Alexander Rossi capped his excellent debut season in Formula Renault 3.5 in Catalunya by winning the Rookie championship and sealing third place in the overall standings.
It has been a fantastic campaign for the American, who has taken two outright victories in the series as well as one fastest lap and six podiums.
Rossi concluded his season with a fourth place in Race One after starting third on the grid and enjoyed a hard-fought battle with championship challenger Jean-Eric Vergne along the way.
He said: “Qualifying was tricky as running was interrupted by an incident and then there was oil on the track between sectors two and three. We thought that it was going to be impossible to improve on our lap time, but we did – it was a challenge but I was happy with P3. The start of the race was mayhem into turn one and I got out of sequence when Costa ran wide and it took me three or so corners to get position back.
“I was fighting to keep position from Vergne for the first half of the race as my front tyres had gone during the first lap battles. I then had to maintain them for the rest of the race and block Vergne. I did not want to take any chances and so when he got past me, I just kept my head until the end of the race.
“Although I am disappointed that we did not achieve a podium finish, we still collected points important for the Championship.”
Race Two was slightly more disappointing for the American as he finished seventh in a chaotic series finale.
However, the six points he scored for seventh place were enough to secure third in the championship, five points ahead of Epic's Albert Costa.
Despite his final race troubles, ending the year third and Rookie of the year was a hugely significant achievement for the 20 year old.
“Qualifying was not good for us at all,” said Rossi.
“I had little confidence in the brakes all weekend and you need high downforce and late braking to take advantage in the race today. We changed what we could but had no idea how the changes would affect the car as we could not test it before running. I'll put my hands up – I made a poor start to the race and in the mayhem into turns one and two I managed to get out relatively unscathed, apart from a bent front right. I still had braking issues, and nowhere near the pace of the leaders, but we had enough to reach a top ten finish, which is what we needed to secure P3 in the Championship today.
“It was not the way I had envisaged ending the season, but I am happy with our result; for me and the team, and would like to thank everybody for all their hard work this season which enabled me to win the Rookie Championship for Fortec too.”
Team Manager at Fortec Motorsports, Jamie Dye, was similarly delighted with Rossi's contribution in 2011.
He said: “It is a well deserved third place for Alexander in the Drivers' Championship; we are all extremely happy, congratulations to everyone at Fortec Motorsports and we look forward to having car numbers three and four next year!”