FDA – Fuoco on fire in Monza

Maranello, 7 July – The Formula Renault Alps series was back in action this weekend at Monza, for the fourth round of the championship. Antonio Fuoco, whose name means “fire” in Italian, really lit up the show, taking pole position and victory in Race 1. In Race 2, the Ferrari Driver Academy student came back from last to sixth place, so that once again he finished in the points. Thanks to this result, Fuoco has strengthened his lead in the classification, now on 141 points.

Antonio got his Monza weekend off to a convincing start with a peremptory pole position, over two tenths of a second faster than the next man. He then made the most of it to take the lead when the lights went out before leading all thirteen laps. In the second race, he was involved in a first lap collision. Braking for the Ascari chicane, Fuoco, who was lying second was speared by his team-mate Bruno Bonifacio going into the chicane. This wiped out his chances of victory, but at least it left Antonio with the possibility of fighting his way back up to sixth. That he managed to do after a thrilling charge up the order, which began when the Safety Car returned to pit lane and ended at the chequered flag.

“The weekend immediately got off to a good start,” commented Antonio. “When I was told I would be in the first qualifying group, I thought there was no way I could get pole. Usually, the second group sets the fastest times as the track is more rubbered in, but this time, no one beat my time. I got away well at the start of Race 1 managing to pull out a bit of a lead over those behind, which was vital to break out of the slipstreaming zone, but after a few laps, the Safety Car came out which brought all the cars back together again. I knew the re-start would be very important and I managed to get out of the Parabolica well, which immediately gave me a good gap that I was able to keep to the chequered flag. Unfortunately, the second race did not go as I had hoped. At the start I slipped into second place and at Ascari, I took the usual line for the first part of the chicane. Suddenly, I felt a blow on my side and I saw I’d been hit by my team-mate Bonifacio. I managed to get back on track and when the team told me to pit so they could check the damage from the impact, I asked to delay the stop so that I could see if everything was working. Incredibly, I managed to set great lap times, working my way up to sixth in the end. The speed I had today meant I could have been in the fight for the win, but I don’t think I was in any way responsible for what happened on the opening lap. The climb up the order was fun and the points I took are some small reward for a very strong race.”