The Pons Racing team ended their 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series season with both Meindert van Buuren and Oscar Tunjo securing top seven results at Jerez. The Dutchman secured his seventh on Saturday, while the Colombian followed that up with a seventh of his own on Sunday.
After qualifying fourteenth on Saturday, van Buuren was able to bring home points for the fifth time in 2014 with a rise to seventh having avoided all the first lap carnage ahead of him. He was hoping to be able to attack for sixth in the closing laps but found his grip levels had faded so he settled for seventh.
“In the end we had a great result although the lap in qualifying wasn’t really perfect. The traffic here is difficult to manage and the lap times are very close so probably we had more than a 14th place in our bag. Then the start was good and I managed to find my way around the crashes to P8.
“After gaining one more position, I went to tyre conservation mode until the closing stages. At that point, I tried to get up to the car I had in front but the rubber was gone. I’m very satisfied, because we need these good results.”
All hopes of adding to his Saturday points haul on Sunday were ended after a difficult qualifying session where his DRS system developed a fault, and an early pit stop outside the pit window saw him drop to the back of the field when he made his compulsory stop.
“In qualifying, we had a DRS issue and there was nothing I could do to get a good starting spot. Then, at the start of the race, the team made a mistake in the preparations, and I was forced to go back to the pits immediately. Since the stop was out of the pit window, I had to go back again to get tires. So I used all the DRS seconds I had to get close to the rest of the pack but, without it, I was unable to defend myself for the re-start after the safety car”.
Team-mate Tunjo was eliminated in the early stages of Saturday’s opener after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr damaged his radiator and caused his engine temperatures to soar.
“The qualifying result could have been better, good for a top-10 start, but we ended up just shy of 10th place although the pace was there,” said Tunjo. “Then at the start of Race 1, Sainz hit me twice and sent me off track. In the second contact, he broke my radiator and compromised my race. I tried to continue to test the car but the temperatures were on a rise, so I stopped for good”.
The Colombian was happy to secure his third points finish of the season in the finale on Sunday, and even believed a top five finish was possible had he not had a small delay during his pit stop. He thanked the team for allowing him to fight inside the top ten.
“It was great to go back scoring points once again,” insisted Tunjo. “It’s been a tough race. I had a good start and managed to improve my position, and even moved to the 5th place. Then we lost a little bit of time in the pits, and with the tire degradation in the closing stages it was difficult to keep it up with the same pace. Anyway, our car was really good and I want to thank the team for that!”