PLOWMAN PULLS OFF PODIUM FOR SEASON OPENER Britain's Martin Plowman got his Formula Renault Italia season off to a flying start with a third place podium finish in round one held at Vallelunga, Italy, on Saturday 31 March. The Tamworth teenager...
PLOWMAN PULLS OFF PODIUM FOR SEASON OPENER
Britain's Martin Plowman got his Formula Renault Italia season off to a flying start with a third place podium finish in round one held at Vallelunga, Italy, on Saturday 31 March. The Tamworth teenager showed further promise by notching up a fourth place finish in round two on Sunday 1 April, securing third in the championship and confirming him as the highest placed Brit.
The BRDC Rising Star put in a steady qualifying session on Saturday to line up sixth on the grid for round one among a mighty grid of 38 cars. Despite a slightly chaotic start, Plowman got clean away and slipped up the inside of Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) and a slow-starting Brendon Hartley (NZ) to finish lap one in fourth.
Closing on Roberto Merhi (E), Plowman made a move up the inside on lap four, but Merhi defended well. The following lap, Plowman tried again with a dummy move to the outside of the second corner, causing Merhi to outbrake himself and run wide, allowing Plowman to slip effortlessly in to third.
Plowman pulled out a comfortable margin and found a steady rhythm but, in the closing laps, began to suffer from low rear grip. Despite battling with severe oversteer, Plowman maintained a steady gap to fourth-placed Hartley to take third and seal the first podium finish of the season.
Lining up on grid seven for round two on Sunday, Plowman made a stunning start to take two places and slot into fifth by the end of lap one. Changes made to the car, however, prior to round two didn't seem to pay off as Plowman was unable to make any impression on fourth place Ricciardo and began loosing ground to Jamie Alguersuari (E) in sixth.
With six laps to go the safety car was called on track for two laps but Plowman took full advantage at the re-start with the pack running nose to tail. A mistake by second-placed Hartley saw Ricciardo try to pass without success down the inside. Plowman, meanwhile, switched to the outside to pass Ricciardo and was halfway past Hartley when the New Zealander managed to retake the place.
Ricciardo tried to follow suit but clipped Plowman's rear wheel, sending him into a spin. Plowman held his composure to stave off the attentions of Alguersuari to cross the line in fourth, sealing third in the Formula Renault Italia championship.
Martin Plowman commented: "I've managed to secure some important championship points this weekend and it's always good to be on the podium, but there is still room for improvement. Qualifying was disappointing and it was unfortunate that some set up changes didn't pay off for round two, but overall a solid start to the season."