08 May Fortec Motorsports Dominates World Series Formula V8 3.5 in Spa
Fortec Motorsports dominated proceedings at the second round of the 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 in Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium this weekend. The Daventry based squad now leads the Drivers’ Championship with Alfonso Celis Jnr following his maiden season victory and a podium finish, while team mate Diego Menchaca produced impressive performances both in qualifying and the races to secure a pair of rookie wins.
Two collective test sessions kicked off proceedings at the iconic racing venue on Thursday with Alfonso finding good pace straight out of the box to set the sixth and fastest lap times consecutively. Diego put in some solid laps around the 7,000 metres long track to end the tests in P7 and P3 respectively.
Alfonso maintained the team’s momentum in first qualifying to secure his maiden pole of the season with a 1:59.387 minute lap. Diego ended the day in an impressive P4 and as the top performing rookie. Second qualifying followed on Friday morning with Diego storming up to third and Alfonso ending the session close behind him in P6.
It was a pair of perfect race starts for the #TeamFortec Mexican drivers on Friday afternoon. Alfonso controlled the action unchallenged from the front of the field in a lights-out to chequered flag victory, whilst Diego clinched the top rookie spot once again in P4.
Race two on Saturday lunchtime produced plenty of breath-taking action with Alfonso making up three places and #TeamFortec executing a rapid pit-stop to enable the #7 car to cross the line in a third placed podium position. Team-mate Diego maturely handled pressure from the get-go, attacking and defending boldly to achieve his second rookie win of the weekend by coming home in fifth place.
The double points haul from the World Series Formula V8 3.5 round in the picturesque Ardennes region catapults Alfonso Celis Jnr to the top of the 2017 Driver’s Championship leader board with 63 points. Diego sits in seventh position with 30 points. UK based Fortec Motorsports is now third in the Team Championship standings just shy of second place by one point.
Alfonso Celis Jnr, #7 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a great weekend in general. To pull out a pole position and to win a race for the first time this season in Spa, a very special place for me, feels great. It was a weekend with two podiums, consistently good points and we were fighting up at the front every time for the lead. Now that we’re at the top of the championship table it’s definitely the way to go and I hope we keep it up in Monza.”
Diego Menchaca, #8 Fortec Motorsports
“It was a good weekend; I’m happy with my performance, but not entirely satisfied as I wasn’t on the podium, but we are definitely getting closer and closer. Both qualifying sessions went well after only having one practice session in the dry. Qualy two was great as I could get up in to the top three.
“The first race was a difficult one as there were a few cars running on low downforce set-up and it was quite tricky to overtake them. In the end, we got some good points with a fourth place finish. Race two was exciting; I was able to run in the top three for a good amount of the first stint, then after my pit stop I lost a couple of positions to end up fifth and we were struggling a little bit with top speed. I want to thank Fortec for providing us with great cars that allow us to fight at the top in every session – I’m sure it will be the same in Monza which is luckily only a week away!”
Richard Dutton, Team Owner, Fortec Motorsports
“I am extremely impressed with the progress both Alfonso and Diego have made in the past few weeks. Diego is holding his own in a field of experienced drivers and in my eyes doesn’t look like a rookie! Alfonso did a great job to control the first race and lead from the start until the chequered flag and was also able to progress through the field in race two. They are both working hard and I look forward to see what results they can produce in Monza next weekend.”
The next stop for the World Series Formula V8 3.5 will be on 13-14 May when the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy, hosts round three of the nine-event 2017 calendar.