After a below-par performance at the Nürburgring Tech 1 Racing headed for the Red Bull Ring determined to bounce back. In collective tests Max Fewtrell and Gabriel Aubry were among the front-runners, which the Renault Sport Academy driver confirmed with his first group pole position.
In Q2 on Saturday the team pursued its momentum as Aubry set the fastest lap in his group with a time that was identical to the pole position. Fewtrell was fourth quickest while Thomas Maxwell and Thomas Neubauer again broke into the top 10.
Fewtrell started on the front row for race 1 and took the lead in the first corner after which he had to push, defend and cope with the traffic. The British driver kept a cool head and scored his first victory in Formula Renault. There was a lot of action in the pack in which his team-mates tried to create overtaking opportunities which they could use. Aubry made the best of these opportunities by pulling back three places and taking the flag in fifth position.
On Sunday, Aubry and Fewtrell added more points to the team’s tally. The Frenchman was on the front row, but he was caught by another driver after which he diced with his team-mate for third place. The Frenchman kept the upper hand while Fewtrell scored his seventh win (in 15 races!) in the rookies category. Maxwell was again battling for points before having to retire as he was punted into a spin by another driver, while Neubauer just missed out on breaking his duck as he saw the flag in 11th place.
“Max had an ideal weekend to boost his confidence before the holidays,” said a delighted Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing Team Manager. “It was already fantastic to see him delivering the goods in qualifying with his first group pole, after which he kept up the momentum with a great start and a superb race keeping his head when his pursuers closed the gap. Even though he was a bit handicapped at the start of Q2 and was unable to battle with Gabi for the fastest time he achieved another very solid, very fast drive in the second race with several overtaking moves and he finished just shy of the podium. We’ve felt this coming for a few meetings and we’re very happy that he’s scored his first win as it’s the logical outcome of his recent performances.
“In Gabriel’s case the qualifying sessions were the reverse of Max’s as he was disappointed to finish fourth less than a tenth-of-a-second off second place in Q1 after which he set pole in Q2. However, he drove a very mature first race to finish fifth. On Sunday, we had the potential to win again but Gabi went wide when trying to protect his position and another driver took advantage of this. Despite this slight disappointment he scored a big haul of points before the break.
“Despite qualifying sessions in which he wasn’t able to string it all together Thomas Maxwell made a great fight back before being hemmed in in the pack on Saturday and punted off on Sunday. These results don’t reflect the true level of his performances, and the summer break arrives at just the right moment for him to recharge his batteries and come back in better form.
“Finally, Thomas Neubauer continues to confirm the potential we spotted in him. After a good qualifying session in Q1 that could have been even better, he fought hard throughout the race to get close to a points-scoring finish before having to pay for his minor errors. On the other hand, his performance in Q2 was his steadiest and most consistent since his debut. We’ve now established a base for qualifying and we have to use it to help him move up the time sheets. He rounded off his weekend with an attacking race. Thomas made fewer mistakes which show how much he’s improved and he’s beginning to get his act together. It bodes well for the restart!”
In the teams’ classification Tech 1 Racing is in third place before the summer break. In the drivers’ ratings Aubry is back in fourth spot and Fewtrell is only three points behind the highest-placed rookie. The next rendezvous is at the Paul Ricard circuit on 25-27 August.
“Since the Monza event in Formula Renault NEC our overall level of performance has been excellent;” summed up Simon. “We have two cars capable of fighting for pole, we’re winning and things are gradually falling into place. We must not relax our efforts where Max and Gabi are concerned; there’s still a long way to go in the championship with eight races and 200 points at stake. Anything can happen and I’m counting on them to continue the dynamic and fight for victory in all the heats still on the calendar.”
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