BUDAPEST (HUN) JUN 30 - JUL 2 2017 - Fifth round of the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup at the Hungaroring. Presley Martono #26 Mark Burdett Motorsport. Action. © 2017 Diederik van der Laan / Dutch Photo Agency

MARTONO JUST MISSES TOP 15 ON MAIDEN VISIT TO HUNGARORING

Indonesian 16-year-old Presley Martono almost managed to break into the top 15 for Mark Burdett Motorsport on his maiden outing at the Hungaroring near Budapest over the weekend, 1st/2nd July, as the Formula Renault Eurocup season resumed with its first ‘triple header’ event of 2017.

Gaining five positions on his starting slot in round nine on Saturday to secure a 16th place finish, following a rain affected qualifying session, the first year Formula Renault driver went on to add 21st position in round 10, from 27th on the grid, and 21st again in round 11.

Polish team-mate Julia Pankiewicz, arriving in Hungary off the back of a career-best result of seventh place last weekend at Monza during the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC) curtain raiser, took a best finish of 21st place in the opening Eurocup encounter. Taking 24th in race two, before a false start penalty dropped her to 29th position, she was 29th again in the final contest.

“Hungary is always a challenging track and we knew this weekend would be one of the tougher tests of the season for Presley and Julia”, commented team principal Mark Burdett, “Everyone knows how competitive the Eurocup grid is and qualifying is key at a track like Hungaroring, but the wet track in qualifying made the sessions a lot more unpredictable.

“Things didn’t go to plan for either Presley or Julia in qualifying, but they both raced well and once more gained lots of important experience. Now we’re all looking forward to the visit to the Nurburgring in a couple of weeks, we intend to make good progress there.”

Martono started round nine in 21st position and quickly broke into the top 20 before gaining another place prior to the appearance of the Safety Car on lap three. At the resumption Martono held an improved 18th position and then took 17th spot before the Safety Car was re-deployed almost immediately. With just over seven minutes remaining, he climbed into 16th before the finish.

In the sister Mark Burdett Motorsport car, Pankiewicz lined-up 24th on the grid and maintained position initially before moving up into 23rd place following the cautionary periods. During the final few minutes of action, Pankiewicz made her way to the cusp of the top 20 with an eventual finish of 21st place.

For round 10 on Sunday, Pankiewicz was the higher placed of the team-mates on the grid in 27th position with Martono alongside. The Indonesian managed to get head of Pankiewicz and moved into 25th place on the opening lap before going on to climb through into an eventual result of 21st position, a mere 0.3 seconds shy of the top 20.

Pankiewicz climbed into 26th on the first lap but was shuffled back to 29th on the second tour. Working her way back into 24th position by the conclusion, and only missing out on 23rd on the drag to the line, post-race an unfortunate penalty for a false start dropped Pankiewicz to 29th again.

For the third and final race, Pankiewicz lined-up 22nd on the grid with Martono 23rd and following an early Safety Car period the Indonesian still held his starting position while his team-mate had been edged back to 26th place.

After the re-start on lap four, Martono moved up into 22nd and although edged back soon after he moved back into 22nd place again late on before grabbing 21st position before the finish. Pankiewicz slipped back to 29th during the second half of the contest, where she remained to the flag.

Next on the Formula Renault Eurocup calendar is a visit to the Nurburgring in Germany a fortnight from now, over the weekend 15th/16th July.