31 May Habsburg Delivers Podium in Monaco
Round two of the 15-race series commenced with an early practice session on the streets of Monte Carlo on Friday morning. The Fortec Motorsports drivers of Habsburg (AUST), Bruno Baptista (BRA) and Vasily Romanov (RUS) participated in a solitary 45-minute test to prepare for the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race that would be the curtain raiser for the FIA Formula 1™ Grand Prix.
Only three tenths of a second covered the top three drivers with Habsburg setting a 1:32.482 to sit in P2 on the time sheet at the end of the session. Baptista set a solid time to sit in P9 with Romanov completing the trio of Fortec drivers in P17.
The drivers came together for the first time in one large group for Eurocup qualifying on Saturday morning. Habsburg was once again one of the quickest drivers on the iconic F1 circuit and set the second fastest lap time of the day. He was promoted to provisional pole following a post-running disqualification of Lando Norris’ time due to a technical non-conformity with his Josef Kaufmann Racing car. However, with the application of a penalty received at Motorland Aragón, Habsburg had to remain content with a second row position in P3. Baptista in the #6 sister Fortec machine set a respectable eighth fastest time on the clock, with Romanov settling amongst the mid-field in P11 out of the 23-car field.
The weather took a turn for the worst on Sunday morning with a sudden downpour. The already delayed wet start of the race finally got underway with two laps behind the safety car. When the race turned green pole sitter Sacha Fenestraz (Tech 1 Racing) held onto the lead whilst Habsburg made a stunning move on Max Defourny (R-ace GP) at Massenet to clinch P2.
The Austrian ran close to the leader’s tail before the safety car was re-deployed for a coming together between team-mate Baptista and Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing), which earned the Brazilian an early retirement and a two-place grid penalty for the next race.
The battle re-started and positions remained the same with two further incidents interrupting proceedings. The latter brought out the red flag and ultimately the conclusion of the race due to time constraints. The final classification of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 race resulted in the lap seven running order. Pole sitter Fenestraz took the victory ahead of Habsburg, with Vasily Romanov coming home in p19.
Habsburg’s runner’s up podium moves him to P8 in the championship within one point of team-mate Baptista who sits in P6 on 18. Romanov remains on two points in P16 in the Drivers’ competition.
Fortec Motorsports now has a tally of 29 points to hold fifth place in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Teams’ Championship.
Ferdinand Habsburg, car #62 Fortec Motorsports
“It has been one of the best racing weekends and it is all thanks to the team around me of Fortec, my manager, trainer and supporters.
It started off very well in free practice and then an absolute highlight was to get pole position! After that I started the race from third due to a grid penalty from Aragon, but I made it up to second after only six laps of racing which was great. Sadly, there wasn’t enough time to make a move for the lead as the race was stopped, but I am very happy with my result. Learning all the time at Monaco and being on the podium here is something nobody can take away and something that I hope will benefit me and my future racing career.”
Richard Dutton, Team Owner, Fortec Motorsports
“It was a strong weekend for the team with each driver showing great pace around the treacherous streets of Monaco. Even though Ferdinand had a two place penalty, it was a very impressive qualifying to put his car on the front row. After his confident move on Defourny it was a shame the race was cut short as Ferdinand was in a perfect position to win the race. Still we are very content with a podium finish in Monaco, and will move onto Monza in a positive manner.”
The action returns to a three-race schedule in a month’s time for round three of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 series in Monza, Italy, 2-3 July 2016.
*Half championship points awarded in Monaco as per article 9.3 of the sporting regulations.