French-Argentinian driver Sacha Fenestraz got his Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 campaign off to a flying start with a brilliant double podium this weekend (April 21-23).
The 17-year-old racked up two second-place finishes after a strong showing at Monza.
With great pace and overtakes throughout, the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver was unlucky not to take a win in the first race when he was closing in well on the leader.
But the ADD Motorsports-supported racer was delighted to leave the Italian circuit in second place in the overall standings and just a point off the leader.
He said: « It was a really good weekend. The pace was good and I put in some nice overtakes in the races.
« We were around P3 and P5 all weekend so to finish second in both races shows we had a good strategy in place.
« I was unlucky in the first race with the red flag as with another two or three laps, the pace was there to have a chance at taking the win.
« But we got some big points on the board and I’m very happy to be second overall after the first weekend and just a point off the leader. »
After racing with Tech1 Racing in last season’s Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and NEC championships, claiming the rookie vice-champion crown and fifth place overall in both, the young driver was keen to push on this time around and get off to a good start.
He was fast in practice taking P3 on old tyres in the first and P2 in the second.
Despite a change in the track when following the Lamborghini drivers out for their session, he was P1 for most of the first qualifying session until traffic hampered his final lap and left him second. He was fourth overall after the second group went out.
There were no changes in positions at the start of the first race, but soon after the re-start, Sacha overtook well to move himself into second place.
After another safety car, the racer tried to take on leader Schwartzman, but another incident at the end of lap nine frustratingly saw the red flag stop the race ?without offering him another chance to take him on.
Sunday saw Sacha take to the track in the second group for the second qualifying session and he showed good pace to finish third, with a similar time to the day before.
He lost his starting position early on in the second race and another place soon after the restart.
With his sights set on taking fourth place back, the two drivers in fourth and fifth swapped positions several times in what was an exciting battle with Sacha eventually waiting patiently for his chance to try again. He took it well when it came and didn’t look back.
A crash up ahead with two laps to go then allowed the racer to move into second and while he pushed to catch the leader he defended well to keep his position in the end and take the points.
Sacha left Monza second in the championship standings on 36 points, just one off the leader.
He added: ?We know Silverstone will be better for us, so it’s a really positive position to be in.
« Overall, our qualifying was good but we could have been better. We are looking for more of the same in the next round – hopefully with some improvements – and maybe this time go one better in the races. »
Fraser Sheader, director of performance and management team ADD Motorsports, added: « Sacha did a great job in qualifying and wasn’t far off pole in the times.
« He was excellent in the first race and with another lap could have taken first place and he showed great pace in the second race too.
« All in all, it was a great weekend for him and we’re really pleased with how he settled in to the championship – and we’re confident he can keep on improving. »
Championship Standings : 1. Will Palmer, 37 pts ; 2. Sacha Fenestraz, 36 pts ; 3. Robert Schwartzman, 25 pts…