Banbury's Arden Motorsport team start 2021 with silverware
Alex Quinn seals first podium of 2021, Alatalo scores strong points and Marinangeli’s promising pace goes unrewarded
Arden Motorsport made a promising start to their 2021 Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine campaign at Autodromo Imola last weekend – including their first silverware of the new season.
The Banbury-based team arrived at the high-speed 3.06-mile circuit set in the heart of Emilia-Romagna ready to kick start another season in Europe’s premier single seater category, and on the Formula 1 ® support package no less.
After a positive winter testing programme, the team’s spirits were buoyed even further with the quickest time in opening practice for Britain’s Alex Quinn, as well as strong pace for his team-mates, William Alatalo from Finland and Nicola Marinangeli, the Italian racing on home soil to start the year.
A blistering start after qualifying on the second row saw Quinn challenge race leader Vidales to the outside heading into the first chicane, and he duly slotted into second place.
Although he kept the pressure on for the race distance, the race ended under safety car conditions after an incident further back in the field, depriving Quinn of any further opportunities to wrest the lead away.
Nevertheless, a podium finish was just reward, and with Alatalo in sixth it proved a fruitful start to the campaign, despite a frustrating start for Marinangeli after an off into the gravel at the first chicane whilst rising through the order.
Contact from another car at Piratella ended Quinn’s day prematurely on Sunday, pitching the #21 into a spin and out of the race.
That left Alatalo to lead the team’s charge, and the Flying Finn duly banked more points with a fifth-place finish, whilst Marinangeli’s pace was obvious to see, the 17-year-old rising up ten places – on another weekend, the rewards could have been greater for his efforts.
The net result of both races puts Quinn and Alatalo joint fifth in the standings, the former ahead by virtue of his podium finish, whilst Arden set a respectable fourth in the Teams’ stakes.
Alex Quinn (#21) said: “We definitely experienced the highs and lows of motorsport this weekend. The car felt great right from the first session, and it was fantastic to start the season with a podium.
“Of course, the collision in the second race was a shame, but our pace had looked strong before that, so we can take the positives from it.
“Thanks to the team for all their hard work – we go again in Barcelona!”
The next event on the calendar is at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain over the weekend of 7-9 May.
Ben Salter, Arden Formula Regional Team Manager said: “Overall, I think there are plenty of positives for us to take as a team from Imola. We always knew it would be a competitive field this season, so to start with a podium for Alex is a really encouraging first step.
“William’s pace across both races was great to see, and on both occasions, he made up ground to bank solid points. Although Nicola’s pace went unrewarded on this occasion, the pace and effort is there, so it’ll come.
“A reasonable start, all things considered, and now we look forward to re-grouping back at base and then getting ready for the next event in Barcelona.”
William Alatalo (#8) said: “It was definitely a difficult weekend; both qualifying sessions didn’t go to plan and that left me with positions to make up in the races.
“I managed to battle my way through and score some points, P6 in the first race and then P5 in the second, but I wanted more from the weekend.
“Our race pace was very good, we just need to maximise everything a little more in qualifying at the next event.”
Nicola Marinangeli (#14) said: “It was a tough weekend and didn’t go as I had expected, but I’m aware of my potential and we’ll work hard to bounce back in Barcelona.
“Thanks to the team for all their work and support this weekend.”