Tech 1 Racing resumed racing after the summer break as the Formula Renault Eurocup got under way again on the Paul Ricard circuit. In collective tests Max Fewtrell and Gabriel Aubry broke into the top 5 immediately and confirmed their form in the first qualifying session, which decided the places on the grid for the second race.
In Q2 on Saturday Aubry was the only Tech 1 Racing driver to finish in the top 3. He was sixth at the start and survived a chaotic first lap to try and score a big haul of points before being harpooned by another car. Behind, Fewtrell combined pushing hard and intelligence to fight his way up from 13th to fifth place. Thomas Maxwell was handicapped by a heavy penalty imposed at the Red Bull Ring, but drove a hard-charging race and pulled back 16 places to finish 13th, three in front of Thomas Neubauer.
However, the outfit from Toulouse was soon back on the podium. The next day Aubry was promoted to third place after the winner’s car was disqualified for a non-compliant car. In parallel Fewtrell scored eight points in his pursuit of the rookie title while Maxwell and Neubauer pulled back five and six places respectively in the squabbling mid-field pack.
“It was a difficult weekend, a rather frustrating one in fact,” summed up Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. “We lacked speed and despite all the changes we made with the drivers, the level of our package stayed the same throughout the meeting. The cars’ handling was good, but quite simply they weren’t quick enough.
“Despite this Gabriel had strong qualifying sessions even if we should have been able to gain another place in Q2. On Saturday he fell back after getting hemmed in when the lights went out. He fought back and would have finished fourth if another car hadn’t punted him into a spin. The next day he made a good start. While he was overtaken by Defourny, one of the three drivers who were a cut above the rest this weekend, Shwartzman’s disqualification put him back on the podium. So overall the result wasn’t too bad even though we’re sorry we lost so many points in the first race.
“Max found himself in a highly competitive group in qualifying. His Q1 was pretty good but we didn’t manage to really get it all together in Q2. However, he did a good job and bounced back to score two top-six finishes. It was tricky but it’s a positive result for a weekend when our performance was below par.
“One thing we’re satisfied with is that Thomas Neubauer is closing the gap to his team-mates. It’s a pity he spun on Saturday as he had to restart at the back of the field to achieve a 19th-place finish when he could have scored points. On Sunday he pulled off a good recovery despite his problems in the final sector. Thomas Maxwell also had issues this weekend although he set excellent times in the races compared to his team-mates. He’s never been so close to them and it’s important to see that they’re continuing to improve. It’s up to us to work together to transform this into points.”
In the overall general teams’ classification Tech 1 Racing has consolidated its third place. In the drivers’ ratings Aubry is solidly installed in fifth place in front of Max Fewtrell. The English driver from the Renault Academy is back in first place in the rookie classification before tackling Spa-Francorchamps on 22-24 September.
“Things were far from easy for our four drivers and the team” summed up Abadie. “We didn’t find the right mix, but we were obviously not the only ones as the track seemed to be quite unpredictable this weekend. After this rather difficult restart I hope that we’ll be much quicker at Spa, a circuit on which we were in rocket mode last year! So I’m expecting everybody to pull up their socks between now and then!”
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