Strakka’s Monaco chances ended after Saint Devote carnage

The first lap Saint Devote clash between Matthieu Vaxiviere and Oliver Rowland and the subsequent traffic jam behind them cost Strakka Racing any chance of converting their top ten starts into a points finish at Monaco.

Cypriot driver Tio Ellinas had qualified sixth and Swede Gustav Malja eighth in the split-qualifying in the principality, but both drivers were forced to retire as a result of the carnage at the first corner with damage, despite their respective hits being at relatively low speed.

Despite finishing third in his group in qualifying, Ellinas was disappointed not to have been higher on the grid, but admitted he had nowhere to go at the first corner, but hopes for better results in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

“Our qualifying was OK but it could have been better,” revealed Ellinas. “All of the guys on the outside line tripped over each other and I had no chance.

“I had a badly damaged exhaust from the contact which stopped the engine from running, so I couldn’t continue. It’s such a shame but I love Spa where we go next!”

Team-mate Malja, who unlike Ellinas was making his first start at Monaco, felt he had made a good start from his eighth place on the grid, but endured a ‘nightmare’ first corner.

“It’s extremely frustrating not to finish this race, and I’m obviously disappointed with how things went today,” said Malja. “I got a decent launch off the line, but then it all just got bunched up ahead of me in the first corner and I simply had nowhere to go.

“It was a real shame, because things had been going well up to then and I was happy with my performance in qualifying. I wanted some points today, but at least I learned the track; and it was a fantastic experience.

“Fortunately, the next race is just around the corner, and I’m absolutely determined to bounce back stronger than ever at Spa.”