Winner of the first-ever round in the history of the Renault Sport Trophy, the duo of David Fumanelli and Dario Capitanio had to make the most of this success to win the first title in the category at Le Mans. With incredible consistency, the two Italians from the Oregon Team always finished on the Endurance podium on their way to their first major title in motor racing.
From the pre-season collective tests at Valencia, David Fumanelli was among the quickest in Elite, as was Dario Capitanio in Prestige. It was necessary, however, to confirm their pace in race conditions, where both had to sharpen their reflexes to get the better of their rivals.
Capitanio and Fumanelli, early winners
Dario Capitanio missed out on the pole in the opening qualifying session of the season at Spa-Francorchamps. Following a strong start, the Rome native was in third place in the intermediate classification before the opening of the driver change window. The Oregon Team men did a perfect job allowing them to take the lead and head towards the victory.
“I got a good start at Spa overtaking two adversaries”, remembers Dario Capitanio. “But the leading duo was already far ahead. The team and David could make the difference.”
“We knew the competition would be tough and that it would be necessary to run flat-out every weekend to get there”, adds David Fumanelli. “Honestly, we couldn’t have hoped for more than this win at Spa! David put in a great first stint, the mechanics did an excellent pit-stop and I just had to control the guys behind me on my out lap, while my tyres came up to temperature.”
Consistency: the key to success
Ideally in the lead, the two Italians would confirm the osmosis in their duo taking second place at the Hungaroring before the summer break. When the action resumed, it was the same scenario at Silverstone and the Nürburgring while their rivals shared the points, allowing the #8 Renault Sport R.S. 01 to pull away.
Le Mans offered them the chance to clinch the title. Despite an accident that dropped them to the rear of the field at the first corner, they moved back up the order to take their fifth consecutive top-three result. Not enough to take the crown, but a few hours later, the team that finished ahead of them was disqualified. Promoted to second place, the duo could celebrate.
“It was great to win in Endurance with Dario”, confesses Fumanelli. “We learned later, in the early evening, and we were really happy. We wanted to celebrate by winning our respective Sprint races the next day, which we did. Le Mans was a weekend full of emotions. It was a track that I didn’t know and I was able to conserve a slim chance in the Elite championship.”
Another podium to end the season!
With the Endurance and Prestige titles already clinched, David Fumanelli had the support of the entire team at Jerez. The driver from Milan dominated qualifying to start the Endurance race in the lead. Despite a good start, Fumanelli quickly lost positions on the wet track and dropped to eighth place before handing over to Dario Capitanio. His stint brought the duo another podium result to end the season with one victory and five second place finishes.
“I was disappointed because I had also set my sights on the Elite title”, admits Fumanelli. “I knew that it would be difficult and I was not in control of my destiny, but I gave it my all. Dario, the team and I worked hard to obtain consistent performance in Endurance and I am proud of our results in this category. It is up to me to see what will be the next chapter in my career!”
“I’d like to thank David as much as I can”, lauds Capitanio. “I was able to learn enormously by his side. He has more experience and I was able to make good use of all his advice. We spent long hours at the track with the engineer to decide on the set-ups of the car, the compromises to use between his driving style and mine. I don’t think I could have been as fast as I was without him. He is a real talent, very fast. I hope he has the career he deserves.”
Jean-Pascal Dauce, Renault Sport Technologies Motorsport Director: “David and Dario were successful in creating a real osmosis in their team to achieve such a level of consistency throughout the season. This symbiosis was clear during their respective stints and in the mutual trust they showed. They were able to demonstrate all the inherent values in Endurance and racing as a team and we congratulate them.”
Born: 21 April 1992 in Milan (Italy)
2008: Formula Renault 2.0 Italia (25th)
2009: European F3 Open (8th)
2010: European F3 Open (3rd)
2011: European F3 Open (2nd)
2012: GP3 Series (11th)
2013: GP3 Series (19th)
2014: Blancpain Sprint Series (25th)
2015: Renault Sport Trophy Endurance (Winner), Renault Sport Trophy Elite (3rd)
Born: 11 April 1995 in Rome (Italy)
2012: Formula Renault 2.0 Italia (3rd)
2013: Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS (22nd)
2014: Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS (7th)
2015: Renault Sport Trophy Endurance (Winner), Renault Sport Trophy Prestige (Winner)