Alex maintains Eurocup debutants lead at Monaco

Solid results at Monaco have kept Alex the leading first-year competitor driver in the 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup series.

The 17 year-old Hobart driver posted a pair of sixth placings in his debut at the legendary Formula 1 street circuit.

Alex’s performance was all the more creditable considering the round’s unique format and his two-position starting grid penalty for the first race.

He raised eyebrows in the Formula 1 pit lane by clocking the second-fastest lap in Thursday’s single all-in practice session. That was followed by fifth of the 30 drivers after Friday’s split-field qualifying session.

MONACO (MC) MAY 25-28-2017 – Grand Prix de Monaco 2017. Alex Peroni #17 Fortec Motorsport. Action. © 2017 Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency

In Saturday’s first race he held station throughout the 18 laps on the narrow 3.78km circuit, which is notorious for making overtaking virtually impossible unless the driver ahead makes a mistake.

After the race his seventh placing was upgraded to sixth when the fourth-placed driver received a time penalty for a false start.

Alex’s chances of replicating his Pau pole position for the second Monaco race were stymied by the principality round’s unique format.

Unlike the usual schedule of a qualifying session for each race, Monaco’s second race grid was set according to the Friday qualifying session but with each group on the other side of the track.

Consequently Alex lined up sixth, and with no opportunity to improve during the race he finished in that position, picking up more valuable points for the championship.

He is now in fifth position overall in the Eurocup pointscore after four of 10 rounds, and remains the series’ leading debutant.

MONACO (MC) MAY 25-28-2017 – Grand Prix de Monaco 2017. Alex Peroni #17 Fortec Motorsport. Action. © 2017 Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency

Alex was relieved to have racked up points in both Monaco races.

“After being second-fastest in the practice session I was looking forward to the prospect of another chance of getting on the podium,” he said.

“Eurocup was the first practice session for the race meeting, so the track was really slippery. But by Friday there was more grip from the rubber laid down by the Formula 1s and other cars.

“Like the other teams we had to take a guess at car set-up for the different track conditions in qualifying. We got it close but not quite right.

“The Saturday race showed how important it is to qualify at the top of the field at Monaco.

“We’d improved the car’s set-up and I was able to hold my position, but there was no way to overtake.

“With no qualifying session for the Sunday race, and starting sixth, it was all about staying on the track and maintaining position.

“Even though it would have been nice to get a podium this weekend, racing at Monaco is amazing. There’s no other circuit in the world like it!

“Eurocup is incredibly competitive for newcomers, and even tougher here with only one practice session and one qualifying session. There’s no second chance.

“Thanks to Fortec Motorsport and my sponsors Blundstone, RACT, United, Renault Australia and Richardson Devine Marine.”

The 2017 Formula Renault Eurocup continues with round 5 at the Hungaroring on July 1-2.

ALEX PERONI’S 2017 FORMULA RENAULT EUROCUP RESULTS

ROUND 4 – MONTE CARLO (MONACO), MAY 25-28

QUALIFYING: 3rd in Group A

RACE 1: Starting position – 7th (2-position grid penalty); Result – 6th

RACE 2: Starting position – 6th; Result – 6th

POINSTCORE POSITION: 5th (67 points) of 30 drivers

NEXT ROUND: Hungaroring (Hungary), July 1-2

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