Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport) will each start on pole this weekend in the Monaco round of the Formula Renault Eurocup. On Saturday, the Australian will line-up ahead of the Frenchman on the start grid. On Sunday, the roles will be reversed in race two and curtain raiser of the F1 Grand Prix. The leader in the general classification, Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and the rookie member of the Renault Sport Academy Victor Martins (R-ace GP) will share row two.
Group A – Alex Peroni in a thrilling conclusion
First on to the track, Max Fewtrell (R-ace GP) set the opening benchmark time before Richard Verschoor (Josef Kaufmann Racing), Christian Lundgaard (MP Motorsport) and Alex Peroni all took turns at the top of the time sheet. Meanwhile, Victor Martins went off at Sainte-Dévote on his second flying lap, sending his team into a race against the clock to get back out as fast as possible.
Quickest when it came time to put on new tyres, Alex Peroni and team mate Christian Lundgaard swapped the top spot, but Victor Martins soon made it a three-driver battle with only a few thousands of a second separating the three.
The suspense waned when Najiy Razak (JD Motorsport) caused a full course yellow with his spin coming out of Casino. Alex Peroni had the last word with a time of 1:31.143s, less than 0.03s quicker than Victor Martins and Christian Lundgaard. Neil Verhagen (Tech 1 Racing) and Max Fewtrell completed the top five.
Group B – Charles Milesi breaks the track record
Group B was just as competitive. First on track, Yifei Ye swapped the lead with Logan Sargeant (R-ace GP), Max Defourny (MP Motorsport), Thomas Neubauer (Tech 1 Racing) and Lorenzo Colombo (JD Motorsport).
While Max Defourny got the upper-hand on the first set of Michelin tyres, Charles Milesi went to the top of the order with seven minutes remaining in the session. Yifei Ye answered back, but Charles Milesi stamped his authority on the group with a lap of 1:30.682s to get the better of the leader in the general classification, who was followed by Lorenzo Colombo, Max Defourny and Logan Sargeant.
Provisional starting grids
On Saturday, Alex Peroni will start ahead of Charles Milesi, Victor Martins, Yifei Ye, Christian Lundgaard and Lorenzo Colombo. On Sunday, if no driver receives a penalty, the places on each row will be reversed. Charles Milesi should be on pole position ahead of Alex Peroni, Yifei Ye, Victor Martins, Lorenzo Colombo and Christian Lundgaard.
Charles Milesi (R-ace GP): “I didn’t really think I could be on pole when I arrived in Monaco and the collective tests didn’t give us reason to be more optimistic! Yesterday, I was too conservative, especially in sector one. I tried to get a good rhythm and continue to improve in qualifying. I was more confident and that let me pick up the pace in each corner and get the pole. The hardest part is still to come. I will have to put in two good starts, be consistent, and not hit anything!”
Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport): “The times were really close… It was mega, an intense qualifying session! We were pretty confident after the collective tests, but I also had to get my accident out of my head. I took the lead on my first run, but the car was a bit under-steering on new tyres. I don’t know why I do so well on street circuits. I wish it was like this everywhere! Leading into turn one will be the most important thing for tomorrow and Sunday. After that, we will see how things go!”
Yifei Ye (Josef Kaufmann Racing): “The session got off to a good start. I took the lead on each lap and was more comfortable on my second set of tyres. Four minutes from the end, I set a good time and my following lap was even better, but I had to brake earlier for Tabac because a car went down the escape lane at the Chicane. It is frustrating because I think that is where the 0.08s difference to Charles came. My result isn’t bad compared to other championship contenders. I will have to make sure to score a lot of points and I think we have a good chance to finish on the podium in both races.”
Victor Martins (R-ace GP): “I came from a long way back! The track was slippery early in the session and I hit the wall on my second flying lap. It was a rookie mistake. I bent two left side suspension triangles. Fortunately, the team did an incredible job to get me back out. Without their hard work, this result wouldn’t have been possible. I am back in the hunt, but I was a little hesitant when I went back out. This small mistake cost me a few a hundredths of a second here and there, but I can aim for a podium finish, or better if I have the chance. Monaco is still Monaco and maybe it’s better to secure a lot of points that risk it all!”