he likes. It was Charles Pic's first time out on the track, and he showed his talent by getting to grips with the Monaco streets very quickly. Julien and Charles finished the session in 11th and 17th places.
The cars were divided into 2 groups for qualifying. Julien was in group A, which was the first to go out, while Charles was in group B. A few minutes before the green flag a shower drenched the circuit. Julien, bearing the no.1, dominated his group during most of the 20-minute session. As the track began to dry out the final laps saw a flurry of activity. Giedo Van der Garde snatched pole and Julien prepared to fight back. Unfortunately his final run was cancelled by a red flag. Even though 6 minutes remained, the session did not restart and he ended up with the second-quickest time. "That red flag cost me a lot as I had what it took to get pole," was how Julien analysed the situation. "The car's quick and I feel good. It's a great pity as here more than anywhere else grid positions are of crucial importance."
The streets were drying out when the second group took to the track. Charles was on the pace right away and showed that he was a contender for pole being the first to beat Van der Garde's time. With about 5 minutes to go he came in to his pit, put on slicks and went back out for a couple of flyers. He was third at the end of the first one and then just as the chequered flag fell he took pole, his first in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. "That last lap was really wild, but I had to go for broke. Now I'll have to concentrate on the race itself without putting myself under pressure," laughed the pole sitter.
Tech 1 was very happy with having its 2 cars in 1st and 4th positions on the grid. But the most difficult challenge still awaited them - the race! And to make things even more complicated it was wet on Sunday morning.
The start was given behind the safety car and when the latter pulled off Charles pushed to open up a gap over Van der Garde. Soon the 2 drivers were separated by 2 seconds. Julien made a good start slotting into 4th place and pulling away from Bertrand Baguette in 5th.
Up front Charles controlled the race perfectly. When Van der Garde began to close the gap he upped the pace to show who was boss. Several drivers tripped up in the tricky conditions bringing the safety car out twice. The race was stopped before the end after a collision between 3 cars.
Aged only 18, Charles scored his maiden victory in the Renault 3.5 Series and also the first of the season for Tech 1 Racing. "In the race I never even thought about my first win," explained Charles. "I had to remain 100% concentrated and keep an eye on the track which was starting to dry out. Above all, my aim was not to make any mistakes. This win is a just reward for all the work the team's accomplished, and it took a lot to achieve this result. Tech 1 Racing's given me a super car. We were expecting a difficult weekend as I didn't know the track, but I soon understood what was needed here. I went to watch the F1 cars in action on Thursday and I saw a few trajectories that I hadn't thought of. That helped me. I'm really very happy; it's a great win."
Julien Jousse who finished 4th also reaped a good harvest of points that could prove vital over the course of the season. "It's difficult to overtake here on this track. I started fourth and finished fourth. The fact that I scored points is the most important thing. I can't wait to go to Silverstone to do better and score my first victory."
Tech 1 Racing is back on the topmost step of the rostrum and Simon Abadie is delighted with its performance. "After Spa it was important to make amends. I'm very happy with Charles's victory. It always gives great satisfaction to have a Frenchman win in Monaco and that hasn't happened for a long time. Julien also drove a great race. He was unlucky in qualifying. I'm sure we're quick enough to do the double. Charles is third in the championship and Julien fourth, and in the teams' ratings we've got back to within eight points of P1 Motorsport. It's been a very good weekend. The team's efficient; our cars are quick and our driver pairing is certainly the most equally balanced in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. We've got to keep up the good work and win at Silverstone. There's still a long way to go and we have to put our rivals under pressure," was how Simon summed up the situation.