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Apr 14, 2014 - 01:36 PM
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Aitken Tops Fortec Drivers at Formula Renault ALPS in Imola
Posted by: newsla on Apr 14, 2014 - 01:32 PM
Support Series News
Aitken Tops Fortec Drivers at Formula Renault ALPS in Imola


Eurocup driver Jack Aitken joined his Fortec Motorsports team as a wild card entry in the opening round of Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS in San Marino, 3-5 April. He topped the team’s timesheets with two fourth placed finishes, ahead of not only the other two wild card Fortec entries, but also the team’s four ALPS drivers.

 

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18 year old Jack, from London, UK, had a difficult start to the weekend, however. “First practice was very wet, but it went really well. I managed to get on top of things pretty quickly,” Jack said. “During second practice, however, we had very poor visibility as it continued to rain. There were lots of red flags and halfway through the session I was following a rookie on the back straight when he slowed on the racing line, and I went in to the back of him due to the poor visibility.”

Fortunately Jack did not lose much ground while his team worked on his car during second practice. Overnight and on Saturday morning he went through everything with his engineer to ensure that when he took to the track for qualifying his lap times would improve.

“We had much better conditions on Saturday and I went out in the second qualifying group. We knew that the track would be improving all the time, so our strategy was to go out for as long as possible and get in as many timed laps as we could.” Jack set the fourth fastest time of qualifying to not only sit on the second row of the starting grid for race one, but, with only a hair splitting the second fastest times, he’d also start in P4 due to his pace for race two.

The first race of the ALPS season was as incident filled as expected. From fourth, Jack made a clean start in the leading pack of the 40-strong field and was up to third place when multiple incidents behind him brought out a lengthy safety car. The green flag hailed the restart over ten minutes later and with less than half race distance to go.

“It took me a while to find my feet as I’d never driven here in the dry before,” said Jack, “and after the lengthy yellow flag I let a couple of cars slip by, but regained a place to end up back in P4. Our pace was a little behind what we wanted, but I was the leading Fortec car again, which was good news!”

After more data study overnight to improve both pace and track knowledge, Jack made a decent start to race two from the second row on the grid. Bruno Bonifacio began to drop back from second and slipped to third at the end of first lap, just ahead of Jack. “I challenged him on a couple of occasions and there was some very robust racing, but it was not worth having an accident over, so I let him go. I stayed very close and was definitely putting the pressure on, but we just didn’t have enough to take the podium.”

The race was completed without interruptions and Jack crossed the finish line to claim another fourth position and clock up invaluable experience and track time ahead of his first Championship race: Round one, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Ciudad del Motor de Aragón, Alcañiz, Spain, 26 - 27 April, 2014.

“Overall it was a great weekend and it felt really good to be the top placed Fortec driver,” concluded Jack. “Qualifying and the races went smoothly and to plan with no dramas, so I am really pleased and looking forward to more ALPS races and the Eurocup season ahead.”


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