MGR’s Pietro Fittipladi made it five wins from his last five starts with an emphatic display on the Indy circuit (26/27 July), whilst his team-mate Matteo Ferrer also continued his remarkable run of form with back-to-back runner-up finishes.
Comparisons with his famous grandfather, Emerson, are inevitable - but Pietro is emerging as every inch the star in his own right. The Brazilian teenager is now 36 points clear in the title race, with his nearest rival – the equally impressive Matteo – also being part of the MGR squad.However, it was Ferrer who drew first blood of the weekend when he posted the fastest lap during the first qualifying session, pipping Fittipaldi to pole position by 0.14 seconds. The team’s other drivers Tarun Reddy and Colin Noble were fourth and seventh-quickest respectively, showing strong pace also. Having held his advantage through the first corner of the weekend’s inaugural race, Ferrer was passed by Fittipaldi as the field streamed through Druids. With his nose in front, Pietro effectively killed off the encounter with his pace and consistency. Matteo tried his utmost to force a mistake and was rewarded with the fastest-lap, but ultimately had to settle for 2nd as his team-mate responded to every attack and maintained the gap. Unfortunately, a collision in the first few moments of the opening lap, saw Colin trail into the pits and retirement due to damage sustained in the accident.
Like Matteo, Tarun’s lack of experience was belied by his speed and confidence at the wheel as he took the chequered flag in a commendable 4th place. Making good his pole position advantage for the second race, Pietro took the lead from the outset, with Matteo slotting into P2 behind him. Colin was also among the action, after his mechanics had successfully repaired his car following his earlier crash.
At the front, the race had begun to develop into something of a carbon copy repeat of its predecessor. Ferrer harried and hustled his car along, but was unable to force an error from Fittipaldi, who in turn coolly built up a comfortable margin as the laps progressed. In contrast to the stalemate at the head of the field, Tarun was enjoying an absorbing scrap for 5th with Patrick Dussault. The Canadian had his hands and mirrors full, fending off the MGR driver. At the finish, it was Dussault who won the race to the line by a narrow margin.
The team’s delight was tempered by Colin’s frustration. Still feeling the effects of his accident in Race One, Noble lost a couple of places after starting from the third row of the grid and eventually brought his car home in 8th place.
“Pietro and Matteo are enjoying an outstanding season,” said MGR Team Manager Steve Lynch. “Pietro has won six times now, whilst Matteo has taken a victory and been on pole position four times. On top of that, he has posted half of the fastest laps in the championship so far.”
He added: “Colin was in the wars a little but is 5th overall and will bounce back. He’s a class act and just needs a bit of luck. Similarly with Tarun, he’s so exciting to watch and never gives less than 100%. Like Colin, he’s been on the podium this season and badly wants to get back on it. With a little bit of work, I’m sure we can get them both challenging for top three finishes.”