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Sten Pentus back on top

In Budapest, which played host to 135,000 spectators this weekend, Fortec Motorsport’s Sten Pentus claimed his second win of the season. At the end of a reliable drive, the Estonian finished ahead of Epsilon Euskadi’s Albert Costa and Carlin’s Mikhail Aleshin. The Russian can afford to take a breather during the summer break, as he finishes the first half of the season with an eleven-point lead over Tech 1 Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo, who today finished 6th.

The conditions during today’s qualifying session were ideally suited to the pursuit of pole position in normal aerodynamic configuration. Albert Costa was the first to set a flying lap in Formula Renault 3.5 Series, but on his final attempt Sten Pentus left the competition standing. For the first time, the Estonian held pole, followed by Albert Costa, Pons Racing’s and Comtec Racing’s Greg Mansell.

The start also clearly belonged to Pentus, who raced off ahead, leaving Costa and Zampieri to enter the first corner alongside each other. The Italian ran wide, handing the advantage to Costa and falling back to 5th behind Aleshin, fourth and Greg Mansell, third.

Sten Pentus set about methodically building his lead over Albert Costa, who had managed to build a gap between himself and Mansell. The son of the F1 World Champion held sway over a tightly packed group, composed of Aleshin, Zampieri, Comtec Racing’s Stefano Coletti, Carlin’s Jake Rosenzweig and Tech 1 Racing’s Brendon Hartley.

On lap 5, Albert Costa and Stefano Coletti decided to enter the pits for their compulsory tire change. Mikhail Aleshin and Brendon Hartley followed suit one lap later, but it wasn’t until lap 7 that Sten Pentus took his turn to pull in. Greg Mansell took the reins ahead of Daniel Zampieri and Daniel Ricciardo, but they too would have to visit the team garages before too long.

Once the mandatory pit stops were all taken care of, Sten Pentus reclaimed his lead ahead of Albert Costa. The smoothest operators of the day were without doubt Carlin, as Mikhail Aleshin climbed up to third place to lead Mansell, Zampieri and Ricciardo.

Pentus’ lead over Albert Costa remained stable, while Mikhail Aleshin was showing no signs of letting go of third place. The most exciting spectacle was the battle for fourth place held by Greg Mansell. Zampieri however, clearly had other ideas. On lap 20, the Italian saw his chance and pounced, immediately snapping at the heels of Mikhail Aleshin. Despite a valiant effort, Zampieri was unable to get the better of the championship leader.

In ninth place, and with just two laps left to run, Brendon Hartley span his car and found himself blocking the track. The race was interrupted by the red flag, handing Sten Pentus his second win of the season, with Albert Costa in second place, followed by Milhail Aleshin in third. The Russian takes his summer break with an eleven-point lead over Daniel Ricciardo, who today finished 6th.

Quote, unquote:

Sten Pentus : “It wasn’t as hot today, I was much more relaxed than I was yesterday, but then it’s always easier when you’re out front all alone, than fighting with the other drivers. It’s an important win; I needed to get back on track, as I haven’t had a win since Motorland Aragon.”

Albert Costa : “I had a tough start to the season with an injured hand and then health problems. I didn’t prepare quite as well for the season as the other drivers and it’s taken me some time to get back to being 100%. I drove a good race yesterday, and I was on course for pole today. I didn’t drive quite as well, but I still want to win at least one race this season.”

Mikhail Aleshin : “I would have preferred to a double this weekend, but at the end of the day I didn’t do to badly, since I leave here with an 11-point lead. We had a strong strategy today which let me get back on the podium. I can’t wait for September; it’s going to be very exciting!”

Official Renault Sport Press Release

Posted: 04 July 2010
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