Alex Peroni exceeds Eurocup expectations

Even though Alex’s outright third place in race 1 was subsequently changed to fourth, he made it into third on the Rookies podium.

podium-race-1[Renault Sport photo]

A fourth place in his first Formula Renault Eurocup race at Estoril has exceeded Alex’s expectations.

The 16 year-old Hobart driver was initially upgraded to the race 1 podium when third-place finisher Robert Shwartzman was penalised for overtaking under yellow flags, but the original finishing order was restored later after the Russian driver’s penalty was rescinded.

Alex’s placing among the other rookies in the race was also adjusted from second to third after Schwartzman’s reinstatement.

On a damp track, and with an injured right hand after an incident during Friday’s first practice session, Alex finished the opening race 10 places higher than he started.

Unfortunately the wrong car set-up for the constantly changing track conditions during the weekend prevented him from figuring in the race 2 results.

Nevertheless, Alex made the most of his wildcard entry at the 2016 Eurocup finale.

He startled the series regulars on Friday by clocking the fourth fastest lap in the first practice session.

But he was unable to post a competitive time in the second session due to a hand injury, suffered in a minor collision with another car in the first session.

Although damage to Alex’s car was minimal, his right hand was cut and bruised when the steering wheel whipped around suddenly.

Consequently he could only complete several slow laps in the second practice session, costing him valuable track time in his first appearance at the former Portuguese Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit.

On Saturday he ignored the pain to qualify 14th for the first race, although he was unlucky with the changing track conditions.

Early in the session he was sixth fastest when the track was wet, but he just missed a brief period of dry running when other drivers had changed to slick tyres.

He was bumped down the order as a result.

In the race, aggressive driving paid dividends, and with incidents taking out some of the front runners he ascended the order rapidly to claim almost a podium result.

It looked like he’d have to repeat his Saturday race comeback in Sunday’s second heat, after his eighth fastest time in the second qualifying session was scrubbed for a pit lane violation.

But any chance of another brilliant recovery drive from 12th on the grid disappeared when a gamble on car set-up for the drying track backfired.

He struggled for tyre grip throughout the race, and finished a lowly 18th.

Peroni had mixed emotions after sampling the premier Formula Renault series, which has been a stepping stone to Formula 1 for Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas and others.

“I was really happy with race 1, especially after not being able to do any quick laps in the second practice session. It was a lot better result than I’d expected for my first Eurocup race!

“But I was disappointed that I didn’t get the chance to do anything in the second race. We thought that a dry set up would work as the track dried, but it didn’t.

“I fought as hard as I could, but it was all I could do to keep the car on the track.

“The best part of this weekend was knowing that I can be competitive at Eurocup level.

“It’s a step up from the Monoplace Challenge series that I’ve been racing in this year, but when you’re against tougher competition you just push yourself harder.

“I’m really looking forward to participating in the Eurocup 2017 Rookie Test here on Tuesday!

“Thanks as always to my sponsors and supporters for this fantastic opportunity, and to TS Corse for preparing the car.”

2016 FORMULA RENAULT 2.0 EUROCUP ROUND 7, OCTOBER 22-23 (ESTORIL, PORTUGAL)

ALEX PERONI’S RESULTS

Qualifying for race 1: 14th

Race 1: 4th

Qualifying for race 2: 12th (8th before pit lane infringement)

Race 2: 18th

ALEX PERONI’S CALENDAR

October 26 – Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup 2017 Rookies Test (Estoril, Portugal)

November 4/5/6 – Monoplace Challenge final round (Estoril, Portugal)

MORE INFORMATION

Alex Peroni’s website

Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup website

Monoplace Challenge website

ENDS

MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Piero Peroni 0407 334 020 piero7.peroni@gmail.com

David Quinn 0418 123 282 djq@bigpond.net.au

One hand on title after clean-sweep in Magny Cours

 

TS Corse celebrating win number 3
TS Corse celebrating win number 3

A perfect performance in the penultimate round of the Monoplace Challenge at Magny Cours has put Alex within striking distance of the title.

The 16 year-old Hobart driver qualified on pole position and won all three races in round six of the international series for Formula Renault openwheelers.

His triple victory extended his points lead to 155 points over Frenchman Gilles Heriau, who is now the only other driver with a mathematical chance of winning.

With a maximum 180 points available for next month’s finale at Estoril, Alex only needs one 10th placing at the Portuguese track to guarantee the series victory.

fighting for first in the opening lap
fighting for first in the opening lap

His Magny Cours triumph was all the more impressive considering it was his first race meeting at the 4.4km former French Formula 1 Grand Prix venue.

“This was my most satisfying round of the series so far,” Alex said. “I’ve qualified on pole and won two races in other rounds, but something – or someone – always stopped me winning the third one.

“It’s tough racing for the first time at circuits where most of the other drivers have previous experience, but after five new circuits from six rounds I’m getting used to it!

“I was a bit worried when the first practice session was shortened from an hour to 40 minutes, which didn’t leave much time to set up the car.

Leading into the first corner
Leading into the first corner

“In the first race my start wasn’t great, and I had to work very hard to keep the lead until the finish.

“The track was damp for the second race, so it was a matter of how much to risk sliding off. But the car felt really good, and I was able to pull out a good lead and manage it to the end.

“Race 3 is always tricky with tyres at the end of their life, but I got a great start and pushed hard in the early laps to gain an advantage. It was just as well, because I lost some ground when I came up to lap a couple of backmarkers at awkward overtaking places.”

Even with one hand seemingly on the 2016 Monoplace Challenge trophy after his Magny Cours clean-sweep, Alex isn’t getting over-confident.

“It was an incredible round. Weekends like this are rare in such a competitive series,” he said.

Celebrating on the podium
Celebrating on the podium

“Thanks as always to TS Corse for their awesome car preparation and coaching, and to all of my supporters for this fantastic opportunity.

“We’ll celebrate this round, but we won’t relax until the series is won at Estoril.”

outside-car

2016 MONOPLACE CHALLENGE ROUND 6 – MAGNY COURS, FRANCE

POINTSCORE*

  1. Alex Peroni (AUS) 833
  2. Gilles Heriau (FRA) 678
  3. Alexey Chuklin (UKR) 572.5

* subject to official confirmation

ALEX PERONI’S RESULTS FOR ROUND 6

Qualifying: Pole

Race 1: 1st

Race 2: 1st

Race 3: 1st

ALEX PERONI’S SERIES STATISTICS

Race wins: 11 from 18

Podiums: 16 from 18

Pole positions: 3 from 6

NEXT ROUND

November 4/5/6 – Estoril (Portugal)