14 Sep Aitken takes maiden victory in Fortec 1-2 finish
BRDC Rising Star Jack Aitken claimed his maiden pole and race victory in the Formula Renault Eurocup 2.0 race two at the Hungaroring in Budapest. The result also saw a Fortec 1-2 as wild card entry and teammate Charles LeClerc took the second step of the podium for the second time that weekend.
Unfortunately for Aitken, the British racer’s first qualifying session of the weekend didn’t go to plan. An uncharacteristic mistake caused the car to veer off track and into the gravel after only completing three laps. Meanwhile teammate LeClerc put in a fantastic performance to lead his qualifying group, however with the other qualifying group being the faster due to drying conditions, it meant he would start race one from second.
Race one later in the day saw a good start for LeClerc. The Monegasque racer maintained his second place from the start-line right up until the chequered flag. Mid-pack teammate Parry was fending off his rivals and crossed the line in 12th, just ahead of Fortec’s Martin Rump who finished 16th. After starting from the back of the grid Aitken had a lot of work to do from 27th and he eventually finished 18th.
Sunday morning saw the second qualifying session take place on a damp track after overnight showers. Aitken was fighting for the front throughout the session and put in a quick lap of 2:02.274 to claim his maiden pole position in the series.
Aitken lined up on the front row for race two with Gustav Malja (Josef Kaufmann Racing) sitting in between Aitken and teammate Leclerc, who was just behind in third.
The leading trio made a good getaway and the order remained unchanged at the end of the opening lap. A good start from Parry and a strong opening few laps saw him move into the top five from seventh on the grid.
Fortec’s Martin Rump was running in ninth making it all four Fortec cars in the top ten when he made an error in the chicane on lap three. His car was stuck on track resulting in a safety car intervention. At the re-start Aitken maintained his lead, with LeClerc pulling off a great move on Malja for second and pushing hard to catch the leader. Despite the pressure Aitken kept his cool to take the chequered flag ahead of LeClerc. Parry was the next Fortec man over the line in fifth.
Commenting on the weekend Aitken said: “It’s difficult to describe the elation for myself and the whole team, after working so hard to get the car right. Of course a massive thank you to all the guys for fixing my car after my mistake on Saturday. It doesn’t get much better than pole and the win, we’ll just keep working to make sure we’re back on the podium at Paul Ricard!”