Alexander Rossi scored a second place finish in the International Formula Masters series at Brands Hatch, Sunday’s race. Alexander’s second trip to the podium in two race weekends was bittersweet with the news that Henry Surtees, a driver in the Formula 2 series, had been severely injured in the race taking place about 3 hours earlier. Henry, at 18 years of age, died from those injuries and we would like to express our deepest condolences to the entire Surtees family.

As was the case at Brno three weeks ago, qualifying was a bit of a lottery due to rain. A heavy shower prior to the start meant that the track was drying throughout the 30-minute session and wet tire management became crucial to achieving a good grid position. Alexander finished in seventh position, despite being unable to communicate with his race engineer due to a radio malfunction.

“We haven’t been able to have a proper qualifying session at Brno or Brands Hatch due to the rain,” says Alexander. “It’s been a disappointment, but I know that we have the pace and just need to put it all together in qualifying. I am sure we can be competitive for pole positions.”

RACE ONE: 28 laps – Grid 7, Finish 7 – With the weather clearing for Saturday’s race, Alexander and the team went back to the softer, dry-weather set-up that had landed them P3 in the second official practice. However, a few changes led to some unexpected results and a slight brake problem in the closing laps of the race left Rossi unable to advance up the grid.

“We tried several new things on the car,” says Alexander, “although this is always a risk when going immediately into a race without a chance to determine for sure whether it will be a positive or negative change. Before the race, we had to put a new floor on the car and unfortunately this ran the car 8mm closer to the ground and we had a lot of problems with the car bottoming. This caused fairly drastic oversteer throughout the entire race, which is a difficult side-effect to handle on a high speed track such as Brands Hatch.”

RACE TWO: 21 laps -Grid 2, Finish 2 – Alexander’s start of Sunday’s race, marking the 40th in the history of the IFM series, saw a loss of position in Turn 1 to ISR team-make Erik Janis as Alexander had too much wheelspin. Alexander was much faster, however, and he passed Janis into Turn 8 midway through lap 4 to regain second position. At this time, race leader Alessandro Kouzkin, had established a 4 second lead which Alexander reduced to just 0.2 seconds by lap 16. Unfortunately, a brake problem that had occurred in Saturday’s race represented itself and Rossi knew that second place points were not worth risking.

“Following the two World Touring Car races,” says Alexander, “I anticipated that the track would have more grip away from the line. By the time I eventually got some traction, I couldn’t stop Erik from passing me into Turn 1 and I spent the early laps trying to pressure him into a mistake. This happened at Turn 8, where he ran wide, and I could then set about chasing race leader Kouzkin.

I was able to close the gap, but I couldn’t pass Alessandro because we continued to have braking difficulties with the rear system losing pressure which was causing my brake pedal to go to the floor.”

“Alexander is a very good driver,” says ISR team Principal Igor Salaquarda. “His inexperience showed during qualifying at Brands Hatch because he didn’t manage his tyres as well as the drivers in front of him on the grid, but he’s fast. He will win more races this year and I think he can go very well at the Hungaroring.”

Rossi tested at the track prior to the start of the season; however this will be the first time at the Hungaroring in an ISR prepared car.

Up next for International Formula Master is, Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary July 24-26 for round 9 and 10.