03 Oct Double Podium in Monza Ensures Delétraz in Contention for 2016 Formula V8 3.5 Title
Swiss driver Louis Delétraz and the Fortec Motorsports team is closing in on the 2016 Formula V.8 3.5 series title after another strong outing with double podium finishes at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy this weekend.
Round seven of the nine events European contest commenced on Friday with Renault Sport Academy driver Delétraz setting the third and eighth fastest lap times as top rookie in the two practice sessions. Fortec teammate Pietro Fittipaldi came home in ninth and 12threspectively.
It was the turn of the young Brazilian to shine on Saturday morning when he achieved his highest qualifying position of the season. Fittipaldi took the chequered flag in second place with an impressive lap time of 1:33.723, just 0.077 second off pole. Delétraz put the Fortec pairing firmly in the top five by setting the fourth fastest lap of the session.
Race one in the afternoon was full of drama for the Daventry based squad. As the lights went out Fittipaldi took the race lead, however he locked up and ran wide at turn one, returning to the track in P5. With Delétraz now running up in P3 the battle for second place was firmly on. On lap five he passed Matthieu Vaxiviere (SMP Racing) at the first chicane to slip in to second position and began a blistering charge. With the battle for the lead too evenly matched Delétraz took the chequered flag in P2, closing the gap to the Championship lead to only 22 points overnight.
When running wide on the opening lap Fittipaldi took a kerb and got a cone lodged under his chassis. Undeterred and continuing to push, the Brazilian (and the cone) crossed the finish line at the end of race one in eleventh position.
With thoughts of the Championship title firmly in their minds, the Fortec Motorsports team produced a sterling qualifying effort once again on Sunday morning. Fittipaldi set the quickest Rookie lap of the day in sixth place overall with Delétraz ending the session in P8.
The weekend finale in the afternoon featured a series of position changing events in quick succession starting with pole-sitter Roy Nissany (Lotus) stalling on the formation lap grid. With the leader heading to the pit-lane, the rest of the pack proceeded to the start and in the opening laps jostling and contact between front runners meant that positions were quickly lost and gained. The race was soon neutralized, however, for a multi-car contact in the mid-field and the action resumed on lap seven.
Delétraz pitted on lap nine with the team calling Fittipaldi in for his mandatory stop on lap 10. In a great call by the team, Fittpaldi was able to jump Tom Dillmann (AVF) in the pit stop which enabled him to then make a bold move on Yu Kanamaru (Teo Martin Motorsport) around the outside of turn one. At the end of the 22-laps contest Delétraz took the chequered flag in third and top Rookie podium positions. His fellow Rookie teammate claimed the points haul for a fantastic P4 finish to round off a superb weekend for the young Brazilian.
The next stop for Formula V8 3.5 series will be on 29-30 October 2016 at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain. Delétraz heads to the penultimate round of the 2016 season with 182 points on the Drivers’ Championship table just behind Tom Dillmann on 193.
Louis Delétraz, #1 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a very good weekend. We put a lot of points in the bag; from 40 to only 11 behind Dillmann. To get a double podium and double Rookie wins the entire team did a really good job and executed a great strategy. Now let’s go for the title in the last two race weekends!”
Pietro Fittipaldi, #2 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a really good weekend in Monza. We qualified in second for the first race, so started on the front row and made a really good start. I made it up to first at turn one, but the brakes were a little cold and I out braked myself a bit and locked up, damaging my front right tyre and basically costing us a potential win.
“We had to reset going in to day two on Sunday. We qualified in sixth in damp conditions, so it was a bit of a gamble for everyone on what tyres and wings to use. We started the race in sixth, made it up to fifth, then the team had a really good a pitstop where we gained a position and got to fourth. I was then able to put pressure on my teammate in third and we fought for the podium, but in the end I just didn’t have that little bit I needed to get by him. We will take that fourth though and carry the momentum on to Jerez at the end of October.”
Jamie Dye, team manager, Fortec Motorsports Formula V8 3.5 team
“It is a good feeling to get both cars upfront and it was a great team effort. The strategy went to plan and the drivers delivered, so we have all to play for in Jerez at the end of the month.”