BACHETA IN SPA
After securing its maiden podium finish last time out, Hitech Junior headed to the stunning Spa-Francorchamps circuit confident of repeating the result in the latest round of the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup. Fielding cars for Australian Motorsport Foundation International Rising Star Ashley Walsh and rapid Briton Luciano Bacheta, the fledgling team also had Formula Renault UK Winterseries Champion Richard Singleton on track. In first qualifying it was former T-Car champion Bacheta who led the way for the team. The Briton, who won on his single-seater debut at the end of 2006, was 11th quickest of the 35-car field with Singleton and Walsh in 16th and 22nd respectively.
As is typical of the Belgian track, the unpredictable weather played its part in the outcome of the second session, intermittent rain ensuring track time was critical. In the wet session Singleton and Walsh both improved their positions to take 14th and 17th, with a disappointed Bacheta down in 31st.
In the weekend’s opening race, it was again Bacheta who took the early advantage, a superb start off the line moving him up six places going into the first corner. However a hit from another car at La Source ended his fantastic charge, causing a puncture to his right rear tyre and sending him into the pits for replacement. Almost a lap down, the teenager quickly got back on the pace, easily amongst the quickest on the track, to finish 31st.
For Singleton, who scored the team’s first Eurocup podium in Estoril last weekend, race one proved frustrating as he was unable to shake off the advances of Benjamin Lariche, the pair swapping places throughout the race and preventing Richard from making the break as he attempted a repeat of his second place in Portugal.
Walsh meanwhile drove a steady opening race, starting 22nd and driving a good opening lap to move up the order to 14th although he slipped back to 17th at the flag.
The weekend’s second race proved to be effectively a non-event. Held in treacherous conditions, it was started under the safety car which ensured there was no overtaking over the opening laps. At the finish all three drivers declared the conditions as ‘undriveable’ with no visibility due to the spray, leaving the results of the race effectively as the qualifying positions had been with Singleton finishing 17th, Walsh 22nd and Bacheta 24th.
Silverstone-based Hitech Junior will be back on track this weekend (11 and 12 October) in the penultimate rounds of the Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup Magny Cours in France.