The weekend of the ‘‘remontada’’!

June 2018
Sacha Fenestraz
The second meeting of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship was held last weekend at the Hungaroring, in the suburbs of Budapest, Hungary. The Carlin team and Sacha Fenestraz searched for performance, but struggled in qualifying. Nevertheless, the Renault Sport Academy driver moved up through the field on three occasions to score valuable points in the general classification.


Beginning in free-practice, getting the chassis sorted was a tall order on this circuit. The driver, engineers and mechanics remained united to improve the set-ups ahead of the first qualifying session.  After his fastest lap, Sacha thought he had put in a good time. But it was only 13thbest; two spots ahead of team mate Jehan Daruvala who is a solid reference. 


Following overnight showers, the race started on a track with a dry racing line. The rest of the track surface was still mostly wet, which made overtaking that much harder. When the lights went out, Sacha made good use of starting on the dry side of the track to pick up a few positions. He decided to take some risks in the opening laps, to move up to eighth place. From that point on the race was a procession just until the chequered flag. Late in the afternoon, the second qualifying session wasn’t much better than the first. The car was faster, but Sacha wasn’t able to put his three best sectors together on the same lap. He was then slowed by traffic and had to settle for 13thand 12thon the starting grid for the two Sunday races. 


The start of race was 2 took place under sunny skies. Once again, Sacha got a very good start that saw him move up four positions. At the end of the race, the FFSA French Team driver scored ninth place points. The track was partially wet for the third and final race of the weekend. It was a tumultuous start, with Jehan Daruvala who stalled on the grid. Sacha slotted in behind Mick Schumacher before finding himself behind the slowing Alex Palou. The driver of the n°11 Dallara made the right move to get past the Spaniard to pick up another position. At the end of the opening lap, he had moved from 12thto 6thplace! Once again, the race settled down and Sacha added another strong point haul to his season total.


 “It was another weekend where we learned a lot. In these difficult times, we worked even harder, in examining every detail from which there are lessons to be learnt. Our weekend got off to a slow start because our set-ups were not ideal. I also made a mistake because I could have done better in Q2. Fortunately, I managed to gain positions and score points in each race. That is the objective we set for ourselves. I knew that I had to attack right from the opening lap, because after that it is practically impossible to overtake on this circuit. When we run close together, these cars are very sensitive to turbulence and the tyres degrade even faster. That is why the races can seem a little monotonous. I am pleased to have scored these points. I am sure that we will be stronger in the meetings to come.”