This weekend Sacha Fenestraz arrived at the Nürburgring in Germany to race in the eighth round of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. The Renault Sport Academy driver made consistent progress in qualifying and was the quickest driver of his team, as well as bagging a good haul of points in both the overall and rookies’ classifications.
THE WEEK-END ROUND UP
Fenestraz quickly found his marks on the circuit where he made his debut in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship last year and set the fastest lap in the first free practice session. The Carlin driver then improved his times while remaining comfortably installed in the top 10.
He was well-placed in the early stages of Q1 and with six minutes to go to the chequered flag he topped the time sheets. However, the session proved to be an extremely closely-fought one and the Franco-Argentinean didn’t manage to string together his next flying laps. So despite his best efforts Sacha had to make do with 13th place.
The Renault Sport Academy driver started race 1 in 11th place on the grid due to various penalties. But he found himself stuck on the outside in the first corner and was the collateral victim of a pile-up in the middle of the track. This incident dropped him back to 16th position. He managed to pull back two places as soon as the safety car pulled off and then overtook two more cars and saw the chequered flag in 12th spot overall and sixth in the rookies’ classification.
Fenestraz learned from his previous day’s errors and made a big improvement in Q2. The Equipe de France FFSA driver got his head down and showed remarkable consistency setting two laps in the same hundredth-of-a-second! His quickest gave him eighth place for race 2 and his second-best put him on the first three rows for the last heat.
He made an offensive start on Sunday morning in race 2 and held on to his eighth place before the intervention of the safety car. On the restart he tried to pass Jonathan Aberdein on the inside who fought back inadvertently helping Guanyu Zhou to close the gap. The reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion didn’t yield, but the second neutralisation gave the Chinese a second chance, which proved decisive. Although Sacha fought back to regain the place he couldn’t make his passing attempts stick. Finally, he clinched the two points that went with ninth place.
In the afternoon he made a similar start and held on to sixth place. The Franco-Argentinean found himself stuck behind Marcus Armstrong and Juri Vips took advantage of the situation to slot in between the two drivers. Although Sacha upped the pace to catch the Estonian he couldn’t find an opening in what was another processional race.
“Practice was very positive, but I made things difficult for myself by committing a few errors in Q1. We redoubled our efforts to do better in Q2 and our progress was encouraging. I don’t think we had the car to fight for victory so sixth place was probably the best we could hope for here. As always I gave everything in the races. Unfortunately, my decision to go for the outside in the first corner in Saturday’s race didn’t pay off. I had to go through the gravel trap and that compromised any chance of a good result so I used the race to collect as much information as possible in view of the other heats of the weekend. Despite making good starts other drivers were able to exploit my overtaking moves by hemming me in on the rumble strips. But even so, we can take away a lot of positives. We’ve made a big step forward with the car and its handling in the races. We’ve still got work to do, but we won’t give an inch to achieve our aims.”
Free practice 1: 1st – 1m 21.262sec
Free practice 2: 8th – 1m 21.201sec
Qualifying 1: 13th – 1m 21.194sec
Grid position Race 1: 11th
Race 1: 12th
Qualifying 2: 8th – 1.21.264sec
Grid position Race 2: 8th
Race 2: 9th
Qualifying 3: 6th – 1m 21.268sec
Grid position Race 3: 6th
Race 3: 7th
1. Ticktum – 264 points
2. Schumacher – 261 points
3. Armstrong – 220 points
4. Vips – 218 points
11. Fenestraz – 115 points
1. Shvartzman – 355.5 points
2. Vips – 333 points
3. Armstrong – 303 points
4. Ahmed – 272.5 points
5. Fenestraz – 254 points
Today we’re unveiling the cover of the collector’s edition of Michel Vaillant’s new album, Macau. It devotes a lot of space to Sacha and contains exclusive content like an interview between the Franco-Argentinean and Stéphane Barbé, a well-known journalist at the L’Equipe, new photos, and a focus on the location scouting carried out last year by the three authors in Macao. Rendezvous on 9th November to discover Sacha’s reactions when he meets his double and his look-back at his first outing in the Macao Grand Prix.