Luke Chudleigh endures tough start to FR 2.0 ALPS season

From press release

The opening round of the 2014 Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS season, hosted this weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, near Imola, Italy, proved to be the proverbial rollercoaster for Canada’s Luke Chudleigh.

An opening lap collision, and immediate retirement from Saturday’s first race was followed on Sunday by a more promising run until mechanical issues thwarted the teenager just a handful of laps from the chequered.

A challenging first round started with mixed conditions in Saturday morning’s qualifying, with the track slowly drying from earlier rain. With Chudleigh venturing out in the Tech1 Racing entry on rain tires, originally the preferred option, the rapid change in circuit conditions ultimately hampered the Milton racer’s progress. Luke subsequently secured an 11th row grid slot for both races, mid-field in the 44-strong pack and fastest of his Tech1 Racing ALPS teammates.

Saturday’s race saw an encouraging start by the 19-year-old, despite being nestled in the heart of the action – with several ‘Wild Card’ EuroCup entries bolstering the regular Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS field this weekend. Luke’s progress was to be short lived however as he found himself with nowhere to go heading into Turn 2. Caught up in the aftermath of an accident that had happened just ahead of him, Luke’s car collected a rival, the damage done forcing immediate retirement from the race.

Another rapid start to Sunday’s race allowed Luke to flash his prowess, gaining spots off the line and ultimately providing one of the positives from the weekend.

Running his first race laps of the season, the Canadian worked his way through the order, with clean passes and a pace equal to his Tech1 Racing EuroCup team-mate, Anthoine Hubert, who went on to finish tenth. Sadly for Luke however, a technical issue connected to his throttle resulted in his retirement on lap 11, the Canadian forced out for the second straight race bringing to a close a frustrating weekend.

“Well it certainly wasn’t the weekend we were hoping for,” stated Chudleigh upon immediate reflection. “After an event like this I can only focus on the positives. Primarily those were my race starts, both of which saw me make up position. Race 1 ended at the second turn so Sunday’s race was the only opportunity to see what I could do in the dry. When comparing my lap times to Anthoine’s, I was matching him so that’s definitely something to I can take heart from given he collected a top-ten finish today.”

He continued; “That, combined with the consistency of my pace, is definitely a plus but both races were a challenge, not least due to the sheer amount of traffic. That said, I’m now looking forward to making my Formula Renault 2.0 EuroCup debut at Motorland at the end of the month having had a chance to race against some of those drivers here in the ALPS Series. It’s all good experience for me right now so I’ll take the positives and look ahead to that next race!”

Saturday and Sunday’s podiums were identical with Dutch racer, Nyck de Vries victorious in both events followed at the chequered by Brazil’s Bruno Bonifacio – a EuroCup wild card entry, and France’s Simon Gachet.

Luke will make his Formula Renault 2.0 EuroCup debut at the opening round of the series, hosted at Spain’s Motorland Aragon circuit, Friday 25th – Sunday 27th April. He’ll then return to the Formula Renault 2.0 ALPS Series as Round 2 heads to France and the Grand Prix of Pau, Friday 9th to Sunday 11th May.

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