Tech 1 Racing bags a good haul of points The Belgians say that there is always action at Spa. Tech 1 Racing found out just how true that is last weekend. Brendon Hartley was on course for a great result in the first race until his car let him....
Tech 1 Racing bags a good haul of points
The Belgians say that there is always action at Spa. Tech 1 Racing found out just how true that is last weekend. Brendon Hartley was on course for a great result in the first race until his car let him. On Sunday, both drivers bagged previous points for the team by finishing fifth and sixth.
Tech 1 Racing arrived at the mythic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium leading both the teams' and drivers' (with Daniel Ricciardo) classifications, for the second round of the 2010 Formula Renault 3.5 Series. In free practice, Ricciardo and Hartley laid down a marker by setting the third and sixth times respectively. The Red Bull Junior Team drivers tackled qualifying in a confident frame of mind as they were on the pace and the cars were handling well.
The first qualifying session was peppered by red flags one of which came after Ricciardo went off. "Daniel was caught out by his cold tyres just after he left the pits," said Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. "It was a costly mistake as he did not set a time and had to start from the back of the grid!" Things went much better for Hartley who set the fourth-quickest time.
The New Zealander showed that he had mastered the Belgian roller-coaster in the race. He was quick and incisive, took third place, then second by overtaking Stan Pentus in the Bus Stop chicane. Hartley pulled in the leader, and was about to place himself in an ideal position to mount an attack and score his first Formula Renault 3.5 victory, when he was let down by his car with six laps to go till the flag. "Brendon was forced to retire due to electrical problems," explained Abadie. "It was really a pity as he drove a perfect race. He was the quickest; he raced intelligently; he could have won. Even though he retired and did not score any points, he had his most complete race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series to date, and showed his true worth."
Ricciardo started from second-last spot and fought his way up to thirteenth delighting the crowd with his many overtaking manoeuvres, especially at the entry to the Eau Rouge Raidillon. Thus, the Australian boosted his confidence in view of the second qualifying session. However, on Sunday morning it was wet, very wet. In pouring rain, Ricciardo managed to qualify in third place. Hartley also looked like he was on the way to setting a good time, but he was held up on his ultimate flyer losing precious tenths in the final sector when he was improving and finished in eighth place.
The track was dry when the cars were going to the grid, but as the start approached the heavens opened again in the Ardennes. Abadie decided to put on wet weather tyres instead of slicks. The change was carried out after the 5-minute board, and Ricciardo and Hartley had to come in for a drive-through as well as their obligatory stop. Both drivers had a solid race and Daniel finished fifth in front of Brendon in sixth. "We had to change tyres, we had no choice. In all, ten drivers were given drive-through penalties," commented Simon. "Daniel and Brendon both put their heads down and did the job in the race. The conditions were dreadful; we had to score good points."
With four races gone, Ricciardo is in second place in the drivers' ratings, ten points behind the leader, and Hartley is seventh. Tech 1 Racing is lying second in the teams' championship only two points behind the leader. Everything is still up for grabs as the season looks very open. "We've lost first place in the drivers' and teams' classifications, so we're going to do our utmost to regain the lead in Monaco. Last year, Brendon set the quickest time in the race in the streets of the Principality, so we know he's quick on this track. Daniel will be discovering the circuit, but a rookie can win in Monaco - like Charles Pic did with us in 2008!"
Rendez-vous on 16th May for the most glamorous race of the season, which is a curtain-raiser to the Monaco F1 Grand Prix.
-source: tech 1