Trident was ready for the first race of its brand new FRECA program and achieved a stunning top-10 finish in Race 1 at Monza.
Trident entered the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine for the first time and quickly showed a competitive pace, good enough to compete at the front. After taking part in the two-day pre-season test in Monza and the two free practice sessions on dry land, pre-race conditions changed when a heavy downpour hit the Italian site at the end of qualifying.
Given the huge grid of 37 cars, the promoter of the series decided to split the peloton into two groups to reduce traffic. The drivers were assigned to each segment based on the results of free practice 2. Roman Bilinski and Leonardo Fornaroli were lined up for Group A, while Tim Tramniz qualified for Group B.
Fornaroli stayed at the front all session, eventually finishing fifth, just two tenths ahead of teammate Bilinski, who was eighth. Tramintz secured the same spot not much later and joined his Anglo-Polish team-mate in row 8 for Race 1, while Fornaroli secured P9 on the grid in row 5 and the lead for the team.
However, rain changed the pre-race conditions. Visibility decreased dramatically and the drivers struggled when they first drove onto the wet track. Fornaroli managed to maintain a top-10 spot until the final lap when he was overtaken by some contenders who jumped the first chicane and were immediately examined. The Italian crossed the finish line in P13, followed by Tramnitz and Bilinski, who both gained ground while staying out of trouble.
After the race, the stewards penalized the three guilty drivers, effectively pushing Fornaroli back to a deserved top-10 overall and points finish. The Italian gave Trident his first championship point, in addition to third place among rookies.
Tramnitz will be back in action tomorrow at 9.25am for the second qualifying session in Group B, followed by Group A at 9.45am with Bilinski and Fornaroli. Race 2 eventually kicks off at 2:05 PM, closing the team’s first weekend in the series.
Leonardo Fornaroli: “It was my first race in FRECA, and this is a really challenging series, as evidenced by the incredibly tight gaps in qualifying this morning. I am very happy with how it went as I claimed P5 in my group and P9 in general. In race 1 I was in the leading positions but visibility was really limited and I made a few mistakes with the push-to-pass activation in the few green flag laps we had which cost me a spot. We still have a lot to learn, but we can be happy with how it turned out.”
Roman Bilinski: “It’s fair to say it’s a very competitive grid and very difficult. We can learn a lot from qualifying and today’s race, it’s a lot to talk about. In the race it was so hard to look in front of us with all the spray. We’re trying to improve for tomorrow and we’ll see where we get.”
Tim Tramnitz: “The qualifying result was not what we hoped for, but at least we can learn something from it. Conditions were very tough in the race. My start was pretty good and I gained some positions, but all those safety car periods made it so hard to see anything. I just tried to do everything right and not miss a single braking point, to avoid mistakes. It was really hard, but I think you can learn a lot in these conditions and it was fun.”