Benjamin Rouget

Asia Racing Team (ART Motorsports) fulfilled its pre-season promise with two stirring victories in the second round of the AFR Championship at Beijing Goldenport Circuit yesterday, taking Benjamin Rouget to his first Formula Renault 2.0 victory. The French has become the new series’ leader and ART is tied to the top of team standings. Luis Sa Silva had a mixed feelings weekend and rookie Luca Ferigutti showed some improvement.

During Saturdays’ qualifying session, Rouget showed its intention of ending the weekend on a high, setting the 2nd best time. Team-mate Luis Sa Silva wasn’t lucky as the young Angolan was unable to get the best out of his new tyres, posting the 6th quickest time. A spin prevented Ferigutti from showing his true potential again, winding up 8th.

The opening race on Sunday, held over 18 laps, wasn’t a fairly processional. At the Chaoyang District’s racing track Rouget had no plans to finish 2nd and after a hard dispute with Alon Day, he won the duel and settled the first Formula Renault 2.0 victory of the season for the Macanese Zhuhai-based team. After a disappointing qualifying, Sa Silva drove a storming race from 6th to 4th. Former Asian Kart champion Ferigutti finished 10th after spinning in lap 2 fighting for the 7th position.

The second Formula Renault race of the first Beijing Northern Race Super Series weekend saw Rouget cruising to the second victory after a faultless start. Sa Silva had an eventful first lap, climbing one position at the lights and being hit from behind by an opponent. Driving a damaged car, Sa Silva would stay for a while in 2nd but a spin cost him two places. Stuck behind a slower opponent Ferigutti spin out again and couldn’t do better than 9th.

Rouget is now leading the championship point standings, and Sa Silva climbed to 3rd. Ferigutti is currently standing in 12th.

The Asia Racing Team will recommence its AFR campaign at Shanghai International Circuit in four weeks time on 22/23 August.

#26 Benjamin Rouget : “What a perfect weekend for me and the team! I had a very disappointing Qualifying after being the fastest in the Thursday and Friday’s free practices. In the Race 1 I was following the leader very close when he did a mistake. We had a great fight but I found a way to overtake him and keep the position. Race 2 was easier as I managed to defend my position at the start and Alon (Day) spun, so I eased it back a bit. Next race will be in Shanghai and we need to be at the top if we want to be champions. Alon is a strong contender for the championship. We have a good fight ahead of us, so I’m looking forward to the next races.”

#27 Luca Ferigutti : “It was my first time at Beijing and I enjoyed it. The car was great and the did a nice job. My qualifying session wasn’t awesome but I don’t think I could qualify better than 7th. Despite a so-so start, I managed to keep my position but I lost the car in the double right when I was trying to catch up the car in front. I rejoined the race but my race was done. In the second race I had a poor start and got stuck behind a slower car. I couldn’t overtake him and I lost the car in the last corner. I kept pushing hard though as you never know what will happen. Overall the weekend wasn’t that bad as we saw some improvement. I need to be more aggressive and to improve my driving in the middle of the pack”

#34 Luis Sa Silva : “My qualifying was a disaster. I was unable to get the best out of his new tyres and the successive red flags didn’t help too. Fortunately I did a good first race start and climbed one position. It’s very hard to overtake in Beijing but I managed to pass Xiao Le He in the middle of the race. Perhaps with a few extra laps I could have found a way past the 3rd. In the second race I went third in the first corner but I got hit from behind in the last corner of the opening lap. My car was very difficult to handle after that. I tried to keep my position, and I did it for a while, but I couldn’t avoid a spin. The weekend wasn’t perfect as I would like to take a podium position to Angola but due to the circumstances I’m happy and very motivated to give the best to my sponsors.”