01 Nov Louis Delétraz in Pole Position for 2016 Formula V8 3.5 Title
Renault Academy driver Louis Delétraz and his Fortec Motorsports team are now leading the 2016 Formula V.8 3.5 Drivers’ Championship following a solid performance in the ‘World Series Festival’ at the Circuito de Jerez, Spain, 28-30 October.
The penultimate weekend of racing in the European contest commenced on Friday with Delétraz setting the eighth fastest lap times in both practice sessions, with his Brazilian teammate, Pietro Fittipaldi, coming home in 13th and 4th respectively.
Delétraz drove confidently with the leading pack in the first qualifying session on Saturday morning, holding provisional pole at the halfway stage. But as the track rubbered down and lap times fell, the Swiss racer had to settle for P4, a mere tenth of a second off third place, at the drop of the chequered flag. Fittipaldi ended the outing in P12 for the start of the afternoon’s race.
After a blistering start in the Spanish heat Delétraz and Matevos Isaakyan (SMP Racing) crossed swords at turn one and by lap four Delétraz was running back in P4 again. He got within striking distance of Tom Dillmann (AVF) running in third on several occasions, but when the Swiss man went to make a move up the inside of his French rival on lap 16 the two made contact, forcing Dillmann to retire. Delétraz took the chequered flag in P4, but was later penalized by the stewards for the incident and dropped out of the points to P11. HIs teammate Fittipaldi had a consistent yet uneventful contest, crossing the finish line at the end of race one in ninth.
With the bit firmly between his teeth Louis Delétraz brought home his second pole position of the year in qualifying two of the Formula V8 3.5 series on Sunday morning. He completed a late flying lap of 1:26.943 mins which was the quickest of the weekend to date. Fittipaldi set the ninth quickest time to line up on the fifth row of the starting grid for race two later in the day.
The weekend finale featured all the drama that has become synonymous with the series. As the lights went out at the start of race two, Egor Orudzhev (Arden Motorsport) got a quick getaway and took an early lead. Fittipaldi was the first of the Fortec duo to switch tyres on lap four whilst the team pushed Delétraz on to take the race lead. He pitted on lap 10 but unfortunately re-joined the action behind Orudzhev, who had built up a considerable and by then untouchable 2.6 seconds gap. Delétraz secured another valuable second placed finish to grab the series lead with 200 points and a three points advantage over Dillmann.
His fellow rookie teammate Fittipaldi had a great start to race two and was up to P5 when trouble in his pit stop caused him to lose positions on his return to the track. He took the chequered flag in P12 to complete a solid weekend for the young Brazilian.
The final rounds of the Formula V8 3.5 series take place 5-6 November 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.
Louis Delétraz, #1 Fortec Motorsports
“It has been an unusual weekend for us. We had the pace since Friday and qualy on Saturday was good, but in the race I had a contact and a 10 seconds penalty. My focus on Sunday was to get the pole position and fight for the win, which is the only thing that makes sense as a driver. I didn’t have a perfect start, Egor went through and I couldn’t do anything even if I was quicker on track. We tried to go longer with pit-stops and it didn’t work, but we come away top of the Drivers’ Championship heading to the last weekend of the season.”
Jamie Dye, team manager, Fortec Motorsports Formula V8 3.5 team
“We had another very good weekend; it was unfortunate that Louis received the penalty to spoil his otherwise extremely positive performance. We cost Pietro positions during his pitstop in race two, otherwise he would have had another high points scoring weekend as he drove well throughout. We are in a strong position in the drivers’ competition now, but with a small points margin, we cannot be complacent – the title is ours to lose. Barcelona is going to be a challenging finale and the whole team is ready, and excited, for that.”