Prema reveals its power Christian Montanari gave Prema Power Team its first victory in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. The San Marino driver thus scored his first win since taking victory at Monaco in 2005. Satisfaction was equally felt by Alx...
Prema reveals its power
Christian Montanari gave Prema Power Team its first victory in World Series Formula Renault 3.5. The San Marino driver thus scored his first win since taking victory at Monaco in 2005. Satisfaction was equally felt by Alx Danielsson (Comtec Racing) and Andy Soucek (Interwetten.com), who now joins Parente at the top of the championship standings.
The start was utterly unbelievable, as Mikhail Aleshin was the quickest away. The Russian hit the brakes too late, far too late, but not as late as Pastor Maldonado and Alvaro Parente, who both ran wide and into the gravel trap! Behind these three, there was general pandemonium as several cars struggled to negotiate the corner, including that of Davide Valsecchi. Mikhail Aleshin picked up a puncture from the debris and limped back to the pits with no rubber left on his rear wheel.
Andy Soucek completed the first lap in the lead, ahead of Marcos Martinez, who then ran into the gravel at the start of lap two! Robbie Kerr managed to get the better of Alx Danielsson, moving up into second position. These two were followed by Christian Montanari, Sean McIntosh, Ryo Fukuda, Adrian Zaugg, Borja Garcia, James Rossiter and Eric Salignon.
Garcia and Rossiter then clashed on lap 4. The British driver span whilst the Spaniard managed to hold onto his position. The safety car was then brought out so that the marshals could clear Marco Bonanomi's (Tech 1) single-seater from the track.
Racing resumed at the end of lap 6. Three drivers decided to come into the pits immediately for their mandatory tyre change: Kerr, Danielsson and Sabatino. Montanari, Garcia and Maldonado followed suit on the next lap, taking the gamble of an early pit stop. McIntosh and Jouanny did likewise on lap 8.
Andy Soucek thus found himself in front, trailed by Fukuda, Salignon, Shimoda and Franchi. With 10 laps gone, the Spaniard had already built up a 31'' lead over Montanari, the leading driver among those who had already pitted. He came in one lap later, and came back out just behind Montanari! With cold tyres, Andy was unable to hold off Alx Danielsson and dropped back another place.
After holding the lead for two laps, Ryo Fukuda was last favourite to stop. The probable outcome appeared to be sketched out, with Montanari as virtual race leader, ahead of Danielsson, Soucek, McIntosh, Fukuda and Garcia. The first four were nose-to-tail!
On lap 18, another clash, this time between James Rossiter and Milos Pavlovic (Eurointernational), resulted in a second appearance of the safety car. The race then resumed for the final three laps. Aleshin, who still had not come in for his pit stop, was still leading from Montanari, the virtual race winner. Behind these two, Andy Soucek attacked Alx Danielsson, but could not find a way past. Aleshin was handed a one-minute penalty at the end of the race, thus finishing 21st.
Christian Montanari: "Everyone at the team has been working very hard since the start of the weekend. Our tactics were excellent. I pushed very hard to make sure of winning. This is an important result for us after a difficult first half of the season."
Alx Danielsson: "This result is just reward for the guys in the team, who have worked incredibly hard over the last week. We've had some difficult moments, but we have always been quick and we have finally got what we deserved."
Andy Soucek: "We have had a tough weekend. We never quite found the right setup for the car. Qualifying wasn't too bad and I tried to set a high pace in the race. But we lost a bit too much time during the tyre change."