Arden Motorsport opened their 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup campaign in fine form, with Alex Quinn setting pole position and banking a podium for the Banbury-based team.
With global motorsport on pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire team arrived in Italy eager to get racing underway for 2020 – and it did not disappoint.
Quinn, a last-minute announcement alongside Ugo de Wilde and Reshad De Gerus, made full use of pre-event testing to get dialed back in and duly delivered on Friday morning, a blistering 1:47.438 putting Arden on pole position for the season opener.
He made no mistake at the start in the opening race, soaking up the pressure and breaking that all-important tow, before two safety car periods in quick succession brought the rest of the field back into play.
Quinn would be overhauled for the lead into the Della Roggia chicane, but mounted a fightback, running side-by-side with new leader Franco Colapinto into the Rettifilio. It was close, but the Brit nevertheless marked his return to action with yet more silverware.
De Wilde won the equivalent race last season, and demonstrated once again why as the Belgian teenager cut through the field from the very back to claim eighth and open his account for 2020.
Team mate De Gerus was also on fire, marking his debut in Europe’s premier single-seater series with 14th having started with de Wilde at the rear of the pack.
The Reunionese driver repeated that performance on Saturday in the final race, but it was a very contrasting race for Quinn and de Wilde.
Quinn stormed through to third in the opening exchanges from fifth on the grid and looked to have the position secure, but was spun exiting the second Lesmo.
Another car was powerless to avoid Quinn, and then subsequently veered across and caught de Wilde, putting both out of the race on the spot.
The net result of both races puts Quinn 5th overall, with de Wilde and De Gerus 12th and 18th respectively.
Arden begin the campaign 4th in the Teams’ standings, with the season set to resume at Imola in a fortnight (25-26 July).
Ben Salter, Arden Formula Renault Team Manager said:
“It was definitely a weekend of two halves for us – but first of all a huge congratulations to Alex on pole position, a podium and a Rookie win in the first race of the weekend.
“I think that, along with a superb showing from Ugo and Reshad to drive through the field, really demonstrates how hard we’ve worked over the winter, and we’re starting to see some reward for that effort.
“The second race was unlucky for Alex and Ugo – these things happen in racing – but it is what it is and we need to put it behind us and move forward quickly.
“A word for the entire team – they’ve all worked flat out this weekend chasing that little bit of extra performance. It’s been tough, but they rose to the challenge and it’s great to have another trophy in the cabinet to reflect that.
“I’d also like to say a huge thanks on behalf of the team to Pierre-Alain Bouhet, who leaves us after five great years as championship organiser. His hard work and effort has always been very much appreciated.
“Now we’ll head back to base, regroup, work on a few things and then get everything ready to head back out to Imola in a fortnight.”
Alex Quinn (#20) said:
“It’s been a positive weekend in terms of speed; we’ve found a lot of pace over the time spent at Monza, and of course it was fantastic to get a podium in P2, plus the Rookie win, in the opening race.
“It’s a shame about the last race as I was up into third from fifth before being spun around down the straight, which caused an unfortunate accident for me and my team mate [de Wilde] through no fault of our own.
“But plenty of positives, and I’m looking forward to the next event at Imola.”
Reshad De Gerus (#21) said:
“It’s been a difficult week for me, the conditions haven’t been very favourable but the progress is there.
“Now we need to focus on the next race, and we’re going to work hard with the team to be ready for Imola!”
Ugo de Wilde (#27) said:
“It wasn’t the weekend we were expecting. I think we need to focus on the positives and improve where we can.
“We had bad luck this time around with a crash where I couldn’t do anything, plus an electronic issue, but that’s racing.
“We’ll keep our head up and move forward. Now the focus is on Imola, where I’m sure we can achieve our goals.”