Fortec Motorsports FR 3.5 driver, Alexander Rossi stormed to victory after a dominating performance in race two at Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France for round eight of the World Series by Renault FR3.5 championship Sunday afternoon.Following a ‘tricky’ and wet qualifying session in the morning where Alexander found it difficult to extract the best out of the car in qualifying, he still managed to set a lap time that put him on the front row of the race grid in P2.
Alexander made a great start to race two yesterdfay afternoon, worrying the back of pole sitter Vergne, while closing the door and holding off HRT Formula 1 driver, Daniel Ricciardo. On lap 4 and with only a 0.4 second gap between them, Carlin’s Vergne chose to pit early, on the same lap as the Fortec Motorsports team strategy had for Rossi. Fortec made an instant decision to keep Alexander out on track to push as hard as he could to open up the gap behind him as race leader.
Rossi led after his perfect Fortec pitstop on lap 10 for fresh tyres. He then, with clear air ahead of him, increased the gap between himself and HRT F1 driver Ricciardo to over three seconds. Although Rossi’s car appeared to be showing great race pace as he set the fastest lap, the engine overheating alarms showed in the cockpit of the young American. Alexander, concerned about losing the engine before race end, informed the team on the out lap from his stop that the engine temperature had climbed over 35 degrees Celsius. Alexander began to short-shift for the remaining 12 laps of the race to save the engine, managing to maintain a comfortable three seconds gap to Ricciardo, taking the win by 4.5 seconds at the end. Post race the team found a large piece of paper that had blown in to a side pod, covering the radiator and causing the overheating. Team data determined the incident happened on Rossi’s out lap after his pit stop.
With Alexander’s win he now sits fourth in the WSR Drivers’ Championship on 138 points, whilst his Fortec Motorsports team sits in second position in the Teams’ standings with 185 points.Alexander Rossi "After a tricky qualifying session this morning, I was happy with our race start enabling me to pressure Vergne and hold off Ricciardo. Fortec has consistently been the best on pit stops this year and it was a great call to stop later than planned when we saw Vergne come in early. The car was really good and I could push hard in clean air, enabling me to increase my gap before pitting. The stop was spot on, so I knew I was in a good position to keep pushing and gain an even a bigger gap. I did have a bit of a scare when the engine temp climbed above the warning alarms. I set my dash map to engine temp and the team asked me to short shift for most of the last stint to try and save the motor and manage the gap to Ricciardo as needed. Thankfully I had enough gap to back off and not risk losing the motor today. The Team did a fantastic job and it’s great to be back on the top step of the podium.”Jamie Dye, Team Manager, Fortec Motorsports “Simply brilliant! Alexander performed faultlessly from start to finish and the team strategy was spot on. Congratulations to everyone in the Fortec team and to Alexander after what has been a challenging weekend. The result today is extremely well deserved.”