One 3.5 podium in the bag already! The first round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series formed part of the Le Mans Series package, on the magnificent, sun-drenched Monza circuit, in Italy. Charles Pic made a noteworthy start by reaching the ...
One 3.5 podium in the bag already!
The first round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series formed part of the Le Mans Series package, on the magnificent, sun-drenched Monza circuit, in Italy. Charles Pic made a noteworthy start by reaching the medal-winner's stand for the first time at the conclusion of Race Two. His front-row start the day before came to nothing when a collision with another driver occurred at the beginning of the race. But the Tech 1 Racing team's young driver is already in 4th place in the provisional championship rankings! Charles found himself on a circuit quite unlike the ones he drove on during the trials in Spain. "I had some trouble getting to grips with this very fast track because, unlike Barcelona and Valencia, single-seaters at Monza are set up to have very little downforce. So the car's behavior is completely different. I made the most of open practice and my times eventually became satisfactory."
It was extremely hot during qualifying on the Friday afternoon. "I did the best I could and managed 8th best time, but I know I could have done better." Thanks to the reverse grid arrangement for the top eight, Charles was on the front-row in Race One.
"When the lights went off I got into a good position behind category veteran Bertrand Baguette. At the end of the first lap, Bonanoni tried to overtake me on the outside of the Parabolica curve. We both delayed our braking to the last second, and inevitably we bumped! I started off again in 5th position, but with the nose and the left front wishbone damaged. I then made a couple of small mistakes that dropped me down to 11th place. Luckily, in spite of these problems, the car continued to perform well and I caught back up to 9th."
Using his experience from the day before, he drove an intelligent second race, which paid off when he ended up in 3rd place. "The safety car slowed us down for two laps, and after the restart I began to overtake people. After Baguette's problems and a black flag for Bonanoni I was 5th. I overtook Aleshin half-way through the race, and then I gradually gained ground on Di Sabatino. When I was in a position to pass him I didn't hesitate. I slipstreamed him along the main straight and sneaked past on the inside going into the first chicane. The two leaders were too far away by then and I had my team-mate Julien Jousse in the rear-view mirrors, so I concentrated on not committing any errors and making sure of my place on the podium."
Charles can be pleased with his first Formula Renault 3.5 meeting, which confirms the great potential shown during winter test sessions. The Tech 1 Racing driver also demonstrated excellent determination on the track. The points from this 3rd place finish put him straight into 4th place in the rankings, ahead of the next meeting, on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on May 3-4. "In Belgium, I will be trying to get to know the track more quickly, so as to be in top form for qualifying!"
-credit: charles pic