18 Jul Habsburg Happy with Home Race Podium!
18 July, 2016: Austrian racing driver Ferdinand Habsburg was glad to be back on the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 podium at his home track, the Red Bull Ring, this weekend. Team-mate Bruno Baptista brought in further valuable points for the title-winning Fortec Motorsports team when the championship returned to the Spielberg region for the first time since 2013.
The Fortec Motorsports stable of Eurocup drivers, Habsburg (AUST), Baptista (BRA) and Vasily Romanov (RUS) took to the famous Austrian 4.326 km track for a pair of practice sessions on Friday. 18-year-old Habsburg was the lead Fortec driver in qualifying the following morning, setting the fifth fastest lap time at the end of the session, with Baptista in P12 and Romanov completing the trio in P17.
Following a good start to race one from third row on the grid in the afternoon, Habsburg took advantage of the battle ahead between Jehan Daruvala (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Max Defourny (R-ace GP) and made a successful lunge for position on lap two. The Austrian was able to pull away and make another move, this time around the gearbox of Defourny and in to P2, only to have the position snatched back on the very last lap. Habsburg crossed the finish line in P3 to collect Fortec Motorsports team’s second trophy of the 2016 Eurocup season, and an important 15 points to secure his championship position. Baptista came home in the #6 Fortec charger in P9 with Romanov taking the chequered flag in P15 and setting the second fastest lap of the race.
Sunday was a more challenging day for the Daventry-based squad. The early morning qualifying session was extremely competitive and lap times kept falling as the field took to the track on new Michelin tyres mid-session. With only three tenths of a second separating P3 to P10, Habsburg would have finished in sixth had he not been penalised for exceeding track limits. With his fastest lap deleted, Habsburg’s second quickest time put him in P9, with Romanov in P12 and Baptista in P16.
Habsburg made up a place at the start of the weekend finale, but had to be content with running in eighth until the end of the 18-lap processional race. Baptista made up three places to P13 during an epic battle with his Russian team-mate in the #5 Fortec Motorsports Tatuus-Renault who in turn took the chequered flag in fourteenth.
As the Eurocup teams now head in to the summer break, Habsburg remains in eighth position, Baptista now sits in P11 and Romanov in seventeenth in the Drivers’ Championship competition.
Ferdinand Habsburg, car #62 Fortec Motorsports
“I’m really happy to be on the podium here. I qualified fifth on Saturday, which was a good performance compared to the practice tests. In race one I quickly got past Harrison Scott. Jehan Daruvala and Max Defourny were locked in battle and I took advantage of this and began to push to catch Max who was eating into Lando Norris’s lead. As I had a little in reserve I was able to concentrate on my race and give everything to get back in the tow. I had a brief chance at the end, but it didn’t really work out.”
Martin Young, Team Manager, Fortec Motorsports (Eurocup)
“We are happy with the P3 for Ferdinand in race one and to have Bruno back in the points after the difficulty he had in Monza. Unfortunately, today was difficult and all the team struggled to move forward, but the summer break is upon us, so we’ll regroup and come back stronger at Paul Ricard next month.”
The action returns for round five of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship at Paul Ricard, southern France on 27-29 August, 2016.