First corner Monaco drama puts pay to Strakka Racing's FR 3.5 hopes in the Principality
Multi-car tangle in F1 support race prevents Ellinas and Malja from converting good qualifying pace into top results in Monte-Carlo
Formula Renault 3.5 Series front-runners Tio Ellinas and Gustav Malja fell victim to first corner chaos during round three of the season in Monaco on Sunday, 24th May, with both Strakka Racing drivers eliminated on the spot mere seconds after the start.
Hopes were realistically high at the British team of a strong run during the category’s crown jewel event, supporting the FIA Formula One World Championship, with Ellinas and Malja both delivering good pace in qualifying.
Due to the confines of the famous street circuit, Saturday’s session was split into two groups. Both Strakka drivers ran in the opening session and were closely matched, the Cypriot lapping third fastest with Monaco debutant Malja just 0.2 seconds shy in fourth.
Meaning a sixth place start on combined times for Ellinas and eighth on the grid for Malja, the team-mates each made good getaways at the beginning of Sunday morning’s blue-riband race but high drama awaited at the first corner, Sainte Devote.
As two cars ahead tangled, Ellinas and Malja had nowhere to go on the outside line and came to a halt nose-to-tail. Despite the contact being at relatively low-speed, each of the Strakka cars sustained too much damage to continue. Reflecting on an ultimately frustrating first visit to Monte-Carlo, Swedish racer Malja commented: “Qualifying was good, starting eighth was very good for my first time in Monaco and I had an OK start to the race.
“Going into the first corner, though, it was a nightmare because all of my side of the grid stopped in front of me – there was nowhere to go. Now, it’s going to be maximum attack for Spa.”
Ellinas added: “Our qualifying was OK but it could have been better. All of the guys on the outside line tripped over each other and I had no chance. “I had a badly damaged exhaust from the contact which stopped the engine from running, so I couldn’t continue. It’s such a shame but I love Spa where we go next!”
Strakka Racing has a very quick turnaround now with the next two rounds of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series taking place next weekend, 30th/31st May, at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.
Elan PR Ltd
t: 44 (0) 1295 780411
m: 44 (0) 7813 956664
About Strakka Racing
From early domestic campaigns with BMWs and Aston Martins, Strakka Racing has evolved to become one of the most respected and successful privateer teams in the World Endurance Championship. In 2010 the Silverstone-based team achieved a class win, five circuit records and fifth overall in the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours. In 2013, it secured a second Le Mans win in the LMP1 Privateers’ class. Ever developing, in 2013 Strakka Racing entered the Formula Renault 3.5 World Series single-seater championship, regarded as one of the best training grounds for F1. In 2014 Strakka Racing joined forces with esteemed Japanese chassis manufacturer DOME to develop, market and race the Strakka DOME S103 chassis. 2014 also saw Strakka Racing create the Zanardi Strakka Kart racing team, winning both prestigious FIA KF and KZ titles in 2014.