Alexander Rossi brought home 10 valuable championship points from a 5th place finish in the opening round of the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship at Motorland Aragon, Spain. He sits in 10th position in the Drivers’ Championship, with his Arden Caterham team in 9th position after a weekend of mixed fortune.
After finishing in P13 at the end of the first qualifying session of 2012, Alexander made a fantastic start to race one, already up to 7th place by turn one. However immediately following three retirements on the starting grid there was a coming together at the first corner with Rossi, Müller, Korjus and Grubmüller all heading for the same point on track which prompted the safety car to make an appearance. Whilst the marshals quickly cleared away the debris it was the end of the race, and a frustrating day, for Alexander.
Alexander and his Arden Caterham team made great strides overnight, but still struggled with car set-up during second qualifying ahead of a race in which drivers were required to make a compulsory tyre-change stop between laps five and 15.
Starting from P15 on the grid in the afternoon, Alexander drove a faultless race and was able to avoid another incident in the opening moments of track action. His Arden Caterham team executed the quickest pit stop of the entire field and Alexander fought for and held position until the last few laps when his tyres fell away. Whilst Alexander was running in P3, Pic managed to pass him and Korjus in a double manoeuvre with ten minutes to go. Alexander finished the 27-laps race in P5 to grasp a well earned 10 Championship points.
Alexander Rossi, Car No: 25, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“Coming into the weekend we had lots of ideas we wanted to apply to the car. Free practice on Friday was essentially a continuation of our testing programme, which was not ideal, but as a new team we had to keep learning right up to the first qualifying session. We made significant progress over the weekend and it was quite an achievement to get into the top five in race two today. We were fairly competitive and the team is working really well together, so I am full of admiration and respect that we have been able to pull off everything we have this weekend. I am satisfied with my own performance too – we maximised every opportunity open to us and realised our initial goal. As many drivers also experienced mixed results this weekend and will be new to the Monaco circuit for our next round, as a team Arden Caterham must capitalise on this and use our combined experience of the street race to full advantage.”
George Commins, Engineer, Car: 25, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“It has been pleasing to end the Motorland race weekend with a strong drive to 5th in the feature race. Whilst our performance in qualifying has not been where we expect to be, our pace in the final race has demonstrated a significant step forward which we are confident will carry forward to the next events. Alexander drove superbly throughout the weekend, providing clear and concise direction and feedback.”
Julian Rouse, Sporting Director, Arden Caterham Motorsport
“This weekend ended with a big step forward in terms of performance from the car which was a real positive and Alexander did a great job of staying focused and taking that opportunity when it came to him with a fantastic drive in the feature race on Sunday to driver through into the Top 5, which is a solid result for our first race weekend together. This will give us the platform to move forward into the following races. Alexander worked really well with the whole team over a generally challenging weekend. His great attitude, focus and professionalism gave us the support to focus on continuing to improve the car for him.”