At the official Protyre Formula Renault pre-race test at Brands Hatch on Friday, Matteo was on the pace on the dry, hot track and also in a wet session. The Protyre Formula Renaults completed four test sessions on the “Indy” circuit. Although still wanting to improve the car further, Matteo headed into the Qualifying on Saturday well prepared and confident of being on the front row.
With a focused mind and good set up Matteo built his rhythm on the short, challenging circuit. He put together a very quick lap in the first Brands Hatch Qualifying on Saturday morning, setting the pole position time by just over one-tenth from team-mate and Championship leader Pietro Fittipaldi. At session’s end of Qualifying Two, the team-mates swapped positions on the results sheets with Matteo qualifying second just nine-hundredths behind Fittipaldi.
As the lights went out for Race One Matteo made a excellent start from Pole, storming toward the first corner to maintain the advantage into Paddock Hill Bend, however with a bit of a cold-tyre problem gave Fittipaldi the advantage on the exit of the corner and he passed Matteo on the run up to Druids hairpin. Matteo pushed hard throughout the race keeping the pressure on the leader, and was rewarded with fastest lap and second place, moving him into second in the Championship.
For the second race Matteo started from second on the grid on the dusty high outside line. He again made a good start but suffered from a little more wheel-spin than the first start and then shadowed Fittipaldi into the first corner. Having made a small change on set up before the race Matteo was still struggling a little with the car but managed to find a good rhythm to keep him comfortably in second place. He brought home good points and stays in touch with the Championship leas as well as extending the Championship gap to third place Fortec Motorsport driver Alex Gill.
Matteo was pleased with his weekend; “I am happy to have secured valuable points this weekend at a circuit where I have had difficulties in the past. Pole position, two second places and moving up in the Championship are good rewards but there is still a long way to go in the Championship and a lot of work to be done.”
Allinsport’s Peter Collins said; “Matteo did a good job to keep the pressure on Pietro in both races, but knowing how difficult it is to pass at Brands he made the right decision in the final laps to just secure the places and points. Unfortunately we just didn’t quite have enough speed to take the wins.”
The next round of the Protyre Formula Renault Championship will be at Snetterton, 30 and 31 August.