Monza – Race 2
With one pole position and two victories, Giedo Van der Garde (P1 Motorsport) totally shut out the competition here at Monza. After leading race two from start to finish, he took the victory ahead of the Spaniard Alvaro Barba (Prema Powerteam). Charles Pic (Tech1 Racing) also made an impression by coming home third in only his second race in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series.
Giedo Van der Garde got off to the best start from pole position. Marco Bonanomi (Red Devil Team Comtec) surprised Robert Wickens (Carlin Motorsport) to move up into second position. Having started from the third and fourth rows respectively, Fabio Carbone (Ultimate Signature) and Bertrand Baguette (International Draco Racing) both ran off at the Curva Grande. The safety car was called out to allow the two cars to be cleared from the track.
Giedo Van der Garde was leading at this stage, ahead of Marco Bonanomi, Robert Wickens, Alvaro Barba, Pasquale DiSabatino (Red Devil Team Comtec), Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport), Charles Pic, Pablo Sanchez (Pons Racing), Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) and Guillaume Moreau (KTR). From the restart, the race order remained unchanged. Van der Garde, Bonanomi, Wickens and Barba then gradually started to pull clear. In contrast, the battle for fifth place between DiSabatino, Aleshin, Pic, Jousse, Moreau, Garcia and Sanchez was looking far from settled.
Meanwhile, there was little to separate the leading quartet as the four lead drivers all lapped within the space of less two seconds with seven laps gone. In the chasing group, there was a change in race order when Pic moved into sixth ahead of Aleshin.
On lap eight, Wickens started to attack Bonanomi. The Italian, racing in front of his home crowd, defended his second place tooth-and-nail. To such an extent that the two cars collided sending Wickens crashing into the safety barrier. The Canadian was forced to abandon the race as a result. Just a few moments later Race Control took the decision to show Marco Bonanomi the black flag. The Italian was therefore obliged to leave it to Van der Garde and Alvaro Barba to fight it out for the victory.
This left two Italians in the hunt for the podium places. Pasquale DiSabatino was however coming under pressure from Charles Pic, who was risking everything. In so doing, he even seemed to be giving his teammate Julien Jousse ideas, as the latter attacked and passed Mikhail Aleshin. Nine laps from the finish, Giedo Van der Garde was out front with a two second lead over Alvaro Barba. These two were followed by Pasquale DiSabatino, Charles Pic, Julien Jousse, Mikhail Aleshin, Guillaume Moreau, James Walker, Marco Barba and Salvator Duran.
Charles Pic was putting an increasing amount of pressure on Pasquale DiSabatino. The Italian locked up on the brakes into the opening chicane on lap 20. Pic did his best to make us of the opportunity but it wasn't to be. The Frenchman finally managed to find a way past on the next lap, moving up into third position. At only 18 years of age, Charles Pic gave a masterly demonstration of how to execute a passing manoeuvre, by leaving it until the very last moment to go onto the brakes into the opening chicane. Simply unstoppable! Jousse also made the most of the opening created by his teammate, meaning the two Tech 1 Racing cars were now up in third and fourth, with three laps to go, with DiSabatino slipping back down the standings.
After 24 action-packed laps, Giedo Van der Garde took his second victory in a row and confirmed that he is the man to look out for this season. Alvaro Barba and Charles Pic, as Best Rookie, took the remaining podium places for this second race of the season.
Giedo Van der Garde: ‘It was much more difficult out there today, and that was partly my own fault, as I spotted my tyres from the restart. My car wasn’t handling that well as a result. But it’s still been a dream weekend for me. I owe a lot to my team, P1 Motorsport. Everyone has worked enormously hard to get to where we are today. We’ll have to confirm it was no fluke in Spa.”
Alvaro Barba: “I had a problem at the start yesterday, so I had to make up for it today. At the end of the race, I pulled back up to Giedo. I was pushing as hard as I could but it was impossible to get past him.”
Charles Pic: “After starting from eighth, I really didn't think I was going to make it onto the podium. My main goal was not to make any mistakes, as I was a bit wayward out there yesterday. I managed to settle down into a good pace. When I closed back up to DiSabatino I only had two more seconds of Push to Pass, so I really had to use them as best I could.”