ALEXANDER ROSSI THIRD IN WORLD SERIES BY RENAULT CHAMPIONSHIP FOLLOWING MAJOR SHUNT IN MONACO
Following an eventful race weekend in the Principality of Monaco, in which American Alexander Rossi and his fellow drivers supported the Formula One World Championship, Rossi lies third in the World Series by Renault Championship.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw the field split into two groups to limit the number of cars out on track at any one time; in order to give each car sufficient space to set qualifying laps. Alexander Rossi was in Group B which saw him go out on track in the latter part of the session. Following a tightly contested qualifying, in which the top four cars were split by only a few hundredths of a second, Rossi lined his Fortec Motorsport car up on the second row of the grid in P4.
Rossi made a strong start in yesterday’s race, but fifth placed Costa jumped the start which, combined with the narrow streets of Monaco bunching up the field, meant that Rossi was pushed back to P5.
Despite having a visibly quicker car than Costa, the notoriously narrow and windy circuit meant that in the early stages of the race that it was difficult for Rossi to find a way past. Maintaining a gap of less than half a second, Rossi continued to push Costa hard lap after lap.
Twenty five minutes into the race, Costa locked up his tyres which enabled Rossi to close right up on the back of him and the gap was down to just 0.2 seconds. A few laps later the safety car was brought out as a result of two cars clipping the barriers.
With the field bunched up again, the track went green. At the restart, Rossi passed Costa on the entrance into the hairpin for P4 and immediately pulled out a gap of ten car lengths. With 10 laps to go Rossi then set his sights on third place Hartley, gaining 6/10ths of a second on his veteran competitor, closing the gap to 1.1 seconds.
With nine laps to go, the lead four cars came up to lapped car, Oliver Webb. Exiting Sainte Devote, Ricciardo, Wickens and Harley were able to clear Webb. Rossi another second behind came upon Webb in Massenet (the blind high speed left hander). Webb pulled slightly off the racing line to give Rossi some room to pass, but the two cars clipped wheels sending Rossi hurtling into the barriers. Travelling at over 220kph, Rossi suffered a slight concussion and a pulled calf muscle from the accident, following a check up at the local hospital. Rossi has now been discharged and released from medical care at local Monaco hospital.
“We were immediately on the pace when we arrived in Monaco ”, Alexander commented. “I was confident of a strong weekend during qualifying, as our pace was fantastic running P1 for most of the session. It was hugely disappointing to miss out on pole by such a tiny margin, as Monaco is the toughest circuit to overtake. I knew it was going to be tough to make up places during the race, but the Fortec car was perfect. In the race once I was able to get by Costa for 4th, the pace was evident as I closed the gap to the leaders. I was running P4 when the accident happened, however I still don’t remember exactly how Webb and I came together. The hospital discharged me after a CT scan with mild concussion and a bruised calf muscle. It is a relief not to have picked up any serious injuries”, commented Alexander Rossi.
“It is also good to be heading into the next race with the same gap between me and Vergne as it was heading into Monaco weekend. While it’s frustrating to have missed out on picking up additional Championship points, it is a good position to be in that we haven’t lost any additional points to Vergne;” continued Alexander Rossi.
“Firstly, the most important thing is that Alexander is not hurt following his accident. Monaco can be an unforgiving circuit and the team is relieved that he has only suffered extremely minor injuries in what was a high speed crash. Alexander has had the pace all weekend and we are confident that he would have caught and passed Hartley and secured a podium finish this weekend. Now we will be focusing on the next races at the Nurburgring and the whole team is confident that Alexander will be back fighting for the top results as well as moving back up the Championship standings;” commented Jamie Dye, Team Manager, Fortec Motorsport.
Alexander Rossi now heads to the Nurburgring for round four of the World Series by Renault on the 18th June. Rossi is lying third in the Championship with 73 points, 17 points behind the current Championship leader Vergne.