First points of the season as Webb makes Monza debut
Posted on in Latest News
16 May 2011
Track: Monza, Italy
Track length: 5.793 km (3.600 mile)
Date: Friday 13 – Sunday 15 April, 2011
Race 1: 28 laps
Qualifying: Pos: 20; Time: 1m37.509s, +1.255s
Result: Pos: 9 +37.448s
Race 2: 28 laps
Qualifying: Pos: 14; Time: 1m37.649s, +0.779s
Result: Pos: 10 (pending inquiry may gain places) +28.644s
Making only his third competitive outing in the World Series by Renault (WSR) championship, Briton Oliver Webb has scored his first points of the 2011 season, claiming ninth and 10th place finishes in Monza, Italy.
The 19-year old rookie was joined at the legendary Italian circuit by new team-mate, Filip Salaquarda, now in his third year of World Series by Renault. Salaquarda’s experience of the extremely quick Monza track proved useful for Webb, who had been forced to miss the opportunity to test earlier in the year. Despite this relative lack of on-track experience, it did not take long for the Superstar BRDC driver to feel comfortable in his PONS Racing Formula Renault 3.5, ending the first session sixth quickest.
Hoping to build on this strong performance, MSA Team UK member Webb entered qualifying for the weekend’s first race on new tyres and, despite out-qualifying his team-mate, he ultimately struggled with the set-up to line up 20th on the grid.
With the balance of the car much improved in race-spec, Webb made a very strong start in Race 1. He demonstrated his true race craft and battled his way through the field, completing some impressive overtaking manoeuvres to move into a points-paying position for the first time this season. In the closing stages of the race, Webb was involved in an exciting battle with Andre Negrao before securing a season’s best ninth place finish.
Qualifying for Race 2 saw the Knutsford-born racer looking to build on his strong race pace and, with an improved set-up, Webb ended the session in 14th.
An extremely eventful Race 2 saw Webb make another well executed start, and he was again challenging the cars ahead of him throughout the race. After another strong display behind the wheel, Webb had moved up to 10th place as he reached the chequered flag, posting the fourth quickest lap of the race.
Commenting on his first experience of the Monza circuit, Webb explained; ‘Monza is quite simply an incredible circuit, and somewhere I have always hoped I would have a chance to race. It was difficult coming here with no experience of such a quick track, but Filip’s experience has been a great help to me and the team, and despite some issues with the set-up in qualifying for Race 1, we have shown that we have got pace in the car and we are extremely competitive. I had a lot of fun battling through the field, and I am really pleased with the progress we have made since Spa. The team has done a great job, and I am really pleased we have been able to turn that pace in to our first points.’
Immediately after the race, Webb travelled back to the UK to take part in the Manchester City FC ‘Fashion Kicks 2011’ charity event. The annual event auctioned a number of items and experiences with Oli taking part, offering one lucky winner a day’s track driving and tuition, entry passes to the World Series by Renualt round at Silverstone in August and British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) guest passes to the British Grand Prix including the opportunity to meet former F1 driver and BBC commentator David Coulthard.
This prize raised £6,000 and was won by Manchester City and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given, and Shane Filan and Nicky Byrne from Irish boyband, Westlife.
In total, the evening raised more than £1.2 million which will go to three charitable causes; Macmillan Cancer Support, Beechwood Cancer Care Centre in Stockport and the Adopt a School project.
Webb returns to the track in two weeks, 28-29 May, for the fourth round of the Formula Renault 3.5 season on the streets of Monaco