Pietro Fittipaldi (Camberley) continued his unstoppable momentum at Brands Hatch Indy Circuit, Sunday, 27th July, with two outstanding victories in rounds seven and eight of the season for MGR Motorsport – the Brazilian driver taking his incredible run of unbroken wins to five.
After overhauling team-mate Matteo Ferrer (Colchester) to claim victory from second on the grid in the weekend’s opening encounter, Fittipaldi was never challenged in race two as he stormed to an impressive lights-to-flag success. In doing so, the 17-year-old has opened up a 36 point lead.
“I’ve made good starts all year and we did it again today”, said the South American, who is the grandson of double Formula One World Champion Emerson, “We’ve been consistent and it’s consistency that wins championship and races. We’re going to try and continue this, we’ll keep working hard – the team is doing a great job – and see how it goes at Snetterton.”
Ferrer began round seven from pole and made the grid-topping slot count initially, never an easy task at Brands due to the gradient of the start-line. As the cars exited Paddock Hill Bend, though, Fittipaldi got the best run on the outside and managed to get ahead under braking for Druids.
Overall, the first of the weekend’s encounters was a relatively uneventful affair but the first lap did provide some drama along Cooper Straight when Scorpio Motorsport’s Piers Hickin (Knaphill) and MGR’s Colin Noble Jnr (Penicuik, Midlothian) tangled. Resulting in a heavy excursion into the barriers for Hickin, and causing significant damage to his FR 2.0, Noble Jnr limped back to the pits to retire.
After a four lap Safety Car period to enable the Scorpio car to be removed, racing resumed on lap six with Fittipaldi leading Ferrer, Fortec Motorsport’s Alex Gill (Womersley) and Cliff Dempsey Racing duo Patrick Dussault and TJ Fischer. Canadian driver Dussault managed to usurp his team-mate for fifth at the start and their battle was certainly the closest of the race throughout the 27 laps.
By lap 16, Fittipaldi had pulled almost 1.5 seconds clear of Ferrer but the Italian started to hit back and began to gradually chip away at the Brazilian’s lead. Into the closing stages, though, Fittipaldi was able to once again increase his advantage to claim yet another win.
Ferrer took the chequered flag 3.5 seconds ahead of Gill with Indian rookie Tarun Reddy a very strong fourth to continue his excellent momentum. Only 0.7 seconds separated Dussault and Fischer at the finish with Hillspeed’s Dimitris Papanastasiou (London) just holding onto seventh place by a mere 0.3 seconds from MTECH Lite rookie Hayden Edmonds (Tamworth).
“I made a really good start, I saw in my mirrors Pietro [Fittipaldi] and [Alex] Gill weren’t as close as I thought, but then my front tyres weren’t hot enough and I didn’t have the confidence going into the corner”, reflected Ferrer on the first lap at Paddock, “Pietro was just a bit more brave than I was and went round the outside. I kept good pace and stayed with him, but just didn’t have enough.”
Hickin hits back with impressive podium in round eight
After the bitter disappointment of the earlier race, Hickin starred in round eight with a great drive to the podium and the Scorpio driver also took the bonus points for the fastest lap of the race thanks to a herculean effort by the team to repair his car.
Lining up fourth on the grid, he piled on the pressure to Gill during the first half of the race and made the breakthrough at the beginning of lap 11. After getting good drive out of Clearways, he was able to get alongside Gill over the line and into Paddock Hill Bend made third place his.
Up ahead, Fittipaldi had made a great start from pole position to lead and he controlled the race from the front despite there being very little to choose in terms of pace with team-mate Ferrer. By the end of the 24-lap duration, Fittipaldi had a 3.7 second cushion while Ferrer came under threat from Hickin as the leaders lapped traffic.
In the end Ferrer had enough in hand but Hickin didn’t stop pushing until the chequered flag and although his car wasn’t ideally set-up, the team having fully repaired it in little over two hours, his pace was mightily impressive.
“It was an average end to what has been a really difficult weekend”, said Hickin, “We’re always chasing for the wins, unfortunately we didn’t get any but we know we have the pace and we need to look forward now to the next rounds.
“I’ve got to say a huge thank you to the team for turning the car around so quickly after the huge shunt we had in race one, no-one else could have done it – the guys at Scorpio are fantastic and they’ve worked so hard this weekend. This podium is for them.”
Behind fourth placed Gill, the fight over fifth was very keenly contested between Dussault and Reddy, the Canadian just fending off the young MGR charger by 0.3 seconds. Initially the Indian had slipped back from his starting slot of sixth, but he worked his way back through as team-mate Noble Jnr went in the opposite direction.
Dussault’s CDR team-mate Fischer was also in the mix during the early going, but after being mugged by Reddy on lap six at Graham Hill Bend he had to settle for seventh with Noble rounding out the top eight finishers.
Protyre Formula Renault will return to a triple-header format for the fourth race meeting of the season, rounds nine, 10 and 11, which will take place at Snetterton 300 Circuit over the weekend 30th/31st August. The first of the event’s three races will benefit from live television coverage on the Saturday as part of Motors TV’s ‘Live Raceday’ broadcast from the Norfolk venue.
Along with headline sponsor Protyre, Formula Renault is additionally supported by Michelin.
Provisional 2014 Protyre Formula Renault Championship Driver Standings (after Rd8):
1st Pietro Fittipaldi, 238pts; 2nd Matteo Ferrer, 202pts; 3rd Alex Gill, 182pts
Official website: www.renaultsport.co.uk/championships/formularenaultbarc/ built by Racecar
Full results and timings available at www.tsl-timing.com