Hitech Junior continued its impressive first season in Formula Renault with another strong performance in the third round of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship in Hungary. Fielding four cars for Miki Monras, Richard Singleton, Luciano Bacheta and Juan Jacobo the team was regularly posting fastest laps and sector times at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest.Singleton spent much of the opening free practice session on Thursday swapping fastest lap times with championship leader Daniel Ricciardo and Andrea Caldarelli. In the afternoon, in which the top 26 cars were covered by a second, the Formula Renault Winterseries champion wound up ninth quickest upholding honours for the Silverstone-based team.
On Friday the 41 runners were split into two groups with Singleton and Monras both second quickest in their respective tests on the damp track. In the collective test, Monras was tenth as the quartet prepared for the crucial qualifying session which would determine places for the super pole shootout.
Monras again proved quickest of the four giving him automatic entry into the shoot out with Bacheta 14th, Singleton 16th and Jacobo 19th in their sessions putting them into the qualification race. In that Singleton finished top Hitech runner in sixth just ahead of Bacheta in seventh with Jacobo 13th but with a superb second fastest race lap to his credit.
Race Drivers Academy driver Bacheta and Colombian ace Jacobo suffered mixed fortunes over the weekend but both impressed in their debut seasons in the single-seater championship. Jacobo reaffirmed his rapid race pace with the second quickest lap in qualification race, while Bacheta drove a storming opening race from dead last to 14th before being taken out two corners from home.
In the opening championship race, Monras who took the team’s first podium finish last time out narrowly missed a points-scoring finish after losing his front wing at the first corner. Despite that he still managed to race and get past several drivers and had the car been intact, would have been able to improve on his eventual 12th place finish. Jacobo went on to finish 28th, Bacheta 31st and Singleton 32nd while the second race, interrupted by a safety car period, proved eventful for the quartet and resulted in Monras finishing 22nd, Jacobo 28th and Singleton 29th as Bacheta failed to finish.
Despite the results, team owner David Hayle was quick to praise the youngsters who have all steadily improved over the course of the opening three races. “Unfortunately the results here this weekend really don’t do justice to the performance of all four of them. Their testing and race pace is outstanding and we must remember they are all rookies competing in a highly-competitive series with some of the quickest Formula Renault drivers around.
“The Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Championship is one of the hardest championships in Europe and the fact that one second covered 26 cars proves that. So we remain happy with the performance this weekend although not necessarily the overall results but we can take something from it into the next rounds.
“It is a new challenge for all of us, a new team into the championship with young rookie drivers where we have proved we have the outright pace. Now we must convert that into qualifying pace to enable us to get the best possible chance of success.”