Estonian Driver Sten Pentus Stars at World Series by Renault in Budapest

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The Estonian entrepreneur, president of the Estonian Autosport Union, big fan of auto sport and sponsor of Fat Burner Racing Engineering team (GP2) through his trademark Fat Burner, Margus Reinsalu, is happy after a great weekend for Estonian auto sport where the Estonian Formula Renault 3.5 series driver Sten Pentus got two podium spots in a row.

The Estonian Formula Renault 3.5 series driver Sten Pentus got two podium spots in a row.

Everything went perfectly today and I'm really happy to get my second win of the season. It's great to have such a good weekend to go into the summer break, and I'm really looking forward to the last three rounds of the championship.

Following the last two rounds of the championship which proved both disappointing and difficult for Fortec Motorsport and Sten Pentus, last weekend brought a positive turn.

In Saturday’s qualifying race, all cars were set up to run the obligatory low downforce and with high track temperatures, tyre management for the session was critical with Sten posting his best laps at the end of the session to grab an excellent 4th place for Saturday "low downforce" race.

Red Bull Junior Daniel Ricciardo took a dominant pole position over half a second ahead of Championship leader Mikail Aleshin and Red Bull Junior Brendan Hartley who edged Sten by only two tenths and half a tenth respectively.

Despite starting on the dirtier side of the grid in the actual race, Sten made an excellent start for the run to the first corner and positioned himself perfectly to pass Hartley around the outside into turn 1, immediately latching onto second placed Aleshin's tail. While Ricciardo soon began to open out a lead on Aleshin, Sten was forcing the Russian to work very hard to hold onto second. Just as Sten's rhythm was building and the pressure on Aleshin increasing, the Safety Car was deployed to retrieve a car from a dangerous position. At the re-start Sten resumed his attack for second but in the process quickly lost rear tyre performance and began to fall away to then come under pressure for the remainder of the race from a charging Brendon Hartley. Sten and Brendon turned in a great display of close quarter driving providing a scintillating last lap as they raced side by side to the checkered flag, with Sten taking the final podium position by 1.4 seconds from the young Red Bull F1 test and reserve driver.

On Sunday, with the downforce level for this race left to the teams discretion, the team increased downforce for qualifying which produced a different mix of pacesetters at the front with Ricciardo and Hartley struggling to get the Tech1 cars competitive compared to the Saturday speed, while Aleshin was again looking strong and 2009 EuroCup Champion Albert Costa impressing. For most of the session Sten did not feature in the top ten, but he turned in a stunning performance on his last lap to take a sensational pole position, the only driver to break into the 1 minute 32 second bracket with a time of 1.32.957. Behind Sten, Costa (1.33.069) and Ferrari Academy driver Daniel Zampieri (1.33.118) filled second and third on the grid, with Saturday winner Ricciardo placed seventh and Hartley tenth.

In the actual race, Sten made a perfect start from his pole position to lead unchallenged into turn 1 and by the end of the lap had already opened a comfortable gap to second placed Costa with Aleshin and Greg Mansell right behind. Sten continued to open out an unchallenged lead which allowed him to make his mandatory tyre stop and resume in the lead which he then stretched to over 6.5 seconds when the race was "red-flagged" with a lap remaining because Hartley's Tech1 car was blocking the track at turn 3.

It was an almost perfect performance with pole position and a dominant win with only fastest lap missing from Sten's Sunday successes, "Everything went perfectly today and I'm really happy to get my second win of the season. After qualifying I felt confident we could have a really good race, but everything turned out better than I could have imagined. It's great to have such a good weekend to go into the summer break, and I'm really looking forward to the last three rounds of the championship. The Team worked brilliantly all weekend, my engineer gave me a great car, and the result is a great reward for all the effort everybody has made".

Sten now lies third in the Championship standings with 69 points behind Aleshin who leads with 97 points and Ricciardo on 86 points.

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Dainis Hirv

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