Fittipaldi Victorious in First Brands Battle

by Nick Smith

Pietro Fittipaldi has taken victory in the opening race of the day at Brands Hatch for the Protyre Formula Renault championship. The Brazilian racer, who led the points standings coming into the shorter two round race weekend, was forced to overcome his MGR Motorsport team mate Matteo Ferrer for the victory after the Italian grabbed pole in qualifying on Saturday.

Ferrer held the lead into Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap but wasn’t able to close the door on Fittipaldi who out-dragged him back up the hill to Druids and claimed the place on the brakes into the hairpin. From then on the #21 machine was set fair for victory. No one could challenge though Matteo kept the lead down to a relatively close 2.683 seconds.

A tangle for the fourth MGR machine of Colin Noble Jr not only put him out of the competition after he limped back to the pits but put Piers Hickin into instant retirement after a clash with the barrier. The Radical SR2 champion and Scorpio Motorsport title hopeful clashed on the Cooper Straight, causing a four lap safety car intervention which proved to be the height of the drama throughout the 27 lap contest.

Fortec Motorsport’s Alex Gill was ever-present in third place but even he fell 3.522 seconds behind Ferrer in the final twenty-three laps of the race. Tarun Reddy took fourth for MGR a similar distance behind.

The longest running close battle came care of the North American team mates from Cliff Dempsey Racing. TJ Fischer held the advantage on the grid but lost out to his Canadian team mate Patrick Dassault. Not once in the entire race did the man from the USA relent in his challenge for fifth but Dassault held out to claim the spot. 0.740 seconds was all that split the two peach and blue liveried machines at the end of the action.

Dimitris Papanastasiou for Hillspeed had a similar battle, which ended up closer at the flag, with Hayden Edmonds for SWB Motorsport as the series debutant kept the Greek driver to a 0.375 second margin of triumph. Jack Butel’s SWB run machine took the ninth and final classified place while Atte Lehtonen’ #27 SWB car failed to turn in a single lap.

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