Toronto, Ontario (June 05, 2014) – Fitting for a circuit known for its highs and lows, Belgium’s Spa-Francorchamps allowed Luke Chudleigh to experience the same as Round 4 of the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Series visited the track this weekend, Friday 6th – Sunday 8th June.
Saturday’s race saw Chudleigh, racing the Vitamindrip®-backed #3 Tech1 Racing entry, score a season’s best finish of fourth place, just shy of his first open-wheel podium. Sunday’s event brought the ‘low’ after a collision on the fifth lap ended the Canadian’s charge fighting for a top-six slot.
The weekend’s qualifying session ran smoothly for the 19-year-old, now in his second season of European competition. Up to speed quickly around the 7km circuit, in part thanks to his previous weekend’s outing there in the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup Series, Luke qualified seventh for both ALPS races in a straightforward session.
The Milton racer also used his experience from his Eurocup trip to run an aggressively low aerodynamic package for Saturday’s race. Proving to be an inspired decision, Chudleigh was not only on the pace but able to pass with ease, using the draft to slipstream on Spa’s straights to race his way to fourth at the checkered after 12 flat out laps.
Race 1 was won by Koiranen GP’s Nyck De Vries, the Dutchman joined on the podium by Russia’s Matevos Issakyan and Monaco’s Charles Leclerc.
Sunday’s race outing was a little more dramatic for Luke, who started sixth courtesy of Leclerc taking a four-slot grid penalty. An rare sluggish getaway from the Canadian dropped him to seventh by the close of the opening tour.
By lap five with the traffic spacing out, Luke had France’s Simon Gachet in his sights for sixth place and then a crack at the top-five chargers. Going three-wide into Turn 5 Chudleigh attacked down the inside only to be tapped from behind through the apex of the turn. Deemed to be a racing incident, both Luke and Simon’s races were done for the day.
The 12-lap race on Sunday was won again by Nyck De Vries, his sixth win of the season, with Issakyan second and Great Britain’s Ben Barnicoat in third.
“Today’s incident was unfortunate but I had to go for the move, I just wasn’t expecting to be hit from behind,” explained Luke. “It’s all fine though, Simon (Gachet) and I shook hands afterwards and the stewards saw it as it was, a racing incident. It’s too bad as I knew I could get us back up at the sharp end of the fight. I was concerned if I didn’t do something soon, Leclerc and Barnicoat would keep pulling away.
“Yesterday’s first race was a ton of fun with the car dialed in exactly the way I wanted it. My pace was bang on and it’s great that with each race weekend I’m clocking up a season’s best finish. I’m hungry to get on that podium and we came close here at Spa. I’ll take the points that come with our efforts though and hopefully at Monza next time out, we can keep pushing forward.”
Round 5 of the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Series takes place, Friday 4th – Sunday 6th July at Italy’s historic Autodromo Nazionale Monza, home of the Italian Grand Prix.
Luke Chudleigh is supported by Vitamindrip®, Chudleigh’s, ARM Training, Tech1 Racing, Adidas and PRIME/Wickens Management.
ENDS – www.lukechudleigh.com / @LukeChudleigh