NA2000: Gelles Racing Winter Series final notes

Formula Renault: Sondermann, third in the Winter series Gelles star driver Gustavo Sondermann completed the FR2000 Winter Invitational series in third place after he finished one more time on the podium in the fifth and last round of the series...

Formula Renault: Sondermann, third in the Winter series

Gelles star driver Gustavo Sondermann completed the FR2000 Winter Invitational series in third place after he finished one more time on the podium in the fifth and last round of the series on the Grand-Am course of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Brazilian was third overall and less than a second behind series winner Junior Strous. In the final standings, Sondermann, who was turning 22 years-old today, ends up three points short of Juan Manuel Ponte in second.

"I am thrilled, answers the Sao Paulo native. The Winter series was very competitive and today has to be one of my best racing days in career. I was less than a second from the win and the second position in the series after five rounds. I can't wait for the Formula Renault season to get underway in a few weeks because it's going to be like that all season long!"

Track record Monday

Gelles drivers got back to work Monday with three long testing sessions on the Grand-Am course of the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Sondermann was the most consistent driver with fourth place in the first outing, third place in the second session before he shattered the track record with a best time of 1:18:372 in the last period in the afternoon. "My Corduroy Suape car was perfect all day, added Gustavo. We had a great setup on the car and I only needed time to reach perfection on one lap. This track is all about patience and concentration and I was focused enough to register a record lap."

Tuesday, qualifying for the last round saw Sondermann earn fifth best time and a start on the third row. "We were eight drivers in the same second and I was never able to get a lap that really pleased me: sometimes there was wind, another time there was another competitor or the tire temperature was down. In the race, I moved up to third place and looked for an opportunity to get underneath McMullen in second place but I ran out of laps. My goal was to be among the three best drivers in this short series, I'm very happy with the end results and the way things have worked out with the people at Gelles."

The other Gelles drivers were not as fortunate today. Marc-Antoine Camirand had to retire after his USA Today car suffered mechanical problems 14 laps into the 23-lap race. On the other hand, rookie Michael Yager went out early when he made contact with a concrete wall and had to retire the Mid-America Motorsports car.

V6 Testing

All three Gelles drivers took their turn behind the wheel of the new Formula Renault V6 in a testing session after the final race of the Winter series. All were impressed with the stability, the power and the technology of this wonder car. "This is some birthday gift, followed Sondermann who turned 22 yesterday. That car has an array of F1 features and after a few laps in the session I felt very comfortable." "I was impressed, said Yager, the first American to drive the V6. There is nothing like that Renault V6 seater unless you get into the major leagues." "I was surprised how that car is easy to drive at speed, added Camirand. It doesn't feel heavy with the big V6."

Eight weeks to Phoenix

Gelles Team will take a few weeks to prepare the cars for the start the season, scheduled for the second weekend of April in Phoenix, Arizona. Gustavo Sondermann and Michael Yager will return with Gelles as one seat is still available.

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Series Formula Renault
Drivers Junior Strous