Two podiums and a precious points haul The first meeting of the season is always an important one to see where you stand in relation to your rivals. Tech 1 Racing and its drivers had to be on the pace right away in order to defend their 2 titles.
Two podiums and a precious points haul
The first meeting of the season is always an important one to see where you stand in relation to your rivals. Tech 1 Racing and its drivers had to be on the pace right away in order to defend their 2 titles. And so it was with two podium finishes, one on Saturday for Julien Josse and another on Sunday for Charles Pic.
The Monza circuit with its long straights and mythic corners was the first test of the season. During practice all the drivers got down to adapting the new Formula Renault 3.5 to the circuit. Julien was among the leaders while it was Charles's first time out on the Italian track.
Tech 1 showed the performance level of its package in free practice. Julien repeated his previous year's performance by setting the quickest time in 1m 35.826s that remained unbeaten all weekend.
For qualifying the 26 Formula Renault 3.5 single-seaters were split into two groups. Charles in Group 1 was the first to go for it. He set the fourth-quickest time putting him on the front row. For the first race of the season the grids were reversed so the first four in each group started in reverse order. Julien looked to have pole was in his grasp, but things did not work out as planned and he started from the sixth row.
Charles was on the front row for his first race of the season and Julien on the sixth. The former made a good start, but a few errors on the first lap dropped him back to ninth. Julien's opening lap went off like a dream. He started from eleventh and was up to sixth at the end of lap 1. He continued to carve his way through the field and was battling for the rostrum. He then fell upon Fabio Carbone. On the run down to the first chicane he attacked and braked a bit later. His car went sideways and hit the Brazilian's. They were able to restart but Pablo Sanchez took advantage of their skirmish. In 5 laps, Julien managed to get past the Mexican and crossed the line in third place. "Starting from the sixth row I wasn't really expecting a place on the podium. It was a tough race and I really pushed to get that third spot," was how he analysed his performance.
The team's objective was to rack up the points. Mission accomplished as Julien's podium and its eight points were helped by Charles's ninth place. "I made too many mistakes at the start, but I learned a lot during the race," said the latter.
The second event looked like being just as hotly disputed. Charles started from the 4th row and Julien from the 5th. When the lights went out the two Tech 1 cars found themselves in 7th and 9th places. After a safety car period things speeded up and both drivers began to really push. Charles and Julien were in a compact group of 7 cars fighting for 5th place. They soon got the better of their rivals and found themselves just behind Pasquale DiSabatino, and the battle for fifth quickly turned into one for the podium. Charles was the first to attack DiSabatino. But the Italian was having none of it and Julien took advantage of the duel between the 2 drivers to edge closer.
With 4 laps to go to the flag and only 2 seconds push to pass left Charles went for it under braking for the first chicane and his superb passing manoeuvre gave him 3rd place. His team-mate also took advantage of it and grabbed fourth and that was how the 2 drivers in the Tech 1 Formula Renault 3.5 team finished. "At the start I really didn't think I would be able to battle for the podium. Above all I did my very best not to repeat the same mistakes as the day before. I went for it at the end and that paid off,' grinned Charles who tasted the joys of the podium on his first outing in Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Julien's steady drives brought him a good haul of points putting him in 2nd place overall in the championship. Tech 1 is also in 2nd spot in the teams' ratings so the season has got off to a great start for the Toulouse-based outfit. "We've proved that we're ready and that we're on the pace,' exulted Simon Abadie. "Our poor qualifying performance was more than compensated for by Julien and Charles's great races. We had to score points and they did! Julien showed that he's ready to fight for the title. Charles learns very quickly and he's going to be among the front-runners. The whole team's done a great job this weekend; we have to continue the surge and do even better if we want to win the titles and Monza has put us on the right path. We're second in the teams' championship only four points behind the leaders. Next weekend we'll be at Spa. It's a marvellous circuit on which Julien was very quick last year, while for Charles it's his debut in Formula Renault 3.5. We're going there with great hopes."
So no time to rest! After working on its cars in the Monza paddock the Tech 1 Team is heading straight for Spa for the second round of the season.
-credit: tech 1 racing