06 Jul Leclerc takes a double win in Monza
The Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS took the Italian circuit of Monza this weekend. Fortec Formula Renault Eurocup racer Jack Aitken and Formula Renault NEC racer Ben Barnicoat joined the team of Charles Leclerc, Martin Kodric and Thiago Vivacqua for the fifth round of the series. For Monegasque Leclerc two victories see him now sit second in the championship.
Saturday’s qualifying sessions took place in sunny conditions with group A (Barnicoat, Aitken, Leclerc and Vivacqua) out on track first.
Leclerc and teammate Aitken fought it out along with Dario Capitanio (BVM Racing) consistently trading lap times. Leclerc was soon on the charge and managed to snatch pole position of his group with a time of 1.49:676. Behind Aitken took 4th, Barnicoat 6th and Vivacqua 13th.
Group B saw Kodric qualify 6th. Stefan Riener (CRAM Motorsport) snatched away pole from Leclerc by just a few milliseconds but Charles was not disappointed as he took his best qualifying position in his single seater career so far.
“During free-practices, me and the team knew we had the speed on the dry and on the wet too,’ commented Leclerc. “When we arrived in qualifying, we did the pole of group A but then group B beats us by 0.2 hundreds, which is nothing! I was really happy nevertheless.”
Race one of the weekend saw Leclerc eager to take his maiden Formula Renault ALPS victory and the young driver looked racy as he pulled away from the start-line in second. Riener maintained his lead and Matevos Isaakyan (JD Motorsport) in third put in a successful maneuver to overtake Leclerc for second.
However Leclerc managed to strike back just two laps later while Riener was being penalized with a 10-second penalty for a jump-start. Leclerc then took the lead with Isaakyan in second.
As the race continued Leclerc put in a faultless performance, crossing the line in first and taking his maiden win in the series. Behind Barnicoat took fifth, Kodric 7th and Vivacqua 15th. Aitken unfortunately retired from the race.
The second race of the weekend saw grid positions derived from the second best qualifying time of each driver and Leclerc start from pole.
At the lights Leclerc made a small mistake enabling Isaakyan to sneak past. Behind, contact at the first chicane saw Barnicoat return to the pits with a damaged wing.
As the race continued Leclerc gained pace and hit back on Isaakyan on lap three with an amazing maneuver at the end of the main straight. Rid of his rival, the young racer continued increasing his lead lap after lap on his opponents. By lap 7 Leclerc had caught teammate Barnicoat, who had rejoined the race after pitting for damage from the opening lap. Barnicoat let his teammate pass and Leclerc went on to take his second victory in two days.
Behind, Aitken crossed the line 12th, Vivacqua in 14th, Kodric 20th and Barnicoat 21st.
Summing up the weekend Leclerc said: “Everything was perfect, the car felt amazing, and we were really fast and consistent! I’m really happy of this weekend, and a big thanks to Fortec for giving me an amazing car!”