Supreme performance from Fittipaldi delivers series lead
Pietro Fittipaldi is doing his family name proud after a strong showing in the Protyyre Formula Renault Championship Saturday.
Pietro Fittipaldi (Camberley) became the first double race winner of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship season at Donington Park this afternoon, after a thoroughly dominant performance during round four of the campaign.
Making a tremendous start, lighting up the rear wheels perfectly, the MGR Motorsport driver was also helped by a sluggish getaway for pole position qualifier Alex Gill (Womersley, Doncaster) and duly moved into the lead on the run into Redgate.
Immediately stamping his authority on the race, as Fortec Motorsport racer Gill came under pressure for second, Fittipaldi opened a remarkable lead of 1.4 seconds on lap one alone before cruising to a 4.2 second victory after 15 laps.
Crucially, the Brazilian also bagged the two bonus points for fastest lap which enabled him to move to the top of the championship by a single point. His quickest lap of 1m07.765 seconds (105.13mph), set on the final tour, is also a new Protyre Formula Renault record for Donington’s National Circuit.
“The most important thing we talked about before the race was getting the lead into Turn One, you can do that here at Donington from second on the grid and that’s what we did”, said Fittipaldi, “We were consistent, everything came together and we got the win. I can’t thank the team enough, they prepare the car and they did a great job, and my sponsors for giving me the opportunity.”
Gill was mightily impressive in qualifying to secure his first pole position, taking the top spot on the grid by 0.160 seconds from Fittipaldi, while MGR’s Colin Noble Jnr (Penicuik , Midlothian) was an equally superb third fastest.
Further star performances in the opening qualifying session came from Cliff Dempsey Racing’s American rookie TJ Fischer, Hillspeed’s Dimitris Papanastasiou (London) and Indian teenager Tarun Reddy with the fourth, fifth and sixth best times respectively.
With Fittipaldi disappearing into the distance from the get-go in round four, all eyes were on the battle over the remaining podium places with Gill under major attack for the runner-up spot. Noble piled on the pressure initially, swarming all over the back of the Fortec machine, but the advancing Piers Hickin (Knaphill) quickly came into play from seventh on the grid.
Into fourth on lap two, Hickin then made the most of Noble being bottled up behind Gill to take third from the Scottish youngster at Redgate on lap three with a brilliant move. Setting his sights on Gill, the Scorpio driver traded fastest lap times with the race leader and on lap seven, again at Redgate, he grabbed second – his fourth podium from four races.
“It’s so close and it’s all about getting that start, that’s where we’ve struggled so far this year starting half a grid behind”, said Hickin, “We’ve got a pole start in the third race tomorrow, so we really have to make the most of that, but we’ve scored good points today and it’s great to be on the podium
"Qualifying didn’t go very well in the first session as we had a brake failure – when we were on the track we were quickest but then I had to park it so we ended up seventh. That’s been the story of the season, recovering what we can after tough qualifying sessions. The pace is there though.”
Gill’s third place then looked under threat from Noble, but the former managed to see off the MGR driver before taking his third podium in as many races just 1.1 seconds behind Hickin. Matteo Ferrer (Colchester), the points leader going into this weekend’s racing, claimed a hard-earned fifth place after having to battle through from ninth on the grid after a difficult qualifying session.
The top six was rounded out by Fischer in the highest placed of the CDR cars, a highly competitive drive from the Californian securing his best finish of the year so far. Reddy continued his strong scoring record for MGR with seventh place, just seeing off Papanastasiou by 0.1 seconds – the Greek driver having climbed into the top four off the start before being elbowed down the order.
Canadian driver Patrick Dussault was ninth with Finnish racer Atte Lehtonen the best of the SWB Motorsport competitors in 10th place. Of the championship newcomers MTECH Lite driver Hayden Edmonds (Tamworth) – running with support from SWB – ended his maiden car race in 11th position.
Round five of the Protyre Formula Renault season will get underway at 11.30 on Sunday, 1st June, with round six following at 14.20. Gill and Fittipaldi will share the front row for the opening encounter with Hickin and Noble Jnr heading the grid for race three of the weekend.
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Pietro Fittipaldi takes three wins at Donington - video