22 Mar Fortec Show Promise in F3 Qualifying Opener
At the Italian circuit of Monza, Fortec’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship team battled it out for the first pole positions of the season. In two action-packed sessions, which determined the grid positions for all three races, the Fortec team showed they have what it takes to be challenging the rest of the 30-strong grid.
Josh Hill, who raced in the Formula Renault NEC last season, showed great promise in the first qualifying session of the day. Numerous position changes showed just how competitive the grid was, however Hill demonstrated great skill as he finished first out of the Fortec team. Hill set the ninth fastest lap time overall with a 1:45.806, putting him in the front half of the grid for tomorrow’s race.
Fortec team-mate Felix Serralles put in a sterling effort with a fastest lap time of 1:45.919, resulting in starting thirteenth for race 1. Pipo Derani finished seventeenth, whilst newcomer to the team Dmitry Suranovic finished 29th.
The second fastest laps of the session set the grid for race 2 and saw Serralles come out fastest of the Fortec men in tenth. Derani claimed fourteenth with Hill just behind in fifteenth. Suranovic kept consistent laps times and finished with a second 29th.
Derani continued his strong showings from the last season to set the fifth fastest lap time at today’s FIA European F3 second qualifying session, following on from a seventeenth in the first session of the day. With just five minutes to go Derani pulled out all the stops resulting in a fifth place finish, just 0.459s off pole sitter Raffaele Marciello.
Serralles, who finished third in last year’s British F3, took thirteenth with a 1:45.662. Hill once again was on his tail setting the fourteenth fastest lap with a 1:45.717. Russian Suranovic finished the session in 27th.
“I’m really happy with the first session, I was fastest in the team and considering it was my first ever qualifying I’m really happy with that. The second session was good and I reached 14th without a tow so I’m pleased with the result. Fortec are a very professional team but stepping up from the NEC you notice it’s at a whole new level, everything about the series is run amazingly well, you also have your work cut out though and I’ve been learning a lot more about the mechanical side of the car. I’m near the points and my aim is to just keep it clean.”
“From where we were in the first qualifying session we did really well. We made a few changes with the car in the first session and I couldn’t get a good lap in but the second session we changed back to the old setup and found it worked a lot better so I could really show our pace. It’s really good to finish fifth in this category as it shows we are competitive and I hope to move forward in the race and get some points.”
Pipo Derani powers through Monza