Marlon Stockinger was back in excellent form on Sunday morning, earning himself second place on the grid between Carlos Sainz and Jazeman Jaafar.
At the start of the formation lap, the car of Oliver Rowland (Fortec Motorsports) remained blocked on the starting grid. When the lights went out, Carlos Sainz put in a perfect launch to quickly pull away from the rest of the field led by Stockinger, ahead of Sergey Sirotkin and Luca Ghiotto, who started seventh and ninth.
Good defence throughout the race enabled Stockinger to hold P2 at the end ofthe race and take to the podium with Sainz in P1 and Sirotkin in P3.
Marlon Stockinger: ”The team did a really great job because I was really on pace all weekend. We knew we were competitive and we finally demonstrated all the work we did during winter testing. Congrats to the whole team for their support.”
Matthieu Vaxivière’s 2014 season kicked off last Friday at Monza in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. The young Frenchman had a mixed weekend in the top category in the World Series by Renault, but learned a lot.
After the French F4 Championship and the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0, Matthieu Vaxivière had his first taste of a third single-seater championship in four seasons. His debut in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, one of the leading Formula 1 series, took place on the legendary high-speed Monza circuit.
On Friday the Frenchman was thrown into the thick of battle with his team. However, untimed practice was marred by problems. “I didn’t do a lot of running because of various mechanical glitches,” said Vaxiviere. “We had a whole string of unexpected hiccups including an overheating engine in the morning, which prevented us from gathering precious experience. Thus, Friday didn’t go off very well, but the team and I worked flat out to get back on the pace.”
On Saturday morning Vaxivière went out for the first qualifying session of the season. He used all his talent to put the previous day’s mishaps behind him. He did so successfully as he beat his more experienced team-mate, and he put on a good performance in the race despite a new problem rearing its head.
Vaxivière tackled Sunday morning with renewed confidence hoping to transform his performance in the first race of the year into points. But the French driver’s hopes were again compromised by fresh glitches.
Matthieu Vaxivière: “After Friday’s setbacks it was difficult to know if we were really ready. I managed to qualify in ninth place, but on the grid the anti-stall system went on the blink and I had to start the race from the pits. I put my head down and began to fight my way back to the front to try and score some points. Unfortunately, I broke my front wing in the closing laps after which a succession of brake problems meant that I couldn’t avoid hitting the wall. I had an incisive race, but I’m disappointed as if I’d started from the grid a top-five finish was on the cards.”
“On Sunday, we had a problem on the car. We’re not really sure what caused it but it could be due to my accident. It really spoilt my performance in qualifying and in the race. I started from last place; I made a good getaway and pulled back numerous places before getting bogged down. It was the end of a pretty difficult weekend for me. Still, I think it’s better to start off like this and then improve throughout the season than to make a flying start and fall back.”
Vaxivière’s next rendez-vous in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series will be at Motorland Aragon where he won two races in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 last year.