Fairuz faced ultimate challenge at Le Mans

Published on July 21st, 2009

After securing podium finishes at Hungaroring and Silverstone over the past month, Fairuz Fauzy gave an all-out performance at Le Mans during the practice sessions of the World Series by Renault Formula 3.5 on Friday, as well as, acclimatizing himself to track and weather conditions. Currently in 6th position overall within the drivers’ standings, the Malaysian driver for Team MOFAZFortec Motorsport posted the 3rd fastest time for the morning practice session in dry conditions with a time of 1 minute 27.808 seconds, merely 0.188 seconds behind the session leader from Comtec Racing, Jon Lancaster.

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Following heavy rain which disrupted the afternoon session and leaving many drivers not posting good race times, Fairuz posted the 2nd fastest lap a fraction behind Oliver Turvey. Though hampered by wet track conditions, Fairuz was able to gain some useful race distance data, as well as, ascertain challenges posed by conditions of the track.

On Saturday morning, during Qualifying Session 1 and SuperPole, Fairuz Fauzy started very strong to register pole for almost throughout the Q1 session. However, due to misjudgement on the team’s strategy, Fairuz dropped seven positions down in the last lap of Q1. As a result of the disastrous morning, Fairuz was out of the first 6 position to qualify to be in SuperPole, which led him to start 15th on the grid for Race 1. Sten Pentus achieved a remarkable result to finish second in Q1 to make it through to SuperPole, which consisted of only the top 12 drivers, eventually registering 9th on the grid for Race 1.

For the record, all teams must conform to the same technical and performance specifications for their cars, to allow for a level and fair playing field for all drivers. Thus, the drivers are pitted against each other based on their skills, which drives and motivates them to put their skills to the test on the track.

After experiencing unforgiving track and weather conditions for 30 laps, Fairuz clawed and outwitted other opponents with a best lap time of 1 min 28.008, at 171 km/h. After 2 laps, he was pushed down to position 17, and extraordinarily made his way up to beat 10 other drivers to finish at 7th position overall. It is indeed no mean feat, in a race that saw Fairuz beating James Walker, currently 2nd in drivers’ standings.

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The race officials also decided to award Fairuz with 1 bonus point for being the most outstanding driver for the race, as well as, greatest number of overtaking in a race, after several drivers ahead of Fairuz succumbed to his determination, focus and psychological advantage. Fairuz would have fared better if he had not had to contend with the three-man dogfight in front of him that involved Charles Pic, Jon Lancaster and Edoardo Mortara. In the end, Fairuz proved to be too tough for Lancaster and Mortara, who both had to concede to him, with Mortara eventually unable to complete the race. At this point, Fairuz further secures 6th position in the drivers’ standings, with a total of 5 points acquired during Race 1.

Sten Pentus on the other hand was dealt a severe blow, after relentlessly being blocked by drivers ahead of him throughout the whole race. Though he gave his best on the track, luck was not on his side, only managing to secure 14th position overall after Race 1.

Sunday afternoon saw Fairuz starting at position 9 on the grid for Race 2 at the renowned Bugatti circuit at Le Mans, while Sten begun the race from 15th position. The harrowing 31 laps saw Fairuz having to concede to position 14 after lap 7, but strongly soldiered forward to 6th position by lap 18. The mandatory pitstop enforced on all teams did not hamper Fairuz’s spirits, and he managed to maintain this position for the next 10 laps. Fairuz overtook James Walker at lap 28, before finding himself in fierce competition with Jon Lancaster, who started at pole position for Race 2. Fairuz took the British driver by surprise by powering his car to overtake Lancaster at lap 30, triumphantly emerging 4th overall, narrowly missing a podium finish by a couple of seconds.

Sten Pentus on the other hand had to concur with the intense competition surrounding him throughout the race, and emerged 2 notches further during Race 2 to finish at 13th position overall as a result. Team MOFAZFortec Motorsport also managed to close the gap between itself and Pons Racing in the team standings by gaining 12 race points throughout the weekend, which secures the young team at 5th position overall in the team championship and only 1 point apart from its nearest competitor. On top of that, Fairuz has moved up a notch on the drivers’ standings as a result of his determination, to secure 5th position overall within the championship to date. With three more major races left in the championship, Fairuz and Sten are looking forward to take more opportunities to better their times and performance in their quest to triumph in World Series by Renault Formula 3.5.

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Eurosport aired recorded sessions of the Le Mans race over the weekend on Astro Channel 814, with race 1 being aired on Saturday evening at 11.30 pm, with a repeat on Sunday at 1.30pm and 2.30pm. Race 2 was aired on Sunday at 11.45 pm. Team MOFAZFortec Motorsport is now more than determined to close the gap in team standings, and looking forward to the next leg of the World Series by Renault Formula 3.5, which would take place at Portimao, on the southern coast of Portugal on 1st – 2nd of August 2009.

Visit www.fairuzfauzy.com and www.mofazfortec.com to get more details of our racing calendar, as well as Eurosport’s World Series by Renault airing times for the coming races.

text & pix:  MOFAZFortec

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