M2 Competition’s maiden Formula Renault Eurocup campaign moved on to Silverstone as Yves Baltas and Lucas Alecco Roy scored career-best results and Kush Maini maintained his push for the rookie title.
Having set the fastest time overall across two days of official pre-event testing on Thursday and Friday, Kush headed into Saturday morning’s qualifying session confident of a strong showing.
The 19-year-old, who lives just 10km from Silverstone, set a searing pace at his local track to qualify as the fastest rookie driver in third overall – equalling his Monza best.
Unfortunately for the Indian, a rival driver left the road at the fast Maggots/Becketts complex and scattered the track with stones as he rejoined; several of which hit Kush’s front wing and damaged it.
His performance severely hampered, the JK Racing-backed driver fell back to 15th by two-thirds distance before being called in for a replacement nose. He rejoined to finish 18th overall and 10tht of the rookies, but did set the third-fastest lap of the race to prove his speed.
Having started eighth in Sunday’s race, he proved that pace further by climbing to sixth by the flag; a result that kept him fifth in the championship and second in the rookie points.
Team-mate Yves Baltas was one of the stars of Sunday’s race. Having qualified a best-ever seventh – just one tenth of a second away from a second-row start – he produced a flawless performance to finish ninth.
The previous day the American had come home 11th, having started 13tht.
German Lucas Alecco Roy, who made his series debut with M2 at Silverstone in place of Esteban Muth, made an instant impression with good pace on Thursday testing and qualified a fine 11tht for Race One.
A mid-race spin dropped him to 16th by the finish, but the ADD Management driver bounced back on Sunday with an ultra-consistent 12th place on the grid and 14tht in the race.
With two rounds completed, Yves lies 16th in the championship with Lucas aiming for his first points next time out on the streets of Monaco on May 24-26. M2 are fourth in the Teams’ standings.
Kush Maini said: “We had great pace this weekend, so it’s really frustrating to be denied a podium because someone’s had an incident you’re not a part of and then your wing breaks because they pull stones back onto the track. Third-best lap after my wing change shows you what was possible, especially after our test pace. Sixth was a good recover on Sunday after I hadn’t been in the zone in qualifying.”
Yves Baltas said: “It’s been a good weekend and I’ve taken my best qualifying and race results since stepping into the Eurocup. The edge of the top-10 isn’t where I want to be ultimately, but for now they’re decent results – better than at Monza – and give me something to build on. This championship is very close and you could see that from Sunday qualifying, where I started seventh, but would have been fourth with 0.1s more, or 11th with 0.1s less, but our race pace has been very good and if we can get qualifying right at the next few events, we can definitely finish higher.”
Lucas Alecco Roy said: “I’m quite satisfied with my debut weekend in a Formula Renault car. I’d never sat in one until Thursday and the speed was a big jump , but the M2 team did a great job of welcoming me and getting me up-to-speed quickly. These are the fastest cars I’ve driven and in the race I struggled a bit and didn’t have the race pace I wanted. Apart from that, I’m happy and looking forward to Monaco already.”
Jonathan Moury, Team Principal, said: “I’d call this an acceptable weekend, but that’s because I’m never happy unless we’re winning. We stayed clear of incident, finished both races with all three cars and scored some good points. I’m disappointed that circumstance on the first lap of Race One robbed Kush of the podium he richly deserved – and which was easily achievable. He did well to regroup on Sunday and make up some places. Yves missed our first pre-season test, so he’s been in catch-up mode all season, but he drove strongly at Monza and Silverstone represented another step-up for him, and I’m very pleased to see him now becoming a regular fixture in the top 10. Lucas had a huge task to come into the team effectively blind and make an impression, but he did a very good job and made an excellent first impression.”