Even though Alex’s outright third place in race 1 was subsequently changed to fourth, he made it into third on the Rookies podium.
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under yellow flags, but the original finishing order was restored later after the Russian driver’s penalty was rescinded.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)
Alex Peroni’s website
Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup website
Monoplace Challenge website
Piero Peroni 0407 334 020 firstname.lastname@example.org
David Quinn 0418 123 282 email@example.com