The Strakka Racing team went into the opening Formula Renault 3.5 Series weekend at Motorland Aragon with high hopes, and both Tio Ellinas and Gustav Malja showed good pace throughout the weekend.
Cypriot racer Ellinas was unfortunate to be eliminated from the first race when he was hit by a rival, but fought back on Sunday to take a strong fourth place and his first points of the season. He was happy with his performance and his overtaking manoeuvres during the wet race.
“Race two was much better than race one,” said Ellinas. “In the first one I was hit at the start by another car, just clipping my tyre and giving me a puncture, so that ended my race.
“In race two I started P9 and did some really nice overtaking, and the pace was very good. I’m really pleased with fourth place and some points, and it’s Monte Carlo next!”
Team-mate Malja was disappointed to see his Saturday qualifying efforts, when he managed to set the second fastest time, go to waste when his times were deleted due to a technicality, but was happy to make up the positions to secure tenth place in the race. He was less happy with the second race on Sunday where he finished a lap behind following a drive-through penalty.
“It has been a strong first weekend, and I’m particularly pleased to have had our pace from pre-season testing confirmed,” said Malja. “What happened after first qualifying was obviously a massive disappointment, but I’m happy with my own performance and to have salvaged a point in the first race.
“It was also important to get some wet-weather running in the bank on Sunday. We still have some things to work on – there are always bits to improve – but we have definitely laid a solid foundation for the rest of the season.”