After a great single-seater debut which saw him fly to the top of the Formula Renault Alps championship classification, Antonio Fuoco made his debut in the European championship of this category this weekend. The event was held at Spa, where the 16 year old Ferrari Driver Academy student will also be in action next weekend in the Alps series. Fuoco did not take long to get used to the difficult Belgian track and despite the Sporting Regulations meaning he was only able to take part in one of the two free practice sessions, as he is not entered in the European series, he soon found himself among the front runners. Antonio was out of luck however in qualifying for race 1, setting the sixth time in his group, which put him twelfth on the grid.
With great support from the Prema team, Fuoco’s potential was clear to see in the first race of the weekend. Antonio’s climb up the order featured several passing moves on his way to fifth place at the chequered flag. That performance set the tone for qualifying for race 2, when Fuoco shocked everyone by taking pole position with a new lap record for the Formula Renault 2.0 cars at Spa. It was a great session for the Prema team, as Luca Ghiotto was second fastest.
Fuoco kept the lead at the start of race 2, but thanks to the slipstreaming effect, Ghiotto got past him in the braking area at Les Combes corner. The race was then red flagged because of a multiple car crash. At the restart, Fuoco dropped two places, finishing fourth. An excellent apprenticeship thus finished with two top five places and a pole position, all a good basis for next weekend’s races.
Antonio Fuoco: “The point of taking part in the Eurocup was above all to get to know the Spa circuit, but of course, I was also keen to see how I would shape up compared to the strong European competition. I am more than pleased with how it went, even if I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t make it to the podium. After the unlucky qualifying for race 1, when I wasn’t on track at the right time, I think I performed well for the rest of the weekend. In the first race, I made up a lot of places, getting a good feeling with the car. Then, in qualifying for race 2, I got an almost perfect lap, setting a great time. In the final race, I could have attacked a bit harder on more than one occasion, but given I’m not entered in the European series, I didn’t want to risk any collisions with those fighting for the title. On top of that, I would have had to fight with my team-mates and that would have made even less sense. My main effort for 2013 is aimed at doing my best in the Alps championship, so the best time to go on the attack will be next weekend.”