23 Jul Jones takes double podium
20th – 21st July – As the sun beamed down on the Austrian, Red Bull Ring circuit, Emirati driver Edward Jones showed what he was capable of behind the wheel of his Formula Renault in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup (FR2.0 Eurocup) championship this weekend. After topping the tables in testing it was set to be a promising weekend for Jones and the Fortec team and following his successful start, Jones finished both races in third place. Team-mate Jake Dennis also had a points filled weekend with two fourth places, whilst Mikko Pakari and guest driver Jack Aitken showed great pace.
After the high hopes of some solid results this weekend, eighteen year old Edward Jones was making good use of his new tyres in the first qualifying session and was forever improving on his previous times, sitting in pole position for the majority of the session until he was pushed out of his place in the last remaining minutes, none-the-less he eventually qualified third in his group and fifth overall where he would start on the grid ready for race one the following day. Aitken was just behind, qualifying seventh overall, with Dennis eighth and Pakari 26th.
As the first race quickly loomed, Jones knew consistency on new tyres was key in the ever rising temperatures. Out on track Jones lost a place into the first corner, however had already taken it back by the end of the first lap. By lap three Jones had made up another place, where he passed Josef Kaufmann Racing driver Oscar Tunjo putting him in fourth place where he crossed the line. However, after some investigation, Thai driver and provisional race winner Alexander Albon was handed a ten second penalty putting him into tenth place and moving Jones into third where he took his first podium of the weekend. Dennis crossed the line just 0.48 second behind in fourth, whilst Aitken finished ninth and Pakari sixteenth.
Jones commented: “I really enjoy racing at this circuit. I remember it from winter testing and it’s long straights make it one of my favourite circuits. After struggling a bit in qualifying I’m happy with the end result of the race!”
Sunday held the second qualifying session and race of the weekend. Jones was quick to post a time good enough to send him straight into pole position, but with the ever-changing positions and with four minutes remaining Jones had been pushed down into eighth place. It was long though, until Jones’ sector times were shining purple and with just under two minutes of the session left Jones headed back into second place where he finished the session in his group and third overall, setting his starting position for the second race. Dennis sat in eighth with Aitken thirteenth and Parkari seventeenth.
Heading into the race, Jones started from third place. Making a good start he plunged into the first corner holding his own, however lost some ground and crossed the line for his first lap in fourth. Jones quickly made his place back and was soon fighting for second whilst setting lap times quicker than French, Tech 1 Racing driver Pierre Gasley up ahead. In the end though, Jones settled for third place as he couldn’t find a safe manoeuvre, finishing on the third step of the podium for the second time this weekend. Dennis once again showed great pace as crossed the line in fourth whilst Aitken took the chequered flag in thirteenth and Pakari 27th.
After the some competitive racing and a bundle of points to his name, Jones commented: “It was a fantastic weekend for myself and the team getting our first two podiums of the year. It’s a massive step forward from the previous rounds of the championship. We will be pushing even harder over the next month to be better for the next round at Budapest.”
Commenting after the weekend, Dennis said: “I always knew it was going to be difficult so my mentality was to just go all out. I had the pace but Ed defended hard so it was difficult to pass. We took some good points thought so it’s time to focus on the next round.”
Aitken said: “It was a great weekend to learn from as the competition was so close. I’m happy with my pace and we got some decent results, I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learnt to the NEC.”