Apr 12

Solid start for Canadian in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC Debut

Monza Top-10 Launches Chudleigh’s NEC Season

Luke Chudleigh Luke Chudleigh opened his Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) campaign at Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza with a points paying finish in Sunday’s race.  The Canadian claimed the checkered flag in tenth as he made his competitive debut with Britain’s Fortec Motorsports at the first double-header round of the NEC series this weekend, 10th-12th April.

The opening lap in both Saturday and Sunday’s races proved to be decisive for the 20-year-old from Milton.  Contact at the first turn during Saturday’s sprint dropped Luke to the back of the pack, hanging on to register a 26th place finish.  An outstanding launch off the line at the start of Sunday’s race however ensured Chudleigh was in the thick of the top ten action throughout and ultimately led to his tenth place finish.

With limited testing under his belt with his new team, Luke’s arrival at the historic home of the Italian Grand Prix in Milan meant track time would again be a valuable commodity.  Unfortunately qualifying for Saturday’s 25-minute race was cut short due to a red flag.  A risky strategy to leave it late in the session to run ultimately hampered Luke leaving him 18th on the grid.

The 12-lap race on the Saturday afternoon had Chudleigh as a passenger in contact from a rival as the 30-strong pack charged into the tight first turn at Monza.  Despite a damaged front-wing and having lost position, the Ontario racer stayed out on track and on the lead lap.  He finished 26th in a race won by Switzerland’s Louis Deletraz competing for Josef Kaufmann Racing.

Qualifying for Sunday’s race was a far more positive affair.  Straight out on track at the start of the session, Luke’s pace was encouraging and his comfort in the car was evident with a series of solid laps.  13th fastest on the timesheets from 30 entrants set him up nicely for Sunday morning’s early charge.

Keen to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s opening lap chaos, Luke made a lightening start to Sunday’s race at Monza, jumping a row ahead by the time the field filtered into the notorious first turn.

Running as high as ninth and battling for position, a move at the chicane by Manor’s Lasse Sorensen dropped Luke back a spot to tenth where the Fortec Motorsports racer remained through to the checkered flag after 14 frantic laps.  The race was won by Japan’s Ukyo Sasahara driving for the ART Junior Team.

“Today’s race was a bunch of fun,” enthused Chudleigh at Monza.  “I think considering I only had three days of pre-season testing with Fortec Motorsports we can be pleased with our first race weekend together.  Racing into the top ten is a positive start although I know we can find more pace.

“My comfort level with the team is really high and I think we’re now heading to Spain for the start of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup in the right direction.  That campaign is my primary focus but racing in the NEC, and especially getting this first weekend under my belt with the team, was a big step in further establishing our working relationship.  I’m super happy to be racing with Fortect, especially knowing their pedigree, and I’m really looking forward to getting the Eurocup campaign underway.”

Luke’s 2015 Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup season starts in two weeks with Round 1 hosted at Spain’s Motorland Aragon Circuit, 24th-26th April – the event part of the World Series by Renault.  He’ll return to Formula Renault 2.0 NEC action next month at Silverstone in the United Kingdom, 22nd-24th May.

Luke Chudleigh is supported by Chudleigh’s, Adidas, Bohten, Mio, Sony and PRIME/Wickens Management.

source: www.lukechudleigh.com, fortecmotorsports.com