FRANCORCHAMPS, Circuit Spa-Francorchamps, 02-03 May 2009


Both drivers had run well in the practise but endured a difficult Saturday qualifying session. This was the first time in the season that both drivers were put into the same qualifying group (Group B). Car #19 of Fairuz Fauzy set the sixteenth fastest time while #20 of Sten Pentus was forced to start nineteen on the grid after his fastest time was deleted by the officials for causing the red flag.

Fauzy had set the pace in the early session with a string of quick laps. As he pitted in for a new set of tyres and looking to strengthen his position, the session was temporarily halted due to red flag. The session resumed with less than 3 minutes to go, Fauzy clocked quick Sector 1 & 2 before made a small error at the last chicane which had ruined his chances of a possible front row start.

On the other hand, Pentus first lap was already quick and his second lap saw him jump to sixth on the timing screens, before a little mistake early in the lap saw him spun and touched the barrier lightly. This incident had caused the session to be stopped for few minutes. With slight damaged, no more time and the lost of his best lap, it meant any chance of a good grid position was gone.

As a result, both drivers will start from the second half of the grid with the intention to gain as much positions as possible for Race 1. Local hero, Bertrand Baguette (BEL – Draco International) has secured pole position for the first time this season after leading the way in the Super Pole qualifying.


Fauzy had a relatively busy afternoon. An early chaos after Turn 1 saw him exchanging positions at the beginning of the race with team-mate Pentus, Mansell, Leo and Provenzano. While fighting for positions, Fauzy clipped one of the cars in front of him and damaged the front wing. But he decided not to pit-in as the move would put him down the field. Although it was still safe to run, the damage front wing was affecting the aero efficiency of his car where his straight line speed had to be compromised. As a result, Fairuz dropped back few positions before making his way up the grid to finish fifteen.

Meanwhile, from his low grid position Pentus made a good start and shadowed team-mate Fauzy for the first two laps with both shadowing Greg Mansell (GBR – Ultimate Motorsport) before passing Fauzy down the outside into the last chicane and tailing Mansell’s rear end. Unfortunately, Mansell braked a little early and Pentus tapped his front wing on the back of Mansell’s car, hence, damaging the wing. He had to do a complete, slow lap with the damage wing before pitting for a new wing.

When he rejoined, he quickly settled into a fast rhythm and as in Barcelona, again started doing a string of fast, consistent laps that mirrored and often matched the leaders lap times all the way to the end of the race. Pentus’s fastest lap was within half a second of the race leader despite running completely by himself without the aid of any tow down the long straights. His fast times and relentless pace meant he recovered from last to 18th at the end. Marcos Martinez (ESP – Pons) took the honour in Race 1 ahead of Bertrand Baguette, second and Miguel Molina, third.


Pentus and Fauzy finished eleventh and fifteen respectively in Race 2 on Sunday after seeing their chances of finishing in the Top 10 dashed by a couple of unfortunate events.

After an interrupted Race 1 with broken wings yesterday, both drivers were again had to start from the second half of the grid, as Race 2 grid positions are determined by Race 1 results. On a dry track the field got away cleanly and unusually survived the first corner, but on the exit of the Radillon, the two Epsilon cars of Adrian Valles (ESP – Epsilon Euskadi) and Chris Van Der Drift (NZL – Epsilon Euskadi) collided and ended up stuck in the gravel, which immediately bought out the safety car.

In the first lap Pentus had lost a couple of positions, but when racing resumed, he went on the attack and soon displaced the Comtec car of Nebilitsky. Again as in Barcelona and in Race 1, Pentus began to motor very quickly and as he was putting in very good fast laps, the team decided to delay his pit stop as most of the cars around him pitted early. This allowed Sten to take advantage of a clear track and he soon made up for the time lost on the first lap and the time lost behind the Safety Car, when some cars ahead had not kept up with the front of the pack.

Fauzy, on the other end, made up a lot of positions with his strong race pace. He set commanding lap times to push his way up. He took the advantage on the Safety Car event to close the gap with the front runners and drove flawlessly to lead the race at one stage before pitting for his compulsory pit-stop.

An unprecedented problem with his front right wheel nut had cost him the pit stop which ruined the chances of finishing in the Top 10. The advantage he gained prior to the pit-stop was soon diminished from his grasp. It could have been a great result for the team if not for the faulty wheel nut.

Pentus kept his race alive with some entertaining battles with Nebilkitsky and Hegewald after his pit stop. He caught team-mate Fauzy on the last lap and trailed him across the line. At the end, Pentus finished thirteen behind Fauzy twelfth. Again the impressively fast and consistent lap times told the story, despite starting so far back, both drivers maintained a 100% record of race finished.

James Walker (GBR – P1 Motorsport) took the chequered flag in Race 2 ahead of Bertrand Baguette, second and Miguel Molina, third.

However, Fauzy was later penalised 20 seconds for stopping outside the pit-stop window and so as Oliver Turvey (GBR – Carlin Motorsport) 25 seconds for deviating from racing line. This had promoted Pentus to eleventh and demoted Fauzy to fifteen in the amended Race 2 result.

Pentus commented: “Before the weekend I did not know what to expect, because I had heard so much about this track and how challenging it is. The stories are very true but I really loved getting to know it and I had a lot of tough but enjoyable racing. I am happy with the progress we made this weekend and how much I learned”.

Fauzy said: “The car felt good so it was a shame that we could not finish in the points. I led the race before pitting and was hoping to make up few places. Had it not been for the unfortunately pit stop, I am sure we would have been there about for seventh or eighth.”

However, Pentus managed to earn one point for making up most positions in the race, from twentieth to eleventh.

Mofaz Fortec will be back in action for the third round of the WSR at Monaco in a fortnight’s time (May 22-24). Between now and Monaco both drivers will be busy with fitness training and mental preparation as well as exploring every possible way to get to know the unique Monaco circuit.


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