Alex has scored a stunning maiden Formula Renault Eurocup race win at Pau in southern France.
Alex led all the way from pole position in Sunday’s second race in round 3 of Renault Sport’s flagship international openwheeler series.
He held fellow front row qualifier Sacha Fenestraz at bay for the entire 21-lap/58km distance on the 2.76km street circuit.
It was no cruise for Hobart-born Alex, though.
After carving out a lead of almost two seconds in the latter stages of the race, he suddenly found Fenestraz less than half a second behind while cautiously lapping a tailender on the penultimate lap and also slowing for double waved yellow flags.
But he stayed cool until the chequered flag to score his breakthrough Eurocup race win by 0.52 seconds.
His success followed a solid fifth placing in Saturday’s first race, and vaulted him to fourth outright and first Eurocup debutant in the 2017 pointscore.
Alex’s results were all the more meritorious considering he hadn’t raced at Pau before.
He set the fastest lap in the first of Friday’s two practice sessions despite steady rain falling throughout the session.
On Saturday he was in the mix for pole position for race 1 until a minor error cost him the opportunity to set a final quick lap.
But on Sunday it all came together, starting with a new fastest qualifying time at Pau for the 2-litre Formula Renault category.
After winning race 2, an elated Alex described how Fenestraz’s constant pressure, the serpentine street circuit and warm weather made it a tough day at the office.
“I had to push very hard for the whole race, with Sacha just behind me,” he said.
“I love driving at Pau, but it’s a very demanding circuit.
“The guardrails on both sides of the track leave no margin for error, and they keep the heat on the track. It was hot out there!
“I was surprised to be so competitive here, considering the leading drivers have raced here before.
“And Friday morning’s practice session was wet, which wasn’t a lot of help for the dry weekend.
“Qualifying on Saturday was a bit disappointing. There was a chance of getting on the front row, but I broke my front wing on a kerb just before the end of the session when everyone was setting their best times.
“In the race I was held up, but it’s nearly impossible to overtake on a street circuit unless the driver ahead makes a mistake.
“The first 10 placings didn’t change for the whole race!
“Thanks as always to Fortec Motorsport and my sponsors Blundstone, RACT, United, Renault Australia and Richardson Devine Marine.”
The 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup continues next weekend with its showpiece round at the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix.
ALEX PERONI’S 2017 FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP RESULTS
ROUND 3 – PAU (FRANCE), MAY 20-21
RACE 1: Starting position – 5th (3rd fastest in Group B); Result – 5th
RACE 2: Starting position – pole (fastest in Group B); Result – 1st
POINSTCORE POSITION: 4th (51 points) of 30 drivers
NEXT ROUND: Monaco (France), May 25-28