Another win for Tech 1 Racing and Alvaro Parente! By becoming the first driver to win two races this year, Alvaro Parente has closed to within just one point of the championship lead. Tech 1 Racing's lead driver has also pulled out an advantage...
Another win for Tech 1 Racing and Alvaro Parente!
By becoming the first driver to win two races this year, Alvaro Parente has closed to within just one point of the championship lead. Tech 1 Racing's lead driver has also pulled out an advantage over his rivals. Despite once more demonstrating his clear potential, Julien Jousse was unable to score any points at Spa.
For the third and final time this year, the World Series Formula Renault 3.5 races took place at a World Series by Renault meeting. This time, it was the turn of the legendary Spa circuit to host the 15 competing teams. Sebastian Vettel bid farewell to the series after being confirmed as a Toro Rosso driver in Formula 1. Alvaro Parente's reaction was typically sporting. "It was a pleasure to do battle with Sebastian," he said. "It was a pity that we could not continue the fight to the end of the season, but such is life. He has reached every driver's goal: a race seat in Formula 1. But this doesn't change anything for me: my objective is to fight for victory at every race as usual."
The weekend got underway with a group test on Thursday afternoon. Laden with sensors, Alvaro's car accumulated data that was vital for the set-up over the rest of the weekend. Julien Jousse's running was interrupted by an off-track excursion. Having missed out on valuable track time, Friday afternoon's qualifying session was set to be a struggle for the young Frenchman.
The first group -- including Alvaro -- set off on a wet track. The circuit eventually dried out, allowing the drivers to go onto slicks for the last few minutes. With the situation as it was, the last driver to see the chequered flag was sure to take pole. Alvaro came out of the session relatively well, with fourth place in the bag. The second group benefited from a totally dry track.
Julien still had his off-track excursion of the day before at the back of his mind and was 12th quickest -- but he promised to climb back up the leaderboard during the race.
The first race got underway on Saturday afternoon. Starting from the fourth row, Alvaro managed to avoid the spectacular pile-up at the first corner. The Portuguese driver ended lap one in third place. With a fantastic move at the bus stop he passed Bertrand Baguette and Fairuz Fauzy to take the lead at the end of lap six. He kept pushing until the obligatory pit stops, where thanks to some slick work from the Tech 1 mechanics, he was able to come out in a strong position to win. After all the pit stops were over he regained the lead on the 12th lap. Nothing could now stop him from cruising to his second victory of the year.
Julien Jousse had less of a happy ending. He staged one of the fightbacks for which he is well known to climb up to 11th place, before getting a puncture. This forced him to take to the pits, and he crossed the finish line in 21st overall.
The second race on Sunday morning was no less dramatic. Once more Alvaro got off to a flying start : moving from 10th on the grid to sixth by the end of the first lap. He was fifth after getting past Van der Garde and continued to push to get in touch with the leaders. Unfortunately he braked a little too late for one of the corners and locked up his front wheels, causing a flat spot that affected his car's handling. Both Van der Garde and Albuquerque were able to get back past him, and Alvaro eventually finished sixth. Julien Jousse was slowed down by a coming together with Michael Herck and finally finished 14th.
With these results, Alvaro Parente put the disappointment of the Hungaroring behind him and closed to within just one point of Vettel in the overall classification. It was a performance that definitely pleased team boss Simon Abadie. "We came here with the firm aim of winning," he said. "Sunday's result could have been a bit better but on the whole everything went well for us. The team worked together extremely efficiently, as our perfect result in the first race goes to show. Now we have to continue like this to the end of the season. Julien's weekend was a bit more disappointing. Things didn't really work out for him, but it takes quite a while to learn this craft--"